Suze Orman may think the GameStop (GME) frenzy has been “crazy” and “stupid,” but she doesn’t blame the stimulus checks — as some other pundits have — for fueling the memeification of investing.
The GameStop saga took another unexpected turn this past week. After opening at $269 on Wednesday, the stock shot to $347 by midday before dropping to $198 in about half an hour. As of Friday afternoon, it was sitting at $275.
And now that President Joe Biden has signed the $1.9 trillion relief bill and millions of stimulus checks are about to be in the mail, some market observers are battening down the hatches for an even wilder Reddit-fueled roller-coaster ride.
To Orman, however, the checks themselves are a red herring. She says the dual causes of the the incredible volatility, which has now gone on for more than two months, are rock-bottom interest rates and industry-revolutionizing investment apps that offer you low or no commission.
But it’s not so much the tools these new investors use, it was more how they've used them.
“The GameStop frenzy was just crazy,” she says. “That wasn't an investment. That was a game. And that game needs to stop.”
Whether or not you agree with her, Orman has some solid investing tips if the GME story has got you interested in trading. Read on to find out how to apply her principles to your own successful strategy.
Fueled by “fear of missing out”
"I don't think ... that the stimulus checks really are what fuel this stock market," Orman said in a recent interview with Yahoo Finance. "I think being able to buy slices of stock at no commission fueled the stock market. You have millennials out there that were like, 'Oh, my God, look what I can do.'
"I think people not knowing what to do with money fueled it," she says. "And I think it was the fear of missing out."
Orman says she saw too many new investors hopping on the bandwagon, making risky investments — many of them leveraged with borrowed money — and potentially putting everything they had on the line.
And no one was giving them any guidance or warnings about the risk involved.
Orman takes investing seriously. She likens it to a long-term relationship, where you have to be ready to commit for the long haul.
“You don't invest in somebody or in something because you figured out a way to squeeze them,” she says. “You invest in a company because you like the company, you like their management, you like their potential, they're ethical, they're honest, they have growth, they can help this world.”
Her hope is that if young investors lost money in the GME deal, they took away an important lesson about the nature of investing from it.
“Investing isn’t just about making money,” she says. “Investing is about understanding what you’re investing in and doing it over the long haul.”
A better way to approach investing
Orman isn’t exactly dissuading you from taking advantage of no-commission investing, she just wants to be sure you do it smartly.
She’d encourage you to think in the long-term and build a portfolio that will help you prepare for retirement.
How to make low interest rates work for you
When interest rates drop, you can make that work in your favor by refinancing your big loans:
Consider refinancing your mortgage. Experts are indicating that this year's quick rise in mortgage rates should begin tapering off — great news for house hunters and homeowners who are still looking to refinance. An estimated 16.7 million U.S. homeowners could reduce their monthly house payments by an average $303 through a refi, according to mortgage tech and data provider Black Knight.
Cut the cost of your education. Is student loan debt eating up a huge chunk of your monthly budget? Refinancing your student loan can help you not only save money every month, but ensure you’ll pay down your debt years sooner.
With those loans taken care of, you’ll free up some more funds to invest in your other long-term financial priorities — a move that would no doubt earn Orman’s approval.