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This is a serious question, I am not trying to poke holes or point out flaws in basic accepted investing practice.

The generally recommended strategy is to buy and hold unless there is some fundamental change in your investment that makes it no longer desirable. Now, if I buy and hold, how do I ever see a gain when the market is always changing? It would make sense to sell high and buy low, of course, but buy and hold is just that. So, when does a person take some gain and buy again with that money?

All that is circular logic. I assume the practice of investing a little at a time otherwise known as dollar cost averaging helps us all to spread out the cost. I am confusing myself now. Let me simplify:

I am 100% invested in the Vanguard Index 500 fund. I put $100,000 in it today. I never invest another dime. How is that money going to grow if I never sell some to lock in a profit? Please unconfuse me. ;-) Unfortunately, the 9+% compounded yearly for the past 80 years isn't so because one year up 20%, next doen 30%, next down 10%, next up 5%, repeat as needed.
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