GameStop’s Winners: How They’re Spending the Windfall
As GameStop’s stock soared 1,700% in the past week, the top three stockholders for the company, including CEO Ryan Cohen, earned more than $2 billion on GameStop shares this past week.
Retail investors who are riding the wave also saw themselves with more money in their accounts than they had ever imagined. Many, spurred by the Reddit group r/WallStreetBets, are holding their options to further squeeze out short sellers and Wall Street hedge funds.
But others have goals to pay down debt or help their parents, as one Reddit user wrote on a sub-thread titled “This is for you, dad:”
“My dad broke his back doing construction work. He got a 500k settlement and invested all of it. He was close to being a millionaire before 2008, then he lost everything. I was still young at the time but I remember it well. My mom had to sell my old clothes and toys to get enough money to buy food. My dad had to go back to work despite being in chronic pain. We’ve been on an extremely tight budget since. This is about more than just money… I am holding to ensure my parents can live comfortable lives.”
A few Redditors said they’d be using the money to pay for college or medical school. One who sold earlier in the week posted a student loan receipt showing they’d used their gains to pay the student loan debt in full.
Many invested back into the market, with some putting their money into longer-term investments like Apple or sharing plans to start a Roth individual retirement account with their gains.
Some in the Twitter-verse revealed plans to treat themselves. A user going by the name of Teddy said he was going to purchase a Tesla Plaid Model S and a cyber truck.
— Teddy (@CaneloElGringo) January 28, 2021
Billionaires Chamath Palihapitiya and Jon Najarian both donated their GameStop earnings to charity, but many retail investors with far less to their names also said they would do the same.
A thread on subreddit WSB titled “If GME hits $500 dollars I’m going to donate,” shares some of their aspirations.
If GME hits 500 dollars I’m going to donate a grand from my small 14 shares to Involve MN, an organization to help homeless people in the Minneapolis area. I would encourage others to do good as well with a portion of their earnings. from wallstreetbets
“If GME hits 500 dollars I’m going to donate a grand from my small 14 shares to Involve MN, an organization to help homeless people in the Minneapolis area. I would encourage others to do good as well with a portion of their earnings.”
“I’ve already got some charitable donations in mind if I can ride this wave all the way to the top & cash out to the dirty short sellers! We need more of us to commit to do this!”
Others took a more realistic view of their modest earnings:
“I will donate $500 to American Express, so they don’t make me homeless.”
“I’m donating 100% gains to the poorest person I know and that’s myself baby.”
For many, though, it’s not about the money. They plan to hold until the end to squeeze out the hedge fund short sellers, no matter the cost to their own finances.
Twitter user CJ Bonifati called it concisely:
“I am literally going to hold $GME and $AMC until I am bled dry. It’s not even about the money anymore. This is the start of a financial revolution. It’s like if Occupy Wall Street actually occupied Wall Street.
I am literally going to hold $GME and $AMC until I am bled dry. It's not even about the money anymore. This is the start of a financial revolution. Its like if Occupy Wall Street actually occupied Wall Street.
— CJ Bonifati (@HonorableKall) January 28, 2021
Few stories are more heartwarming, though, than 10-year-old Jaydyn Carr, who received 10 GameStop shares as a gift from his mother two years ago. Total value at the time? $60.
The fifth grader sold the shares Wednesday morning to earn $3,200. Carr is putting $2,200 into a savings account and reinvesting the rest.
His pick? He told reporters he’d be waiting for Roblox to go public. The online gaming platform has a market valuation of $29.5 billion, according to a CNBC report, but the IPO has been delayed for the time being.
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