Certainly, in broad categories like large-cap domestic equities, it can be hard to make a case for active management: Only 12 percent of active U.S. large-cap growth funds, for example, beat passive peers over the last decade, according to Morningstar's latest Active-Passive barometer.
But while it stings to pay high fees for funds that — more often than not — fail to beat the broader market, it also hurts to sit through years like 2015 and 2011, when the broad market's returns barely beat the interest on a savings account. If you want something more for your money, you wouldn't be alone.
In fact, about 60 percent of investors say they prefer portfolios that combine passive and active management, with a passive approach in broad market areas and active management in narrower, less-efficient market segments, according to the results of a new E-Trade survey.
Compare that with 30 percent of surveyed investors who said they preferred a purely passive approach and 8 percent who favored an exclusively active one.