With a fresh round of stimulus checks on the horizon, you might be planning to stash your next relief payment away for a rainy day.
According to the National Bureau of Economic Statistics, roughly a third of Americans saved their first $1,200 stimulus check.
But parking your relief payment in the bank is not a smart move if you want to make the most of your free cash.
Why? Because traditional bank accounts pay next to nothing in interest.
If you want your stimulus check to grow over time, you’d likely be better off investing some (or all) of it in the stock market.
We decided to find out exactly how much someone would have made if they’d invested all $1,200 of their first stim check into some of today’s most buzzed-about stocks.
We compared Alpha Vantage’s historical stock data for April 13, 2020 — the Monday after the first round of relief payments went out — to data for Feb. 8, 2021, the date this article was written.
Here’s what we found.
What your $1,200 investment would be worth today: $15,189.87
Total increase: 1,165.82%
Total profit: $13,989.87
Thanks to the efforts of armchair investors on Reddit and Twitter, GameStop has now become infamous as the stock that “broke the market” — at least for a week or two.
The American video game retailer had been struggling for years, and when the pandemic hit things began to look increasingly grim for GameStop.
But when a subreddit called WallStreetBets urged small-time traders armed with low- and no-commission trading apps like Robinhood to snatch up shares of GME, the price skyrocketed, and hedge funds that had bet against the stock found themselves caught in a short squeeze.
GameStop stock has been a rollercoaster of ups and downs since the story first broke, and even though it’s nowhere near the heights it reached a few weeks ago, as of Feb. 8 you would have made close to a $14,000 profit if you’d invested your entire first stimulus check in GME. That’s almost enough to buy a PS5 on the black market.
What your $1,200 investment would be worth today: $7,958.40
Total increase: 563.20%
Total profit: $6,758.40
Despite the pandemic, 2020 was a banner year for Tesla. Elon Musk’s pioneering electric vehicle company split its stock in August and had its biggest year ever in terms of production.
Even with the factory shutdowns that plagued the auto industry during the first wave, Tesla managed to deliver close to 500,000 cars in 2020.
On top of that, the company shattered its previous quarterly sales record by more than 40,000 vehicles, selling 180,570 cars in Q4 alone.
If you’d invested your first economic impact payment in Tesla stock, you’d now be up by $6,758 — the equivalent of more than five and a half $1,200 stimulus checks.
What your $1,200 investment would be worth today: $2,423.61
Total increase: 101.97%
Total profit: $1,223.61
Tech giant Apple also had a big year in 2020 — it became the first U.S. company ever to reach a $2 trillion valuation.
What’s even more impressive about that stat is that all of Apple’s second $1 trillion came between March and August, at the height of the pandemic.
Apple also saw a huge surge in stock prices in December, which many analysts chalked up to industry buzz suggesting the company has begun working on an electric vehicle that would give Tesla a run for its money.
Investing your $1,200 stimulus check in Apple stock on April 13, 2020, would have netted you a profit of more than $1,200, effectively doubling the value of your relief payment.
What your $1,200 investment would be worth today: $1,838.53
Total increase: 53.21%
Total profit: $638.53
With most of the country stuck in lockdown for the bulk of 2020, online shopping became the new normal for millions of Americans, and Amazon raked in huge profits as a result.
The e-commerce juggernaut saw sales for the full 2020 fiscal year total $386.06 billion — a 38% increase from 2019.
As an added feather in its cap, in Q4 Amazon became one of only two tech companies ever to post more than $100 billion in quarterly sales. (Not surprisingly, the other was Apple.)
If you’d invested your first stimulus check in Amazon, you’d now be up by $638 — enough to go on quite an online shopping spree.
What your $1,200 investment would be worth today: $2,066.59
Total increase: 72.22%
Total profit: $866.59
After a major slowdown in Q2 due to the pandemic, the parent company behind Google and YouTube finished 2020 strong, racking up $56.9 billion in revenue during Q4 — an impressive 23% growth over the previous year.
YouTube ads were particularly profitable for Alphabet in Q4, bringing in $6.89 billion, and marking a 46% increase from the same period in 2019.
Following Alphabet’s announcement of its fourth-quarter earnings earlier this month, its stock jumped more than 7% in a single day, hitting a record high of $2,106.62 per share.
By investing your first stimulus check in Alphabet, you could have made a profit of more than $866 dollars.
Walt Disney Co (DIS)
What your $1,200 investment would be worth today: $2,202.90
Total increase: 83.57%
Total profit: $1,002.90
There’s no question that the pandemic hit several Disney’s divisions hard. In 2020, movie theatres were shuttered, cruise ships were docked, theme parks were forced to operate at reduced capacity, and the film and television industries both ground to a halt.
Fortunately for the house of mouse, it still owns massive properties like Pixar, Star Wars, ESPN, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe — not to mention a streaming service that currently boasts more than 86 million paid subscribers.
In fact, by December, Disney’s stock had climbed up to a new record high, so there’s no need to worry about Mickey and Pluto winding up on the streets.
If you’d used your first stimulus check to buy stock in Walt Disney Corp., you’d now have an extra grand in your pocket.
What your $1,200 investment would be worth today: $3,023.38
Total increase: 151.95%
Total profit: $1,823.38
Like many retail chains, Macy’s stock took a nosedive in the wake of the pandemic.
Along with countless other big-name brands, the decline in retail sales caused by COVID forced Macy’s to permanently shutter a number of its physical locations, with more closures on the way in 2021.
However, the company’s decision to streamline its operations and focus on e-commerce and its best-performing stores seems to have paid off — share prices have seen significant growth since the start of the new year.
Using your first relief payment to invest in Macy’s stock back in April would have earned you a profit of $1,823.
Carnival Corp (CCL)
What your $1,200 investment would be worth today: $2,254.96
Total increase: 87.91%
Total profit: $1,054.96
The pandemic couldn’t have been worse for Carnival Cruise Lines — with border closures and travel restrictions taking a devastating bite out of its bottom line, Carnival reported a net loss of $10.2 billion for the 2020 fiscal year But despite the fact that shares of CCL are currently trading at half of what they were going for in February 2020, they’re still up more than 100% from the low point they hit in early April.
And as the COVID vaccine continues to roll out and Americans inch closer toward a time when they can safely embark on a cruise again, Carnival stock will stay on the rebound.
If you’d invested your first stimulus check in Carnival Cruise Lines, you’d now be cruising along with an extra $1,054 in your bank account.
How to start investing today
While we can’t guarantee that investing your next stimulus check will result in as much profit as the examples listed above, putting a bit of it into the market could earn you some serious coin.
Don’t worry if you don’t have much (or any) investing experience — these days there are mobile apps that make it easy to start buying and trading stocks in minutes.
Some of them even offer fractional shares, which means you can buy stock in any of the companies mentioned above for $5 or less.
As for expertise and advice? The internet is stuffed ith information that can help you make the right choices on the market. Some reputable sites provide stock-picking services, allowing you to outsource all the time-consuming research to experts who have proved themselves capable of delivering market-beating returns.
So don’t let your next relief payment fester in your bank account — put it to work on Wall Street.