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You are correct that most investments have their ups and downs. Fortunately, they have more ups than downs.
http://finance.yahoo.com/echarts?s=VFINX+Interactive#symbol=...
It is also true that until you sell you have not made a profit. What you do have is an unrealized gain. At some point you will need and want to sell. This may be for a home purchase, education, retirement expenses and many other things. Then when you do sell you realize the gain.

Bob
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