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Fisher Investments UK recognises that humanity has a long history of individuals chasing a plethora of strategies to make a lot of money over a short period of time – aiming to “get rich quick.” Whilst there are rare and notable examples of success, individuals chasing this endeavour tend to be left with disappointment. Unfortunately, investors fall victim to the “get rich quick” mentality far too often, which can lead to serious financial consequences.

This isn’t to say investors should never take on risk. In fact, those requiring long-term capital growth likely need to take on an appropriate amount of risk to achieve success. However, there are some “investments” that promise big returns with very little fundamental rationale, which can elevate risk to an inappropriate level. In this article, Fisher Investments UK will highlight two relatively recent examples of investment trends that captured the attention of investors across the globe and we’ll discuss their viability as long-term investment vehicles.

“Meme” Equities

Equities popularised on various internet forums – colloquially known as “meme stocks” – are a recent way some investors have attempted to get rich quick. The trend started in early 2021, when a group of amateur investors using the popular social media platform – the “r/wallstreetbets” forum, in particular – identified equities they believed would experience tremendous gains. Their choices puzzled many in the investing community. The equities they identified – such as GameStop, AMC Theatres and Blackberry – were struggling businesses with negative outlooks and a long-term trend of declining equity prices. It seemed reasonable to think these equities were perhaps a little undervalued, but likely not by the magnitude these amateur bloggers claimed. Still, as Fisher Investments UK witnessed, online discussions garnered enough investors to pile money into these equities and cause their prices to spike, almost overnight.

GameStop (GME) – a video game retailer – was a particularly notable example. As some investors posted their ‘winnings’ on r/wallstreetbets, they also encouraged other users to continue buying shares aggressively. On January 12, 2021, GME shares closed at $19.95. Fisher Investments UK notes, this alone was an excellent return for initial adopters of this trend, considering the price was at about $3.00 a week prior. However, the price rose each day for the next week. This initial price spike forced hedge funds and other investors who were shorting GME – betting its value would decline – to close their short positions over fears price increases would continue, which added to the buying pressure. GME’s price rose to $76.79 at market close January 25, and ultimately peaked January 27 at $325.00.i

As quickly as GME skyrocketed, it fell back down. With trading platforms such as Robinhood and several others halting GME share purchases due to its extreme volatility and millions of dollars in equity sales occurring within hours, the price plummeted. By February 19, 2021, GME closed below $40 – incurring swings of up to -60% in a single day.ii Whilst some investors who poured sums into this single equity made big gains by selling near its peak, other investors, charmed by the prospect of making a quick fortune, bought shares too late and sold them past the peak to lock in big losses.


Fisher Investments UK knows that proponents of cryptocurrencies will tell you they don’t invest in them to get rich quickly. Instead, they may claim that cryptocurrencies and the decentralised ledger system many operate on – known as the “blockchain” – are the future and will ultimately replace fiat currencies like the US Dollar or Pound Sterling and the systems that underpin them. However, with thousands of different types of crypto “tokens”, limited regulation and very little basis for why a cryptocurrency is indeed a store of value – trading in them remains a highly speculative practise with extreme risk.

Like other “get rich quick” investments, some early adopters made a fortune on crypto’s rise. Bitcoin – the biggest and most popular cryptocurrency – went from trading in the hundreds of dollars a decade ago to a peak $65k late in 2021. However, 2022 has been disastrous for the crypto landscape. As of November 29, Bitcoin traded at just over $16,400 – a drop of more than 75% in less than a year.iii This still represents significant growth from 5 years ago, but the pool of buyers was smaller back then. Many holders of cryptocurrencies include recent buyers that have gotten burned in this year’s massive decline.

Cryptocurrency’s lack of regulation is on global display since it likely contributed to the recent demise of popular cryptocurrency exchange company FTX – an electronic marketplace to buy, hold, and sell cryptocurrencies – potentially causing investors to lose collective billions. Fisher Investments UK saw investors who used FTX had to give custody of their assets to an entity that wasn’t a registered, regulated bank or brokerage firm and offered little protection against fraudulent actions by company executives.

Are investing fads a viable long-term strategy?

Fisher Investments UK believes investors should be wary of any investment that promises outsized gains over short timeframes. The reality is that the vast majority of people don’t get rich quickly. Investing requires hard work and discipline to accumulate wealth over a lifetime. The shocking volatility of meme stocks and cryptocurrency prices implies that timing them correctly is critical to success, which requires more luck than strategy, in our view. Staking your financial future on something that requires near impeccable timing seems like a bad bet to us.

At Fisher Investments UK, we believe investors should consider a well-diversified investment portfolio tailored to their long-term goals and individual financial circumstances. Taking prudent risks is required for growth, but investors can help mitigate that risk by investing in a broad spectrum of equities that cover different sectors, sizes, and countries – a strategy that is more likely to lead to long-term financial success.

Building wealth requires time. From the beginning of 1995 to the end of 2021, the MSCI World Index had a cumulative return of 678.4%, annualised at 8%. This includes every bear market, correction, and pullback during this period. A hypothetical investment of $10,000 in this index over this period of ~30 years would be worth about $77,840.iv Additionally, there has never been a negative 20-year period in the MSCI World Index, underscoring the importance of staying disciplined to a long-term strategy.

A financial adviser may be able to help you navigate challenging market conditions and grow your portfolio over time. Fisher Investments UK believes patience and staying disciplined to your long-term strategic plan should increase the likelihood of reaching your long-term investment goals. With investing fads – as with many things in life – if it seems too good to be true, it usually is.

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This document constitutes the general views of Fisher Investments UK and should not be regarded as personalised investment or tax advice or a reflection of client performance. No assurances are made that Fisher Investments UK will continue to hold these views, which may change at any time based on new information, analysis or reconsideration. Nothing herein is intended to be a recommendation or forecast of market conditions. Rather, it is intended to illustrate a point. Current and future markets may differ significantly from those illustrated here. In addition, no assurances are made regarding the accuracy of any assumptions made in any illustrations herein. Fisher Investments Europe Limited, trading as Fisher Investments UK, is authorised and regulated by the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA Number 191609) and is registered in England (Company Number 3850593). Fisher Investments Europe Limited has its registered office at: Level 18, One Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London, E14 5AX, United Kingdom. Investment management services are provided by Fisher Investments UK’s parent company, Fisher Asset Management, LLC, trading as Fisher Investments, which is established in the US and regulated by the US Securities and Exchange Commission.Investment management services are provided by Fisher Investments UK’s parent company, Fisher Asset Management, LLC, trading as Fisher Investments, which is established in the US and regulated by the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Investing in financial markets involves the risk of loss and there is no guarantee that all or any capital invested will be repaid. Past performance neither guarantees nor reliably indicates future performance. The value of investments and the income from them will fluctuate with world financial markets and international currency exchange rates.

i Source: NYSE. GME has since undergone a equity split and current prices do not reflect historical prices.

ii Source: NYSE.

iii Source: Coindesk.

iv Source: FactSet