The secret to making money in stocks? Staying invested long-term, through good times and bad. Here's how to do it. The stock market’s average return is a cool 10% annually — better than you can find in a bank account or bonds. So why do so many people fail to earn that 10%, despite investing in the stock market? Many don't stay invested long enough. The key to making money in stocks is remaining in the stock market; your length of “time in the market” is the best predictor of your total performance. Unfortunately, investors often move in and out of the stock market at the worst possible times, missing out on that annual return. To make money investing in stocks, stay invested.