The claim that investors can obtain S&P 500-type returns simply by purchasing an index fund is contradicted by the evidence. Earning index-like returns investing in an index fund may seem to work in theory, but in practice the average investor has not been able to resist the influence of Mr. Market. As a result, achieving index-like returns is a pipe dream for most investors. Better-than-S&P 500 returns demand well-above-average investment temperament, and even basic index-like returns demand better patience and temperament than the average investor has. As Shakespeare commented in Othello, “How poor are they that have not patience.” Judging by investor actions over the intervening 400 years, pretty poor indeed. We’re here to help our clients maintain patience and a winning temperament, and that’s one reason why we write these letters.