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RYAN HUGHES

Founder and portfolio manager

Bull Oak Capital

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“It’s psychologically healthy to give back,” said Ryan Hughes, founder of Bull Oak Capital in San Diego. His compassion for people with financial struggles grew from his own hardscrabble childhood in the mill town of Pueblo, Colorado, and was fostered by his four-year stint in the Navy, which included two deployments to the Persian Gulf. “Joining the military gave me the opportunity to figure out who I am and what I stand for,” he said.

Helping others is a big part of what Hughes stands for, and he has expressed this over the past five years by teaching financial literacy to civilians, veterans and active military personnel in his community. He volunteers for the Homeless Veterans of San Diego, raising money and developing an educational program for clients, and with the San Diego Financial Literacy Center, providing clients with guidance on topics such as managing debt, student loans, budgeting and saving. In his own practice, he provides pro bono advice to active-duty personnel as a special offering.

Over the years, Hughes has gained some important insights to share with society. “You need to teach financial literacy in grade school, and people need to be more upward-focused in their careers,” he said.

Deborah Nason