Earnings are the main way your investments make money. They’re how much more (or less) your individual investments are worth than they were when you bought them.
But keep in mind that earnings fluctuate, so it’s normal for them to go up and down as the market changes. And it’s possible for them to even go negative.
That’s why we say that investing is all about the long term. With time on your side, you can wait for the markets to potentially bounce back from any downturns that happen in the future.