Redditor on R/wallstreetbets took out $76K in loans to trade meme stocks

  • A Reddit user took out a $76,672 loan to trade meme shares and lost almost all of it.
  • Aaron says he became addicted to trading after using the subreddit, styled r/wallstreetbets.
  • Now he is left with monthly payments that eat up more than half of his income.

A member of the Reddit group that fueled the Gamestop stock mayhem took out a $75,000 loan and says he was addicted to trading meme stocks — even losing $6,000 his girlfriend loaned him.

Aaron, a software engineer from Munich, took out tens of thousands of dollars in loans to trade stocks. He said he was prompted by chatter on the Wall Street Bets subreddit, stylized as r/wallstreetbets and also known as WSB, which pushed him to invest amounts he could not afford for fear of missing out on big returns.

Aaron, 29, uses a pseudonym because he doesn’t want his family to know about his losses.

“It was like an addiction because you have this community and they’re always posting,” he told Insider.

“And then you see, ‘Oh, there’s the next big thing,’ and then you’re like, ‘I’ve got to get the money and I’ve got to invest it or I’m going to miss this big opportunity.'”

Despite initially earning $4,000, Aaron soon saw his finances sink into a black hole.

He took out five loans totaling 71,000 euros ($76,672) between December 2020 and September 2021 to help him invest in meme stocks — low-value stocks that get hype through social media, boosting their value — like Bed Bath & Beyond. His largest one-time loan was 20,000 euros or about 21,488 dollars.

An insider confirmed this information with documents shared by Aaron.

He would also bet thousands at a time on companies like Tesla and trade options, which allow traders to leverage their investments, putting more than they can afford.

WallStreetBets and meme stocks

Aaron is one of the millions of Wall Street Bets members. The subreddit rose to fame in 2021 when it made some retailers millionaires while bankrupting others, often through “short-term” meme stock trading.

Aron was attracted by the humorous atmosphere on the forum and the cartoon avatar.

WSB’s traders use the term “tendies” to refer to financial gains made in the stock market.

A screenshot of the r/wallstreetbets home page

A screenshot of the r/wallstreetbets home page.


I’ve always been interested in the stock market, Aaron told Insider. “Then I saw a cool avatar, like a cool profile picture. I was like, ‘Wow, that should be my thing.'”

“It wasn’t too serious,” he added. “It was a fun, funny community and I said, ‘Yeah, I want to be in this community.'”

Aaron said the WSB posts were the catalyst for his trades. He would read a discussion about a particular stock, apply for a loan of thousands of dollars and pile money into leveraged bets. He feels he’s been pushed into increasingly risky businesses – although he admits he didn’t do much research before investing.

But last year was terrible for the stock market. Bed Bath & Beyond, Aaron’s favorite meme stock, has lost 88% of its value since January 2021. It would have been more had it not been for another brief rally last week.

‘I was embarrassed’

As loan losses piled up, last August he convinced his girlfriend to let him invest her money.

Initially, she suggested putting €100 into a brokerage account that Aaron had access to.

“I said: ‘What will I do with 100 euros?’ You can’t get a lot of money out of it. I said, ‘I’ll invest your money risk-free,'” he told Insider. He eventually convinced his girlfriend to put $10,000 into her account. He admitted that he misled her about the level of risk in the investments.

Within two months of getting his girlfriend’s money, he lost $6,000 betting on meme stocks. She found out by looking at her brokerage account before Aaron could break the news to her, he said.

“I was ashamed, and I’m still ashamed,” he said. “I could have gone to a casino and played a slot machine and it would have been the same thing.”

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), a self-regulatory organization that monitors the conduct of brokers, warns that any investment carries risk and suggests that using strategies such as asset allocation and diversification can reduce investment risk.

“The bottom line is that all investments carry some degree of risk,” FINRA said on its website. “By better understanding the nature of risk and taking steps to manage those risks, you put yourself in a better position to achieve your financial goals.”

Losing the money didn’t end Aaron’s relationship, and he said he even went on vacation to Portugal in December with his girlfriend — a trip she paid for. “She’s really a dream girl,” Aaron said, adding that she gets angry when the subject of his trading comes up.

But it causes other tensions. Aaron said he can only go out to get food or drinks if his girlfriend pays him. He would like to propose to her, but he said he can’t afford an engagement ring.

He estimates he pays off $1,500 in debt each month — a significant portion of his monthly income of about $2,800 after taxes, Insider confirmed with documents. With an estimate of between $50,000 and $60,000 to pay off, he says he will likely pay off his debt by 2028.

“Then I have to pay rent, I have to pay for food. I’m just living to pay for these things,” Aaron said.

In an email to Insider, a Reddit spokesperson referred Insider to WSB’s site rules, which include warnings against market manipulation as well as short squeezes or “scams.”

A Reddit spokesperson said: “Users should participate in communities at their own discretion, following Reddit’s site-wide and community rules.”

Aaron told Insider that he barely gambled before entering the stock market, which he sees as gambling.

“If it hadn’t been for the bets on Wall Street, this would never have happened,” he said. He is not currently trading, but despite his losses, he said he will likely return to trading at some point.

“I’ll check out the subreddit and probably gamble my money away again,” he said. He doesn’t know how much, “but I will for sure because it’s fun”.

Do you have a story about using the WSB subreddit with investment? Email [email protected]

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