Re: investment manager fee
Read "the four pillars of investing" by bernstein, almost anything by bogle, or for a quick run through, read my "book report" on the four pillars over in the investment section.
Short answer: yes, you would probably be as well or better off investing in low cost index funds, and a balanced index fund is a good place to start. A little more asset allocation to some foreign, reit, and small cap funds and you're 99% of the way there. For under .25% per year on average.
Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful. Just another form of "buy low, sell high" for those who have trouble with things. This rule is not universal. Do not buy a 1973 Pinto because everyone else is afraid of it.