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How to Retire Early in San Diego – A Guide to Early Retirement in Southern California

With employment levels near record levels, chances are that you are employed and working a full-time job. Yet, with the paychecks rolling in, you may be dreaming about early retirement. You’re not alone. There’s a movement of early retirement seekers called FIRE or Financial Independence Retire Early. Retiring early is achievable, even easy, in many lower cost-of-living areas. Yet, if you’re seeking early retirement in San Diego, you’ll need to plan. A retirement calculator and ...
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Investing After Retirement

Investing After Retirement

If you are nearing retirement, or are already retired, chances are pretty good that you are keeping a close eye on your portfolio. Retirement is a time to relax and enjoy the benefits of your years of hard work. In order to do so, however, you have to keep your retirement portfolio healthy. This is particularly true if you don’t have additional revenue streams, such as real-estate that can bolster your retirement income. A central ...
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Financial Mistakes to Avoid In Retirement

Financial Mistakes to Avoid In Retirement

If you are looking forward to retirement, you aren’t alone. Most people look forward to the day where they can leave their day job, pursue a hobby, explore, relax, and enjoy their time the way they want to. Increasingly, however, fewer and fewer people are able to actually do this. The sad truth is that most people don’t have enough saved to retire at their current lifestyle. Some don’t even have enough to retire at ...
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Bull Oak Recession Cover Blog

Are We In A Recession?

December has been a particularly ugly month for stocks. The S&P 500 is down -11.7% for the month, -9.6% for the year, and -17.5% from its peak on September 20, 2018. This has certainly been a not-so-gentile reminder that stocks are volatile. So what caused this selloff? Are we in a recession? There has been a lot of talk that we might be entering into a recession next year. But if this is the case, ...
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What Is Estate Planning?

What Is Estate Planning?

While there are many financial services and investment strategies to consider while you are young, estate planning is an important step that you should take to protect your assets. In short, estate planning gives you the opportunity to take real steps while you are alive to ensure that your family and loved ones are taken care of after you are gone, while also giving you control over how your assets are allocated upon your death ...
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Benefits of Saving For Retirement Early

Benefits of Saving For Retirement Early

One of the joys of retirement is sitting back and enjoying the fruits of your long years of labor. Retirement offers you the chance to try new things and go new places, but only if you are adequately prepared. As you get started with financial planning, it is important to keep retirement in the front of your mind. In order to retire comfortably, you’ll need to have a comprehensive retirement plan in place that ensures ...
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Is CNBC Biased

Is CNBC Biased? We Think So.

After eight months of research, we have determined that the financial news media site CNBC (www.cnbc.com) has a strong negative media bias, despite the day-to-day market performance or the relative strength of the economy. The Wall Street Journal (www.wsj.com), while better performing, exhibits a somewhat negative biased reporting as well. One would suspect that the financial media news sites would have a strong correlation to the overall market as they report on the financial markets ...
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2019 Best Financial Advisors in San Diego

2019 Best Financial Advisors in San Diego

Choosing a financial advisor to work with is a big decision. The right financial advisor can have a measurable impact on your total portfolio value. At the same time, a financial advisor serves as an important knowledge resource that can be used to guide your financial planning decisions to ensure you reach your long-term financial goals. When selecting a financial planning and investment advisor, it can be very helpful to work with an advisor that ...
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Why Retirement Planning Is Important

Why Retirement Planning Is Important

Do you know what your target retirement age will be? Have you assessed what your costs will be post-retirement? Have you thought about your healthcare costs and how you will cover them once you have transitioned off of an employer healthcare plan? If you have, you’ll have a firm understanding of how important retirement planning is. If you haven’t, it’s time to take a hard look at what your long-term financial plans are. The reality ...
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How To Choose a Financial Advisor

How To Choose a Financial Advisor

If you are in the market for financial advice, chances are you are considering working with a financial advisor. Making the right choice when it comes to financial advice and services can be challenging at times. Information about financial services are often conflicting or contradictory, and it can be difficult to separate fact from fiction. Despite the challenges you might encounter, choosing the right financial advisor can make a world of difference. The right financial ...
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How Much Does a Financial Advisor Cost?

How Much Does a Financial Advisor Cost?

