Frequently Asked Questions

How is Bull Oak Capital different?

First and foremost, the firm's investment strategy is an Evidence-Based Investment strategy. It invests primarily in passive ETFs and it adjusts its asset class allocation based on current market risk.  
Ryan Hughes built the investment strategy with the help of Dr. Hanno Lustig and Dr. Jason Hsu while completing a graduate research project at UCLA. The goal was to build an investment strategy that was both more sophisticated than what most retail investors are offered and to build a strategy free from the biases typically associated with Wall St. products. Bull Oak Capital was the result of this project. You can read more about the investment strategy here.  
The financial planning process is not a checkbox waiting to be checked. It is something that we take quite serious here. We dive deep into every one of our client's plan (if they choose to go through with this process - no extra cost). Our thorough process allows us to create a cash-flow based plan that very few firms can rival. You can learn more about our planning process here.  
And finally, you will work with true professionals that deliver excellent customer service. We don't know if this is a true differentiator or not, but we like to think it is.

Where did the name Bull Oak come from?

The firm's name origin came as a suggestion from a fellow UCLA classmate (and now current Ph.D student). The bull oak (or buloke) is an ironwood tree native to the semi-arid regions of Australia. It is the hardest wood in the world with a Janka hardness of 5060 lbf.


What is the firm's account minimum?

Our account minimum is $500,000. This minimum can be met through several different account types, including IRAs, Roth IRAs, Individual Accounts, Trusts, Joint Tenant, and others.

What is the firm's fee schedule?

Total Assets Under ManagementAnnual Fee
$500,000 - $1,000,0000.99%
$1,000,000 - $3,000,0000.89%
$3,000,000 - $5,000,0000.79%
$5,000,000 - $10,000,0000.69%
$10,000,000 - $20,000,0000.59%
$20,000,000 and above0.49%

We calculate our fees using a linear schedule and not a tiered/progressive schedule as it makes it easier and typically cheaper for our clients to understand. Our fee schedule is based off of an Assets Under Management (AUM) fee model. There is no additional cost for the financial planning process. As a fiduciary Registered Investment Advisor (RIA), the only revenue we receive is directly from our clients. We do not receive compensation via commissions, product fees, etc. This means that your incentives are aligned with our incentives. The better you do, the better we do. All with transparency.


Where is the client's money held?

All of our client's assets are held at TD Ameritrade via brokerage accounts (IRA, Roth IRA, Trust, Jt Ten, etc.). We do not directly custody our client's assets. Your account(s) is held at a large, well-known firm where you will have 24/7 access to your account. Learn more about TD Ameritrade's client portal here.

What type of clients do you typically work with?

Our clients can generally be categorized into two different segments: the Working Professional(s) and the Near/At Retiree(s). Typically, our clients engage in a relationship with us when they are facing an important transitory period in their life. This can be, "We are starting to really grow our net worth and we want to ensure that we are managing it properly." Or, "We want to make sure that we do not outlive our money." Nonetheless, our clients are facing a life milestone and they are looking for professional guidance. This is where we shine.  
Furthermore, our clients are looking for a professional firm to manage their wealth. If you are looking for a financial advisor that will pitch stock ideas or products to you, we are not that firm. However, if you are looking for a wealth manager that has built and implemented an evidence-based investment strategy, then we are a perfect fit.

Do you have clients outside of San Diego?

Most of our clients are located within the southern California region (San Diego, Orange County, and Los Angeles). However, we have quite a number of clients located throughout the continental U.S., including Seattle, New York City, San Francisco, Denver, Cincinnati, and others. We are a tech-savvy firm and we are able to do business with our clients anywhere.

What should I expect when creating a financial plan?

Perhaps we are a bit biased, but we believe that we create outstanding financial plans. If you are interested in putting together a financial plan, the most important fact that we want you to know about our firm is this: we designed the planning process to be engaging, not agonizing. This is, after all, all about you! We want you to be excited about your financial future.  
We begin with a Fact-Finding Session, where we use the mind mapping technique to learn all about you and your goals. Trust us, this method is great! After mapping your financial life, we end by going over your budget.  
After we have gone through the Fact-Finding Session, it takes us roughly 30 days to create a financial plan. Once we are done, we invite you back to our office for our presentation! After presenting, we will send you a client portal invite so you can track your goals real-time on your desktop and/or your cell phone.  
To learn more about the financial planning process, click here.

What is a fiduciary and why is it important?

According to the Oxford dictionary, a fiduciary is "Involving trust, especially with regard to the relationship between a trustee and a beneficiary. ‘The company has a fiduciary duty to shareholders’" Bull Oak Capital, LLC is a registered Investment Advisor (RIA) and RIAs are held to the fiduciary standard.  
According to the SEC, "an investment adviser owes its clients undivided loyalty, and may not engage in activity that conflicts with a client's interest without the client's consent." This is important because not all of those that provide financial advice are held to the same standard. They could be giving you advice (e.g. selling you a product) that may go against your interests. By working with a fiduciary, that conflict of interest and concern goes away.

Do you build custom investment portfolios for your clients?

3 Investment Strategies - Bull Oak Capital No, we do not build custom portfolios as there is rarely a good reason to do so. All of our clients are allocated to one of the five investment models. We believe that most investors should be allocated to one of the five as our investment strategy is built on economic research and proven strategies. The findings of this research do not change from client to client and therefore should not change one's investment approach. The two primary factors influencing one's investment strategy is usually their time horizon and risk tolerance. From this, we can determine which of the three is suitable. Of course there are exceptions to which the models do not make sense (e.g. those with a significant tax liability due to a low basis, the client has too low of risk tolerance, etc.), but these exceptions are rare.  
There are many financial advisors that will promise to build a customized investment portfolio based on the clients needs. The pitch is that they will put together a financial plan first, then build an investment portfolio based on the client's cash flow needs. At first, this sounds logical as the investment portfolio will be built around the client's life. However, it is not feasible nor is it often suitable. The stock market, the bond market, and the economy is completely and definitively agnostic when it comes to investor needs. Put simply, it does not care if you are saving for a home or if you need income during your retirement. If the economy is going to contract or if the market is going to correct, it will without mercy. You can still create cash-flow needs with our five investment portfolios, but the "invested" portion should not change.  
Furthermore, for those financial advisors that build customized portfolios for each and every one of their clients, they will soon have a major problem on their hands. How will they effectively manage so many different portfolios? If an advisor has 300 clients, then they have 300 portfolios to manage. We believe it is near impossible to do so effectively. We have only five portfolios to manage, making our firm not only more efficient for us, but more suitable and logical for our clients.  
You can read more about the investment strategy here.