How the Stonk Queen made $ 80,000 in stocks even during the pandemic
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Kiersten Crum’s life was that of a typical student before the pandemic. She attended the University of Kansas, where she majored in business administration, with a minor in dance, and was active in her sorority.
That was until spring break 2020, when she had to leave campus like millions of other college students due to the Covid-19 pandemic. After being sent home and seeing her father’s bar shut down completely for several months, Crum decided to drop out of school and help support her family.
Amid financial desperation, she took a leap of faith and began investing during one of the worst stock market declines in history. In just over a year, Crum transformed an initial investment of $ 500 in Carnival Cruise Lines into a portfolio of $ 80,000 and built a powerful personal brand under the name “Stonk Queen”, earning nearly $ 200,000. subscribers on TikTok. She is now using her brand to help educate young investors on how to start investing and grow their net worth.
Select interviewed Crum about her story, how she embraced the unknown, and her advice to those who haven’t yet started investing.
Boys’ club transformed into a business run by women
Crum’s journey in business began in high school when she enrolled in business and personal finance classes – sometimes she was the only girl in her class. This sparked enough interest in her to pursue her as a major at the University of Kansas.
During her second year of college, she discovered compound interest for the first time. But it wasn’t until a few of her stats classmates invited her to an investment club meeting in February that she really started to take an interest in investing.
At first worried, she decided to attend a meeting, with the urge that there was a free pizza. Upon arrival, she found a room full of young men posting their Robinhood accounts, some of whom had balances of several thousand dollars.
Over the next few days, several people helped her start investing, as the market began to decline. His very first stock purchase was extremely risky – Carnival Cruise Line. On January 1, 2020, the share price was $ 51. By the time the initial pandemic lockdowns took effect in late March, the price hit a low of around $ 9. She bought near the bottom with a very simple rationale: “What can I grab that is only affected because of Covid-19?”
As the stock market collapsed, his father’s restaurant business shut down completely. As the weeks went by, things got financially bleak. Crum had to take two jobs at a local grocery store and restaurant to help support his family. Still, she continued to strengthen her position in Carnival, investing all the money she could in stocks.
Education, diversification and entrepreneurial leap
As the online school wrapped up for the 2019-2020 school year, Crum transformed the scholarship into its new boardroom. She studied the markets endlessly, watched YouTube videos before bed, and listened to audiobooks while working to hone her daily trading prowess. And while she was learning, she continued to buy in the market when she could.
She was torn between going back to online school for the 2020-21 school year or focusing on supporting her family and learning about the scholarship.
Crum decided to take the latter option, and it paid off in more ways than one.
Eventually, she even decided to quit her job as a waitress because she was making more money trading and posting videos on TikTok.
By the end of 2020, she had broadened her portfolio to include other companies, including famous memes stocks AMC Entertainment and GameStop. Crum used the same pandemic-battered stock buying logic – both of these stocks were so short and cheap that they had almost nowhere to go except on the upside.
She attributes her decision to make those investments to WallStreetBets, a sub-Reddit community with over 10 million subscribers where members discuss stock trading.
Because Crum entered the market during one of the fastest economic downturns in history, followed by an incredibly rapid recovery, it was in the right place at the right time. It’s not typical to have a dramatic financial rise like this, and Crum recognizes how lucky she has been. Most investors don’t generally see these kinds of returns.
Economic dynamics have become the “queen of stonks”
Crum contributed around $ 10,000 to her account, mostly funded through her grocery store and waitress jobs – and she has now amassed an impressive $ 80,000 portfolio. She’s also built a brand on TikTok, with a video reaching 4.5 million views.
“People recognize me now, which is so crazy,” she says.
Crum uses his TikTok to share his stock market success story, while educating viewers about investing. She has been so successful on the platform that she was featured in a Wall Street Times article in April.
But she’s still a bartender and this fall she plans to go back to school. She changed course to major in finance and chose courses in portfolio management so that she could continue to learn about the stock market.
Advice from Queen Stonk
Before the pandemic, many young Americans did not invest in the stock market. According to a 2018 Gallup poll, only 37% of Americans under 34 owned stocks. This number has grown rapidly as the emergence of investment apps like Robinhood took hold during the pandemic.
Crum suggests that young investors are not just focusing on crazy memes stocks, but considering investing on a larger scale.
“Set aside all the money you can invest,” she says.
She suggested taking a “part of every paycheck” and implementing it on the stock market. She argues that “you are not even going to realize that you are missing it” and that the upside potential is huge.
While Crum has used a more hands-on approach to investing, picking individual stocks can be incredibly difficult and risky. In fact, many new and seasoned investors lose money this way. Consider a more passive investing strategy like using a robo-advisor, such as Wealthfront of Betterment, or simply buying into an index fund.
Crum also encourages young people to understand the broader concepts of investing. “Be in the spirit of wanting to invest to understand how compound interest can work,” she says.
But still, Crum says to follow your intuition when it comes to investing.
“I think you have to take a few of these random risks… go for it,” she said.
Before you start investing
Before investing in individual stocks, it is essential to achieve several personal finance milestones, including having a fully funded emergency fund, paying off high interest debt, and contributing enough to your 401 (k) ( k) to qualify for your employer’s match.
Once you hit these markers, be sure to include index funds and ETFs in your portfolio. This is an easy way to enter the market without having to choose stocks individually.
After that, you can consider a free brokerage account like TD Ameritrade.
Editorial note: Any opinions, analysis, criticism or recommendations expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the editorial staff of Select and have not been reviewed, endorsed or otherwise approved by any third party.