When selecting a financial advisor, one of the most important considerations for many individuals is how much the service will cost them. Understanding the total cost of the financial advisory services you are currently utilizing, or are planning to secure, is essential to attaining the best service for your unique needs. In this article, we will seek to outline what differences exist between different types of financial advisors, and discuss how those differences translate to ...
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Market Update Oct 2018

Market Update: Tightening Conditions & Slowing Economies

Yesterday's market pullback was a fairly steep one. The S&P 500 fell by -3.29% and the NASDAQ fell by -4.1% as tech names led the selloff. International markets continued the selloff after the U.S. market close. The main headline from CNBC immediately after yesterday's market close named this a "stock market slaughter." Today's action (as I write this) doesn't seem to be faring too much better. So, what happened? What was the catalyst that sparked this ...
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US China Trade War

Trade War Between the U.S. and China: Nobody Wins

(Originally published on 4/6/18. Updated on 9/9/18.) We live in a global economy where domestic companies are becoming more and more exposed to international policies and trade agreements. U.S.-based companies now receive more than 1/3 of their revenue internationally. As a San Diego financial advisor, our job is to analyze the impact of these policies and tariffs to our clients. In an effort to better understand what is at stake regarding the potential trade war ...
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US Up World Down

YTD Market Update: US ↑, Rest of the World ↓

Writing market commentary is a challenging task as it is tempting to jump into many different topics. There are many market influencers and many opportunities to delve too deep for a simple overview. However, here is my take on how the markets are performing this year. To begin, I would like to offer a quick recap before highlighting the more important topics. The quick takeaways:
  • U.S. large cap stocks are up for the year ...
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California GDP

If California Were A Country, It Would Be The UK

It is no secret that California is the largest and most productive state in the U.S..  California's GDP last year was $2.7T, representing 14.3% of the total U.S. economy. California's economy is so big that if it were a country, it would be the 5th largest economy in the world, more productive than the United Kingdom. If we were to list the 50 states by economic output, it is easy to see how dominant California ...
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Rising Rates and Flattening Yield Curves

Recession Indicators

Many economists and portfolio managers like to cite consumer spending, current GDP readings, and the unemployment rate as a sign that things are going well here in the U.S. However, these three indicators are either coincident or lagging indicators. They tell us nothing about what is likely to happen with our economy in the near future. This is why we must consider leading indicators, indicators that can help us glean information what what will soon ...
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fiduciary advisor bull oak capital

Why You Need To Work With A True Fiduciary Financial Advisor

Is there a difference between a financial advisor, a financial consultant, and a wealth manager? What about a financial planner, a registered representative, and an investment advisor representative? Do these titles really help the average investor distinguish between proficiency and job function? The answer is, unfortunately, no. These titles do nothing more than to self-designate supposed capabilities. Just because a financial advisor holds the CFP (Certified Financial Planner) designation does not mean that individual will always act ...
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Rising Interest Rates and its Effects

Rising Interest Rates and its Effects

After nearly a decade of speculation, interest rates have finally began to increase as inflation has started to pick up (about time). The impact of rising interest is far from certain, but I put together a simplified flowchart to help illustrate the effect (see below). For the past 40 years, the bond market has been in a near-perpetual bull market. Though, that bull market run has seemed to have faltered lately with the 10-year Treasury ...
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Don't Panic: The Market Decline

Don’t Panic: The Market Decline

The previous couple of days have been volatile given the recent market decline. Within the past few days (Jan 26 -  Feb 5) the market fell nearly -8%. On Monday (Feb 5th) alone the S&P 500 fell -4.1%. If you watch CNBC, read Yahoo Finance, or consume any other financial media, the reasoning behind this sharp downturn is likely to be due to "inflation fears," "geopolitical instability," "central bank tightening," or even "a fat-finger on ...
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How Does the New Tax Law Affect Me?

How Does the New Tax Law Affect Me?

If you’re wondering how the new tax law will affect you, you aren’t alone. In short, it means that your tax strategy is likely to change. I wrote about the the possible effects of the Tax Reform and Jobs Act of 2017 for California residents last month before the final bill was passed. The punchline? If you live in a high income-tax state, the lower brackets do not help out as much as you would think ...
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Will You Pay Higher Taxes Under the GOP Plan?

Will You Pay Higher Taxes Under the GOP Plan?

Contrary to popular belief, according to our analysis, for those that live in a high income tax state, the proposed tax bills will likely BENEFIT lower-income and middle-class individuals and families while driving higher tax rates for the upper-class. The primary reasons why? The child tax credit is increased in both the house ($1,000 to $1,600) and the senate ($1,000 to $2,000), the standard deduction is increased ($6,350 to $12,000/$12,200), the tax brackets have been ...
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Should I Rollover My 401k?

