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GameStop Ruined Me

by T. Austin Basile about a year ago in investing
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An ode to me losing money because everyone told me to do something that I shouldn't.

GameStop Ruined Me
Photo by Maxim Hopman on Unsplash

It is the tale as old as time. If ______ jumped off a bridge, would you jump off too? Angry mothers and fathers across the world would ask their children that rhetorically when their friends wanted to do something dangerous. I wish I had a parental presence in my life about a few weeks back when I heard about GameStop stock soaring to the moon.

With haste, I ran to my retirement account and watched as the GameStop stock was soaring. I was reading the WallStreetBets subreddit and felt, I need to invest in this now! So I bought 6 shares, at its peak, without thinking. I felt like I was a part of something, something collective and bigger than myself. A bunch of rag-tag internet users banded together to take down the big guy. A true David and Goliath story, and here I am, getting in on the action.

Only...for me, I didn't have the fortuitous outcome that many did. I bought my shares at around $400. The stocks are now less than $50. As the days passed, I watched the red number grow larger, and larger, and larger. I thought, surely I can just sell them, take a small loss and move on with my life, but no. I go back on the subreddit and read how it's going to spike again, this is what the big guys want you to do is to panic and be scared, don't have paper hands etc.

So begrudgingly, I held onto the stock for fear of being a weak paper handed baby or for the fear of missing out on another huge spike. So, I held. Like I was supposed to. I held like I was being instructed to. And here I am, sitting with those same shares, taking a massive loss and although I saw on the subreddit people losing hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars by holding, this stuff brings out the absolute worst in me.

The opportunity cost of day trading has gotten me into this obsessed maniac where I am consuming every article, reading every single subreddit post and searching for the next big $GME stock. So much so that my social media feeds are all tailored to stock trading. I now have 4 different brokerage accounts with money scattered through them all, my portfolio insanely diverse but making marginal dollars and cents because I am way too scatterbrained.

This feeling I feel is that of gambling, you want to win your money back, you want to hit big on one game and then cash out. Thats not exactly how stocks work and boy, trying to claw my way back to where I was when I invested GameStop will take a long time and I have a lot to learn but if I can leave you with one thing, don't just follow a trend because people are screaming the loudest.

I like daytrading and the GameStop trend got my foot in the door for that, but I constantly go back in my head and think, what if...? I am not giving any advice or am a professional by any means but seeing the stories about how some people struck it big, there are so many people out there like me who got the complete other end of it. While I am happy for those people, I just can't seem to get around to looking at that stock again. It make me feel a type of way. I also refuse to sell the stock because you can't take a loss if you don't sell it, so I just have to hope it gets to a point where I feel comfortable selling it.

All this to say, if everyone is jumping off a bridge, just make sure there's a safety net down below. Losing money sucks, and it hurts. I understand why people can get insanely depressed, anxious or worse when it comes to the stock market. Be careful and don't invest money that you can't part with, if you are hoping to strike it big, play with money you can afford to lose.


About the author

T. Austin Basile

Lover of Chipotle, my wife and my three animals. And yes, in that order.

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