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I'm not sure if I'm posting in the right place- I apologize if I'm lost

I've been reading articles that refer to an average yearly return of about 7%, and I'm not sure how they're calculated. I started my Roth IRA in April '05 with $3000. If I sold all my stocks today, I'd have (after fees) $3700. To find whether I've beaten the stock market, do I simply divide $3,000 into $3,700 for an 8.11% return?

I just read a post from someone who is getting a 1.26% return from a credit union. I understand that there is increased risk in stocks, but I essentially picked my four stocks out of a hat (I still don't know how to interpret financial statements) and I sold two of them at the wrong time (missing out on $400 in profit from one, and $600 for the other)

Was I blindly lucky(even with my poor timing), am I doing the math wrong, or is there something I don't understand?

Thank you in advance for your help.
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