Should I Rollover My 401k?

Though clients come to Bull Oak for a variety of San Diego financial services, a common question we’re asked is “should I rollover my 401k?” The answer is, perhaps. For most, it makes sense to roll your mutual funds out of a 401k (this includes a 403b, 401a, or whatever type the deferred employer plan may be). Though, there are a few exceptions that one must consider before pulling the trigger. This includes fees, any ...
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Passive Investing - Don't try to beat the index...

Passive Investing – Don’t try to beat the index…

It is well-documented that the vast majority of investors, whether it be financial advisors, hedge fund manager, individual investors, and even day traders, underperform the market. This may or may not come as a surprise to you, but it is fascinating to me. There is an entire population of people that devote years of their life to a craft that yields no results. Welcome to the world of active management. Active management is the practice ...
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Is Bitcoin A Bubble?

Is Bitcoin A Bubble?

Bitcoin, the world's largest and most popular cryptocurrency, has recently dominated the news cycle. Numerous articles comment on how much money you would've made if you invested only a year ago (739%). In fact, I first heard about Bitcoin in late 2013 when its price was around $130/BTC. $1,000 invested then would be worth $36,863 today. Shoulda, woulda, coulda... For those that do not know, Bitcoin is a virtual currency that is math-based digital assets ...
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Why Is Inflation Stubbornly Low?

Why Is Inflation Stubbornly Low?

Global inflation has been stubbornly low for quite some time, creating a difficult situation for central bankers. Of course, central bank action is highly dependent upon inflation levels. And their actions have direct and immediate influence on global stock and bond prices. The problem? U.S. inflation measured by the core PCE has undershot the Fed’s target rate of 2.0% for the previous 59 months. As a recap, core PCE (personal consumption expenditure) excludes energy and food ...
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All Roads Lead To Beijing: China's Belt and Road Initiative

All Roads Lead To Beijing: China’s Belt and Road Initiative

What looks to be the single largest economic-development project in history, the Chinese-led Belt and Road Initiative will be officially unveiled in Beijing tomorrow at the Belt and Road Summit (Sunday, May 14th). The two-day summit will be hosted by Chinese President Xi Jinping and will feature over 65 participating countries, 29 heads of state, and a mind-boggling $1.4 Trillion investment proposal. This event will undoubtedly mark the beginning of a long-term project that will, in my opinion, change ...
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Hope Is Not A Long-Term Strategy

Hope Is Not A Long-Term Strategy

If you find that your investment strategy is pinned on the hope that Congress will somehow pass economic-boosting legislation in a timely manner, you may want to reconsider your thought process. Yes, there is still a chance that tax reform will get passed. But there is also an equally-likely chance that it does not. There is worry that Republicans will begin to distance themselves from President Trump amid his falling approval rating and after they failed ...
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Mexican-American Standoff: A 20% Import Tax

Mexican-American Standoff: A 20% Import Tax

President Trump intends to reshape the relationship between the United States and Mexico. From building a border wall to renegotiating NAFTA, there is a lot of change about. I decided to write about the potential impact of a 20% import tax. This is not only intended to help educate others as to what is going on, but to also help me understand the scope of this potential changes. I understand that the "suggested" import tax ...
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Trump's Tax Plan - A Game Changer For The Markets

Trump’s Tax Plan – A Game Changer For The Markets

President-elect Trump has promised to create over 25 million jobs over the next decade and to boost the U.S. GDP to an average rate of 3.5%. He plans to do so by reducing both corporate and personal income tax rates, cutting regulation and government spending, renegotiating trade deals, promoting American-sourced energy, and rebuilding the American infrastructure (well, at least $1 Trillion worth). In this blog post, I focus only on Trump's tax plan. Market risks have shifted ...
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Rental Income and Retirement Planning

Rental Income and Retirement Planning

While there are many options for San Diego financial services, real estate questions are frequent and it’s important to consult a financial advisor when making these decisions. A lot of my clients are buying real estate properties and renting them out as a strategy to help them with cash flow during retirement. So, I thought I would share what this strategy could look like. The rental property question comes up more often than not. A lot of my ...
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Stocks and Bonds

