The Fund Investor's Schoolhouse

Elizabeth Bryan

Richard Loth is founder of The Fund Investor's Schoolhouse, a learning center for mutual fund investing know-how.

Mr. Loth has more than three decades of experience in international banking, corporate finance, and non-profit foreign development assistance programs in Latin America, Africa, and the Far East. He has lived in and traveled extensively to numerous countries in the aforementioned regions. His skills and experience as a risk analyst/lending officer with Citibank, Fleet National Bank, and the Bank of Montreal and as an independent financial consultant are broad ranged.

The lessons learned from his personal and professional investing activities, which date back to 1965, prompted Mr. Loth’s concern for the need for investment literacy on the part of the investing public. Since the late 1980s, he has dedicated a considerable amount of time to the educational needs of the individual investor.

Some Long-Term Thoughts for Long-term Investors

I have always discouraged individual investors from spending any of their time on short-term market commentary and investment news. In today’s environment, that is particularly important. Why? Among other phenomenon, the financial news media’s obsession with the Federal Reserve’s position on raising interest rates has become a complete waste of time. Yes, rates will go […]

What Does Investment Diversification Have In Common With An Infinity Pool?

Simply stated, both of these seemingly disparate items appear to go on forever, i.e., they are endless. In the case of infinity pools, this attractive architectural amenity is a real plus, particularly for high-end residential real estate properties. However, when it comes to diversifying a mutual fund portfolio, it appears that the financial press, some […]

Making a Clear Distinction Between Morningstar’s Dual Fund Rating Systems

Recently, I was asked by a beginning fund investor to explain why Morningstar has two “ratings” on mutual funds, and which one should she use.  She made reference to an article [“Flummoxed by Our Ratings? Here’s What You Need to Know,”] on Morningstar’s website written by Russell Kinnel, director of manager research for Morningstar. The […]

A Mutual Fund All About Women

If you go to and type in PXWEX in the Quote box, you’ll get its take, albeit a limited one, on Pax Ellevate Global Women’s Index Fund [hereafter referred to as PXWEX or Fund], which should be, for obvious reasons, of interest to the membership of WIFE. This fund made the news in June […]

Some Factual Perspective for Bond Fund Investors

Tim Buckley succeeded Gus Sauter as Vanguard’s chief investment officer over a year ago. Among various topics touched on during an introductory interview, the comments of Mr. Buckley on the challenges facing bond investors back then are worth repeating now: “Bonds … are an area of concern for us [Vanguard]. … At the same time, […]

Net Asset Value & Total Return – Clarifying Two Key Mutual Fund Data Points

It has been my experience with many attendees at my investment education lectures that they do not have a clear understanding of two basic mutual fund concepts – net asset value (NAV) and total return (TR). While related, these two features of fund investing have two distinct functions – the former relates to the pricing […]

Morningstar’s Stars – Perry Como Got It Right

Readers in the so-called “senior” category will remember Perry Como as one of America’s favorite pop vocalists and television performers, with a career that stretched from the 1940s to the late 1980s. If you’re a youngster, ask your parents and they’ll confirm my story. In 1952, Como’s song “Don’t Let the Stars Get in Your […]

What Should Fund Investors Do With Style Boxes? Use Them!

Background Several years ago, Morningstar’s Don Phillips invented what is called a style box, now widely used by the investment community to categorize mutual funds according to investment characteristics of their portfolios. Fund categorization allows investors to diversify the asset-allocation of their portfolios by choosing a selection of funds according to varying degrees of risk […]

Sizing Up Your Investment Risk

Albert Einstein – “Not Everything That Counts Can Be Counted” If you have money in, or are just thinking about, emerging market mutual funds, I would strongly suggest that you incorporate the message found in the Einstein quote in your thought process. The investment community’s assessment of emerging markets seems to focus its evaluations on […]

Common Sense: You Can’t See It or Touch It, But It’s a Great Investing Tool

Fund investors have dozens of tools to choose from to help them make smart mutual fund investment choices. Fund databases, websites, calculators, screening software, newsletters, videos, publications, message boards, and financial media are readily available. For many individuals, the investing process is a bit of a mystery, and they are intimidated by a perceived information-overload. […]

Should Kiplinger’s “Favorite Funds” Be Your Choices?

For several years now, the Kiplinger Personal Finance magazine has put together a selection of mutual fund recommendations it calls the “Kiplinger 25.” This is a portfolio of 25 no-load funds, in five different categories, that it considers to be of top quality. This portfolio, which also appears on the website, is fairly static, […]

BlackRock’s Misguided Guidance – The Devil Is in the Details

New York-based investment manager, BlackRock Investments, LLC, started running a full- and half-page color ads in the Wall Street Journal. The attention-grabbing ad headline, in large bold letters, that “Traditional Bond Funds You Once Considered Safe Investments May Not Be So Safe Anymore” must have been a bit unnerving to some bond investors. The advertisements’ […]