It's been a year since a group of amateur traders on Reddit set their sights on GameStop's struggling stock and determined they had an opportunity to beat Wall Street.
Together, the investors organized to pile into the heavily shorted stock and force the hedge funds that had bet against it to cover their losses.
The ensuing mania sent the stock skyrocketing from less than $20 per share to more than $400. It even forced popular investing app Robinhood to pause trading, as investors rushed to hop on the bandwagon.
But GameStop's rally was far from a sure thing for investors. The size of your return would have varied wildly depending on the day of the week — or even the time of day — that you invested.
GameStop shares are still trading five times higher than they were before the rally, closing at $108.81 on Tuesday. But it's still entirely possible that if you invested at the peak of the frenzy, you would have lost a significant chunk of your money.
That's why experts strongly recommend against attempting to time the market. Instead of trying to predict which stocks will go up and which will go down, consider buying low-cost index funds and holding onto them. This type of diversified fund typically stays relatively constant and avoids the ups and downs that comes with picking single stocks.
That said, here's how much money you would have made — or lost — if you invested $1,000 in GameStop at different points during its 2021 rally.
Redditors on r/WallStreetBets had been encouraging each other for months to buy the struggling retailer's stock, but it wasn't until GameStop appointed a trio of new directors to its board that it began approaching its rally.
If you bought $1,000 worth of shares of GameStop in early January at $19.94 each, you would have seen a 446% return on your investment, and your $1,000 would now be worth $5,461.
Just two days later, a similar $1,000 investment would still have gotten you a large return, but not nearly as big as it would have been had you been one of the first to buy the stock.
A $1,000 GameStop purchase at Jan. 13's price of $31.40 would now be worth $3,468.47 — an increase of 246%.
By Jan. 22, share value had more than tripled since the appointment of the new directors to GameStop's board and the stock was days away from becoming a full-blown frenzy.
If you invested $1,000 into GameStop at $65 a share, your investment would now be worth $1,675 — an increase of 67.5%.
The stock hit its all-time high during intraday trading on Jan. 28, shortly after Elon Musk tweeted "Gamestonk!!" to his tens of millions of followers, along with a link to the r/WallStreetBets forum. GameStop shares soared as high as $483 that day before crashing back down below $200 at the end of trading.
If you were unlucky enough to buy at the very top, your investment would have lost 77.5% of its value by Jan. 18, 2022 and your $1,000 would now be worth $225.71.
Even if you waited for shares to crash after the all-time high, you still would have lost money. A $1,000 investment at Jan. 28's closing price of $193.60 would have lost just under 50% of its value and would be worth $562.55 a year later.
A few weeks after hitting its all-time high, shares of GameStop had settled down to just over $51, more than double what they were worth one month earlier.
If you had invested $1,000 in GameStop on Feb. 11, your investment would have grown to $2,121.31 by Jan. 18, 2022 — a return of 113%.