Stocks and Bonds

Have you ever wondered why most portfolios have a mix of stocks and bonds in their portfolio? Is there a reason why? The primary reason is because stocks and bonds, more or less, have a negative correlation. This means that if stocks are falling, there is a good chance that bonds are trading higher. This is important because the bigger position you have in bonds, the less painful your slide in stocks will be. Having a ...
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The Fed's Musical Chairs

The Fed’s Musical Chairs

Today's marketplace is a peculiar one. When I look at the current market, I like to think that it is similar to the children's game of musical chairs. As long as the Fed and the other major central banks are playing their tune, everybody is happy to play along. In fact, I don't think investors have much of a choice. However, once the music stops, it is important to make sure that your aren't the ...
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Brexit Is A Big Deal

Brexit Is A Big Deal

Brexit "Black Friday" cost investors over $2 trillion in market wealth (CNBC) as global stocks fell -5.4%. Here in the U.S., the S&P 500 was down -3.60% and in Europe, the STOXX 50 was down -8.62%. Brexit was largely considered an unforeseen event, a black swan event perhaps. I personally believe it is the largest financial shock since the 2008-09 financial crisis. Will this lead the markets down further? Nobody knows for sure, but the ...
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The Corporate Earnings Problem

The Corporate Earnings Problem

The S&P 500 is yet again trying to reach its all-time high (reached a year ago, May 2015). As I write this, the index is within 2% of this high.  There are a number of factors that influence the stock market on a day-to-day/ month-to-month/ year-to-year basis. And these factors certainly change as market conditions change. Recently, the markets have ground higher, despite elevated valuations and a looming Federal Rate rate increase. The increased probability of rising ...
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Who Will Inherit Prince's Estate?

Who Will Inherit Prince’s Estate?

Prince died unexpectedly in Minnesota on April 21st and the cause of his death is still a mystery. There are reports that Prince died from AIDS, from an overdose on cocaine or from Percocet, from influenza, or from other causes. None have yet been confirmed. His death leaves behind an immediate estate worth $300MM. He also leaves behind his publishing rights and master recordings. His manager, Owen Husney, estimates these assets alone to be worth $500MM. One would ...
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Is it a Bull or is it a Bear?

Is it a Bull or is it a Bear?

Is it a bull or is it a bear? The past 18 months have left a number of investors asking this very question. Since October 2014, we have experienced 3 dramatic selloff only to have the market bounce back. But the problem is that the S&P 500 has not been able to rally beyond its summer 2015 highs. And this leads us to the question: where do we go from here? We began the year ...
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The Aging Population Problem

The Aging Population Problem

It's been a month since my last post was published. I apologize for the delay. My office flooded 2 weeks ago and I've been temporarily working out of a cubicle and conference room while my office is being repaired. I'm hoping to move back in by mid-April. Here's a look at the restoration crew destroying my office! Nevertheless, the time off has really given me the time to evaluate this crazy market we are in. Since ...
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U.S. Consumers - The Last Line of Defense

U.S. Consumers – The Last Line of Defense

It is well known that there is considerable concern for the global economy. Red flags are flying high: credit spreads have widened, China is slowing down, inflation levels are almost nonexistent, corporate earnings have stalled, and developed economies are adopting negative interest policies. The fear here in the United States is that the global slowdown will eventually impact us here. While history may not repeat itself, it certainly does rhyme. I've read many pieces where our current slowdown is ...
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Beware - The Shadow Bear Market

Beware – The Shadow Bear Market

What a wild ride to begin 2016. The S&P 500 ended the month down -5.0%, though the index was down -9% on Jan 20th before bouncing back somewhat. Here are the results of the 3 Bull Oak portfolios for the month of January 2016: As most of you already know, I have been keeping a close eye on the recent selloff. The all-time high of the S&P 500 was on May 21st, 2015 at a ...
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2016 Five Star Wealth Manager Award

2016 Five Star Wealth Manager Award

For this week's newsletter, I talk about winning a wealth manager award and fiduciary responsibility. 2016 Five Star Wealth Manager Ryan Hughes was recently named a 2016 Five Star Wealth Manager in San Diego. Ryan is the Founder and Portfolio Manager at Bull Oak Capital, an independent advisory firm that provides financial planning and portfolio management services to successful individuals. The Five Star award recognizes service professionals who provide quality services to their clients ...
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First Week Was Worst Week

First Week Was Worst Week

The first week of January was the worst on record. The S&P 500 index fell by -5.96% to close at 1922. The index is now back in September 2015 trading territory. It was an brutal week, no doubt about it. However, if you're my client, then you know that this decline did not catch me by surprise. I've been expecting a market decline since last summer. This defensive allocation has certainly helped limit this week's downfall, ...
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2016 Market Outlook

