The number of people investing U.S. stimulus money has risen sharply since last year, according to a survey released on Thursday by Betterment.com, and many respondents say they are actively day trading and expect to continue.
Betterment ran a survey between April 26 and May 3 that examined the rise of retail trading in so-called meme stocks such as AMC Entertainment (AMC.N) and GameStop Corp (GME.N), which soared dramatically in price and trading volume earlier this year as individual traders discussed them on social media sites.
Of 1,500 survey respondents, 91% said they received government stimulus checks aimed at helping the economy recover from COVID-19-related lockdowns, and 46% said they invested at least some of the latest checks, according to Betterment.
That was up from the 9% who said in a March 2020 survey that they would put at least some of the stimulus money towards investments, Betterment said.
In the latest survey, 750 people said they actively day traded and 49% of that group said they’ve been doing it for one to two years.
While 58% of the day traders said their goal was to make more money quickly, 43% also said they wanted entertainment to make up for the unavailability of hobbies such as sports, live music, social gatherings and gambling during COVID-19 lockdowns.
But 58% said they expected to keep day trading even as virus restrictions are lifted.
While 61% said they rely on financial news websites to pick stocks to buy, 42% say they are influenced by social media.
And while 60% of the traders said the prospect of capital gains taxes helps them decide how long to hold a stock, 14% said they weren’t aware of the tax implications of the duration of a stock holding.