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Resident passionate about investment education

Richard Loth will lead free lecture series on mutual funds

ENCINITAS — Some take part in beach cleanups. Others contribute to charities. Solana Beach resident Richard Loth is donating his time to another cause: fighting financial illiteracy.

“Yes, it’s boring to many people, but it’s also critical,” Loth said. “There’s such an opportunity to educate people on this topic that it almost keeps you awake at night.”

Loth isn’t peddling anything or representing a company. Rather, he wants to help people make smart decisions when it comes to the most common type of investment — mutual funds.

For this purpose, he’s hosting a free lecture series on investing this month at the Encinitas Library, tailored to the layperson. The next one, on May 17 from 9:30 a.m. to 10:45 a.m., is dedicated to evaluating mutual funds.

Loth, a financial adviser, financial columnist and author, said he decided to host the lectures because most people are “in the dark in terms of investment basics.” He cited a 2009 study from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority saying this.

Loth faulted what he called the “Wall Street selling machine” for duping people into poor deals. He added that most people simply don’t have time to understand financials.

And consequently, Americans’ investments see a poor rate of return, leaving them unprepared for retirement, he said.

“The lack of financial security is alarming,” Loth said. “Fewer and fewer have a nest egg they can turn to.

“I want to do a small part to change this,” Loth said, adding that he’s been passionate about financial education for quite some time.

So, Loth decided to focus his educational efforts on mutual funds, where most people choose to invest. His May 17 lecture will spotlight a rating system that identifies good mutual funds.

“At the Del Mar Library, I asked people if they’re aware of these ratings, and basically no one raised their hand,” Loth said.

That rating system is from Morningstar, an impartial analysis tool. He noted county libraries have a subscription to Morningstar, giving residents a leg up in investing.

“Turn your library card into gold, so to speak,” Loth said.

His May 24 presentation at the Encinitas Library will focus on the building blocks of an investment portfolio. On May 31, he’ll walk residents through the pros and cons of target-date funds.

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