2016 Market Outlook

This is the time of the year when economists make their 2016 market projections. Of course, these projections are notoriously off-base. At the start of 2015, economists predicted where they thought the S&P 500 would close on Dec 31, 2015. Here a summary of their predictions (Barron's): 2015 Lowest Target Estimate: 2100 (0.9% gain) 2015 Mean Target Estimate: 2208 (6.1% gain) 2015 Highest Target Estimate: 2350 (13% gain) With a mean prediction of a 6.1% gain, ...
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Fixed Income Prospects After the Fed Rate Hike

Fixed Income Prospects After the Fed Rate Hike

Today, I was quoted in a US News & World Report articled titled, "Fixed Income Prospects After the Fed Rate Hike." Here is the link to the original article by Jeff Brown. -------------------- "Fixed Income Prospects After the Fed Rate Hike" by Jeff Brown - published by US News & World Report on 12/23/2015 After months of beating the drums, the Federal Reserve finally raised short-term interest rates – the first such increase in years. And the sky ...
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Who Is Martin Shkreli?

Who Is Martin Shkreli?

If the name Martin Shkreli doesn't ring a bell, you've probably heard of him via his reputation. The 32 year-old is perhaps the most famous pharmaceutical price gouger in history. His company purchased an out-of-patent medicine, Daraprim, and raised the price of the life-saving drug in September from $13.50 per pill to $750 per pill, a 5,455% increase! As a result, the hedge fund manager received sharp criticism from major media outlets and from those on social media ...
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Will Oil Lead Us Down?

Will Oil Lead Us Down?

Oil has dominated headlines recently. The single most important commodity on the planet has been under significant pressure lately. If this doesn't tell you that something is wrong with the global economy, then I don't know what can. This drop can be attributed to a stronger US dollar, slowing global demand, and ever-increasing supply from OPEC.
  • Stronger Dollar - Around the world, oil is denominated in US dollars. That means the supply/demand of US Dollars ...
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Santa's Hangover: Market Update

Santa’s Hangover: Market Update

Many investors still believe in the Santa Claus rally. Why not? It is a phenomenon that happens more often than not. The Santa Claus rally usually happens during the week between Christmas Day and New Years Day. What is the reason behind this rally? Is it because a lot of investors are more cheerful around the holiday season? Perhaps, it is due to tax considerations. Right? While I would like to believe that the holidays ...
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While China Weighs on All, the Western World Recovers (sort of), and the Fed Looks to Raise Rates

While China Weighs on All, the Western World Recovers (sort of), and the Fed Looks to Raise Rates

Within the past few weeks, things have been looking moderately better in the U.S. and Europe. U.S. GDP is reporting stronger growth and European quantitative easing seems to be working, despite the recent Greek debt drama. So, shouldn’t the market bulls be off to the races? Not quite. For one, after a historic 6 1/2 year market rally fueled in part by QE, things might have gone up too far, too fast. U.S. stock valuations ...
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How King Dollar Changes Everything

How King Dollar Changes Everything

After a historic 6-year stock rally, this may be the unanticipated event that slows the U.S. stock market advance. The US Dollar started its impressive rally back in July 2014 when investors were contemplating the end of QE. The USD rally is the longest in history and the index is up over 25% since. What does this mean for U.S. companies? What about U.S. consumers? For U.S. companies, it’s difficult to say, but a strong ...
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America Has Its Economic Swagger Back. But For How Long?

America Has Its Economic Swagger Back. But For How Long?

America has its economic swagger back. And it’s about time. Cue the theme song from Rocky and break out your American flag t-shirt. That’s right, the greatest nation on Earth has returned to the economic forefront. But, as always, there are threats to the U.S. recovery: the likely eurozone recession, the Chinese slowdown, and the fallout from the oil price drop. While the U.S. never stepped aside from the center of the economic stage, for ...
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Cautious Optimism

Cautious Optimism

Believe it or not, but we are witnessing history in the making. From the March 2009 lows, the 5 year and 9 month S&P 500 bull market rally has resulted in a 203% cumulative return! Most that have participated in this historic run are a bit nervous about the risks to the market. Many professionals believe that this rally will continue. As long as U.S. company earnings continue to exceed expectations and the U.S. GDP ...
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