Money makes the world go round in GTA 5, even more so than ever with the GTA 5 stock market, not-at-all-childishly named BAWSAQ and LCN.
Here on this page we'll be detailing exactly how to make money fast in GTA 5 story mode by using Lester's stock market assassiantion missions in particular, so you can make Trevor, Michael and Franklin's lives (and more importantly your story playthrough) a little easie.
To be clear though, this page doesn't tackle multiplayer - if you're after that, then our dedicated guide to GTA Online money is the place to go.
On this page:
How to make GTA 5 money fast using the Stock Market and Lester Assassination Missions
If you want to make some serious money in GTA 5, one of the best things you can do is master the game's stock markets. Just like the real world markets though, you'll struggle to make money out of these systems until you have a fair bit of money to throw at them. The good news is that you'll accrue a pretty impressive amount of cash just by playing though (and completing) the game's main story, and generally playing it smart.
How Lester Assassination Missions work with the Stock Market in GTA 5
There's one specific method - the stock market assassinations - that garuantees you an enormous amount of money when done properly - in fact, do it right and you're likely to hit the actual hard cap of how much you can own in-game, which is over two billion dollars.
You'll reach a point in GTA 5's story, right after Trevor moves to the city, where Franklin is able to access a series of missions from Lester, all of which are based around the assassination of prominent corporation characters. By happy coincidence, each corporation has a competitive counterpart on the stock market, and the good or bad fortunes of one company is directly reflected in the fortunes of the other.
As you might imagine, this means you can exploit mission circumstances for your own advantage. You'll have no choice but to complete the first of Lester's missions - The Hotel Assassination - in order to progress the rest of the story, but after that you should not complete any others until you've finished the main campaign and saved up a massive wedge of cash (we won't spoil how much it is but... it's a lot).
You should then invest all of this money into the stock market as you work through Lester's missions, one by one, so that you can gain the highest possible rewards from your corporate interference.
You can of course stare at the list of companies on the market and reverse-engineer this for yourself, but we've created a cheat sheet for you below. Before you dive in though, there are a few other things to bear in mind. Here's the methodology step by step.
How to use Stock Market Assassinations to make money in GTA 5:
- Invest all of your money, on all three characters, into the company listed below in the "Investment Before" column, right after you accept the mission from Lester.
- Complete the assassination.
- Wait until the stock reaches its peak price, listed in the "Sell at return of" column below (this percentage return is listed on the "Portfolio" page of the market on the in-game browser). The LCN and BAWSAQ take different amounts of time to reach their peaks.
- LCN - Peaks one in-game 'business day', or 24 in-game hours after the assassination, starting to decline shortly after that.
- BAWSAQ - Peaks immediately after the mission is complete, and starts to decline after around 24 in-game hours.
- LCN - Bounces back to peak around five or six days after the assassination, declining to average shortly after.
- BAWSAQ - Bounces back to peak around two days after the assassination, again declining to avaerage soon after.
A couple of other tips to bear in mind: you can advance time by sleeping, and Trevor sleeps for the longest at 12 hours per nap. To skip straight to the money, simply select Trevor and repeatedly sleep, checking your Percentage Return in the Portfolio on your phone's browser each time you wake up.
This method also manually saves the game, and we recommend you create a new save slot each time you do it. That way, if you get a bit greedy and miss a stock's peak, you can always reload the previous save 12 hours earlier. Once you've moved on to a new assassination you can obviously save over the saves from the previous one to avoid them stacking up!
Finally, remember to complete the game's main story before beginning the Multi-Target Assassination and those after it! If you don't, you'll miss out on quite literally billions of dollars that there's no other way to make at anywhere near this speed or reliability.
