One of the best ways to make more money in GTA 5 is to astutely play the game's stock market systems. Before starting your empire in earnest though, you'll need some seed capital to make the time you spend worthwhile. Fortunately, the game's single-player campaign offers up a very handy way of getting a serious headstart on this particular section of the meta-game.
Making money in GTA 5
At a certain point during the main campaign, Franklin will gain access to a handful of missions offered up by Lester. In each of these missions, you'll have to assassinate a character associated with a particular company. The good news is that each company has a direct competitor on the stock market, so buying plenty of shares in the competition before finishing off the job you've been given will land you a decent chunk of change, in addition to the mission reward.
To make sure you get the most benefit from these lucrative missions, leave all of them alone except the first one (which is necessary for progressing the story) until you've completed the remainder of the main storyline, and have reached a point where each one of your three characters is absolutely swimming in cash. You should then use all of this mission money to invest heavily in the mission target's opposite number on the stock market. The profitable swing in favour of the competition is coded right into every one of these missions, so there's no risk of losing even a single penny by going all-in.
To save you from having to fail and reload your game progress just to work out the appropriate investment, here's a quick cheat sheet for the companies you should be investing in prior to starting each of Lester's missions. Note that you'll need to wait until approximately 24 in-game hours have passed before your investments pick up on the stock market, at which point you're free to cash in, then fill one or two hillside swimming pools with your ill-gotten gains.
|Hotel Assassination||Beta Pharmaceuticals||BAWSAQ|
|The Multi Target Assassination||Debonaire Cigarettes||LCN|
|The Vice Assassination||Fruit||BAWSAQ|
|The Bus Assassination||Vapid (after mission)||BAWSAQ|
|The Construction Assassination||Gold Coast||LCN|
Once you've finished off all of Lester's missions, and reaped the rewards of your investments, you should find yourself with a huge amount of money to either invest again in the stock market, or use to go on a shopping spree for properties and businesses.
Just be aware that if you decide to use your new-found wealth to seed a further round of stock market speculation, there's no guarantee of a return on your investment. You and your money will simply be at the mercy of the game's fluctuating stock market systems. Businesses, on the other hand, return a guaranteed trickle of money all the time - safe but slow, and we can help you do much better.
LCN stock market guide
If you're looking to pile your money into the relative safety of the single-player stock market, we've got a few important tips to help you get the most from your investment, while minimising the risk to your guiltily gained wealth at the same time. The core principle of gaming the system is, of course, painfully simple to state - buy low, sell high - but there are a few important things to consider about the behaviour of share prices in the game.
First of all, it only takes around 45 seconds for share prices to update, so it's best to choose a time when you can devote a fair chunk of your play time to following share price behaviour. Gains can be very short-lived, and while plummeting stocks will eventually rise back to the point you invested in them, your money can't work for you while it's tied up in under-performing stocks.
Secondly, every major LCN corporation in GTA 5 has one direct competitor, and so as one company suffers a rise or fall in its fortunes, so the competitor's own profitability will be conversely affected. To help you keep track of how the various companies are paired together in GTA 5, we've compiled a list of those company's going head to head in the markets.
LCN corporate rivals
|Cool Beans||Bean Machine|
|Slaughter, Slaughter & Slaughter||Bullhead|
So what kind of plan should you compile for general investment in the stock markets? Frankly, it depends on how risk averse you are, not to mention the volatility of the share prices in your own game. Regardless of how much money you're willing to risk, you should always check out the performance graphs for each stock before making any purchases.
If the graph shows a nice, gentle historical curve with a discernible pattern to it, then you can buy at a low point, show a little patience, and then cash in at what should be a pretty accurate guess at the peak price. Returns are small in exchange for this predictability, but if you can find a number of similar stocks then you'll certainly make a healthy profit over time. Just don't be too greedy, as what goes up can most certainly come down, and prices can be volatile.
It's one thing to throw all of your hard-earned money into a particular stock during Lester's missions - the returns are, after all, guaranteed - but it's quite another to do so in the less predictable sandbox stock market. Spread your investments out sensibly so as to protect yourself from any errant speculations, get out when you've made a healthy profit, and throw whatever you've made in profit straight back into the system. Rinse and repeat until you've achieved your financial goals.
BAWSAQ stock market guide
Unlike the LCN stock market, where fluctuations are based entirely on the actions of you and you alone in your own GTA 5 universe, the BAWSAQ market takes into consideration the actions of all players connected to the Rockstar Games Social Club.
As an example of how this all works - one provided by Rockstar prior to the game's launch - it made very good business sense to invest in Ammu-Nation early on in the game's life. Players were collectively purchasing a huge quantity of ammunition and weaponry after all, and so the corporation's stocks rose accordingly. A nice profit all round.
Because of BAWSAQ's far-reaching meta-game, it's possible to achieve much higher returns on your investments than if you just stick to playing the LCN stock market, although the risks are much, much greater. Expect a return around three times higher on smart investments here, compared to those made on the single-player stock market. Keep in mind also that the window of opportunity to cash in can be very slim, so make sure you pay close attention to your investments.
Keeping an eye on community endeavours to manipulate the markets is one way of staying ahead of the game, but you might also want to keep track of prices via the Rockstar Games Social Club website, where values update ever-so-slightly sooner than they do in-game. Using this information alone is unlikely to turn you into the next Warren Buffett, but it will give you a minor lead on the competition - and every little advantage counts when it comes to BAWSAQ's ruthless world.
If you're after GTA 5 cheat codes instead of money-making tips, head back to the first page of our guide.