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I only upgrade when there are security vulnerability fixes or patches and or I have hardware that will work with a newer release or the release has new functionality out of my hardware.. other than that.. I think most just like having the latest and greatest. I guess they have a lot of time on their hands and can spend most of it upgrading software and such.. I see no reason to upgrade if there is no security patches or my hardware is already supported and no new functionality.
When I used the kernel provided with my distro I upgraded whenever they released a new package with a new version. Now since I've patched and compiled my own I only upgrade when needed. a) because it's my baby, my greatest achievment thus far so I love it and b) I'm scared I'll break everything if I try again since I probably won't get it right
Custom compiling your kernel specifically for your machine can make your kernel smaller as it only supports your hardware and not a lot of stuff you don't have.
If your kernel is working for you, leave it alone (Don't fix it if it ain't broke) unless you just want to learn how to roll your own. If you do decide to give it a go, DON'T BLINDLY REPLACE YOUR EXISTING WORKING KERNEL. Keep it as an option in your start up menu just in case the new kernel doesn't work.