GTA 5 Stock Market and Assassinations list
|Mission||Investment Before||Sell at return of||Investment After||Sell at return of|
|The Hotel Assassination||Betta Pharmaceuticals (BAWSAQ)||50%||Bilkinton Research (LCN)||80-200%|
|The Multi Target Assassination||Debonaire (LCN)||60-90%||Redwood Cigarettes (LCN)||300-400%|
|The Vice Assassination||Fruit Computers (BAWSAQ)||30-60%||Facade (BAWSAQ)||20-40%|
|The Bus Assassination||-||-||Vapid (BAWSAQ)||100%|
|The Construction Assassination||Gold Coast (LCN)||80%||-||-|
When you've finished working your way through all of Lester's missions, and grabbed all of that lovely lolly, you should have a fortune to either invest back into the stock market (for some reason), or use to snap up every vehicle, business and building available in the game world.
A word of caution if you choose the former approach. If you decide to pour your ill-gotten gains back into the stock market, understand that there are no further guarantees when it comes to the return on your investments. If you decide to put your money into bricks and mortar instead you'll make less cash overall, but your money's much safer. We can still help you do a little better than this, however.
GTA 5 money: LCN stock market explained
The LCN stock market exists only in the single-player component of GTA 5, and we've got a few useful tips that will help you both minimise your risks, and get more back from your investments. It won't surprise you to learn that buying low and selling high lies at the core of your money-making strategy here, but there are certain things you should keep in mind about how exactly shares behave in the game.
First things first, make sure you have a decent amount of time to commit to each round of investment. Shares take approximately 45 seconds to update, and available gains are often only available within a very narrow window of opportunity. It's true enough that shares that tank disastrously will recover in time, but you won't be able to make use of your capital while it's tied up in poorly performing stocks.
Something else to keep in mind is that each LCN corporation on the market has a direct competitor. As one company suffers, the other gains, and vice versa. Here's a quick cheat-sheet that will help you keep track of who's fighting who within the game's economy.
LCN corporate rivals
|Cool Beans||Bean Machine|
|Slaughter, Slaughter & Slaughter||Bullhead|
How then to make the most of this system? It depends first of all on how averse you are to risk, as well as the unique market fluctuations within your own game. To help you manage this delicate balance of risk and reward, it's essential that you learn to carefully study the performance graphs provided for each stock.
If a stock's performance has historically followed a gentle curve with a clear pattern associated with it, you can buy low, exercise whatever patience is required to turn a profit, and then get out when you feel confident the peak price has been reached. You won't get huge returns from using this strategy, but you should be able to make a tidy sum of money if you can identify several such stocks and play them simultaneously. Just be careful not to get too greedy, as even the most stable stocks can suffer a drastic drop from time to time.
It's easy to capitalise on Lester's stock market shenanigans, but you're always at risk of losing the money you invest in this much less predictable sandbox market. Always try to keep a broad portfolio of stocks in play to both maximise your profits and minimise your risks, and don't leave it too long to get out of a market. Keep enough of your money churning in the system, however, and you should find it easy to make far more than you lose from less fortunate investments.
GTA 5 money: BAWSAQ stock market explained
It's one thing to play the LCN stock market, where the prices are determined entirely by the circumstances of your own offline game, but it's quite another to speculate within the online, universal BAWSAQ market. The actions and investments of every other player connected to the Rockstar Games Social Club affect this second stock market, so it's essential to stay on your toes.
Here's a very specific example that was outlined by Rockstar just before the game launched. When the game first came out, it made a lot of sense to put your money into Ammu-Nation as soon as possible. Everyone getting stuck into the campaign at launch was collectively buying a massive amount of ammunition, driving the corporation's stock up as a result. The actions of the entire playerbase had a profound impact on the stock's performance.
It's because of this wide-ranging meta game that it's possible to achieve much a bigger return on your investment than if you only played with the offline markets - the risks, of course, are much greater. You should be able to get a return on your canny investments that's at least three times higher than those achieved on the LCN market, but the window of opportunity to capitalise on your money can be much smaller, and the risks of total collapse are much higher.
If you're going to get involved with the BAQSAQ market, it's essential that you monitor community activity closely, and make use of the latest price information available via the Rockstar Games Social Club site. The price values on the web service are updated just a little faster than they are in-game. It's not enough to ensure you crush the competition, but every little advantage helps in this ruthless financial world. For simpler fixes though, you can always refer to our main list of GTA 5 cheats.