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You can’t blame the average investor for confusing an investment’s annual return with its annual yield. For centuries, trustees and their beneficiaries have focused on the income an estate yields, not the growth in its value. Indeed, as explained in “7 Deadly Sins Every ERISA Fiduciary Must Avoid: The 1st Deadly Sin – ‘Income Matters’,” the barons of medieval England forced King John to sign the Magna Carta in 1215AD partly because the king’s trustees had been looting the estates of widows and orphans in part to help the king fund various unpopular policies. Back then, an estate’s yield didn’t come with decimal points and percentage signs. It came in bushels and on bones. It didn’t fill abstract things like bank accounts. Instead, it filled the very real need of hungry stomachs.


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