Anyone who has heard anything about the stock market knows it’s volatile. There will be swings up and down. But, although past performance does not guarantee future results, historically over the long term, it has rewarded investors who have stayed the course. However, when referring to the stock market, most people mean a broad-based benchmark (like the S&P 500) that invests in lots of different companies. Long-term returns are not the same for someone holding individual stock or a group of stocks that differ from the given benchmark.