Game-breaking money in GTA 5’s Story Mode
Welcome to the ultimate guide to investing in GTA 5’s stock market. This guide covers a lot of ground, so if you’re only interested in the stock trades, feel free to skip ahead to the timestamp on the screen. However, if you want to get the most out of this guide, we’ve broken it down into sections, including using the in-game stock exchange, time skipping, maximizing returns, raising seed capital, avoiding accidental triggers, and more.
Before we dive in, it’s important to note that this guide is not intended for first-time players. We recommend working through the story mode in its entirety and enjoying it before coming back to this guide for your second playthrough.
Assuming you’re playing on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox X or S, or a legitimate copy of GTA 5 for PC, and your Rockstar Social Club is linked to your game, you have access to the secondary BAWSAQ exchange. If you’re using an older console, running an unregistered PC version, or playing offline, check out our Offline Investors guide linked in the description below.
If you have completed Lester’s Assassination missions using Franklin yet, you can still make great money with this guide. If you haven’t done the Lester / Franklin Payphone hits, however… you’re in the right place.
Changes from previous guides
- Removed estimated percentage gains:
Due to the differences in gains across various console generations and PC versions and the apparent nerfing of some trades by R*, the guide no longer provides estimated percentage gains.
- Removed the briefcase fun raising section:
The underwater briefcase exploit on PC and previous generation consoles has been removed by R*, which means the guide no longer covers this mechanic.
- Clarified the order of proceedings:
The language used in previous iterations of the guide has been refined to make the order of proceedings clearer.
- Refined some trades:
Based on feedback, research, and comments from the community, the guide has been able to improve the returns on some trades by tweaking the timing.
- Added an extra trade:
The FlyUs trade was missed on previous iterations, so it has been added to this version of the guide.
- Added a too much money workaround:
When you hit the game’s cash cap, which is just above $2.1 billion per character, it becomes more challenging to pull money out of the stock exchange. The guide provides instructions on how to deal with this issue.
Using the in-game Stock Exchange
To buy stock, open your in-game phone and head to the internet icon. From there, click on the Money and Services Tab and select either the LCN or BAWSAQ exchange. On the LCN, you’ll see a list of available stocks with their current price, price movement, and average change. On the BAWSAQ, you’ll need to link your Rockstar Social Club account with your game first to access the exchange.
Once you’re on the exchange, click on the stock you want to purchase and click the green Buy button. Hold down the green plus button until you have the desired amount of stock, then click the Buy button again. You’ll then see a readout of the purchase with the current price and potential profit or loss.
To sell stock, bring up your phone, head to the internet icon, and click on the Money and Services Tab. From there, click on My Portfolio and select the stock you want to sell. If you’re happy with the current pricing, click Sell All.
It’s important to keep an eye on the price movement and average change of the stocks you’re interested in, as they will determine whether you make or lose money on any given trade. Pay attention to major market movers such as heists, CEO deaths, and news from rival companies.
Time Skipping & Save Scumming
Time skipping is the practice of advancing game time without actually having to spend hours in-game. This is done by saving the game and then going to bed with any character. Michael sleeps for 6 hours, Franklin for 8, and Trevor for 12. By sending each character to bed multiple times, we can advance time without actually having to play the game during that time.
Secondly, save scumming is the practice of saving the game before making a trade, and then reloading that save if the trade doesn’t go as planned. This is useful in the stock market, where timing can be crucial. By checking the price of a stock before sending a character to bed and then advancing time one day at a time, we can find the optimal sell price for that stock.
For example, let’s say we’re looking at a random stock with an all-time high of 13.6% profit. We save the game and advance time one day. We check the stock again and see that it’s gone down, so we advance time one more day. This time, we see a new all-time high of around 14.9% profit, so we do a proper save.
We advance time one more day and see a slight dip in the stock price. We decide to go back to the last save and sell at the 14.9% mark since it’s likely the best return we can get. To do this, we open the pause menu, go to game, and load the save slot we just used. Once the game loads, we can open the stock market and sell out at the optimal price.
While this technique is not the way the game is meant to be played, it allows us to manipulate the stock market and maximize returns on our investments.
Too much money!?!
Having too much money in Grand Theft Auto V can be both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, you have the freedom to buy whatever you want without worrying about the price tag. On the other hand, if you exceed the maximum cash capacity of $2,147,483,647, you won’t be able to cash in all of your stock at once during the last mission or two of the game.
But don’t fret, because there’s a solution to this problem. You can simply spend some of your money on buying businesses, properties, vehicles, weapons, or anything else that catches your eye. Once you’ve spent enough to bring your cash balance below the maximum limit, you can withdraw more money by selling more shares in your portfolio.
To do this, you’ll need to access the stock exchange on your phone and navigate to “My Portfolio.” Instead of hitting the “Sell All” button, click on the share itself and increase the number of shares you want to sell until you’re satisfied. Then, hit the “Sell” button to cash in your shares and reduce your cash balance.
With this trick, you can enjoy all the benefits of having a massive amount of money in GTA V without worrying about hitting the maximum cash capacity limit. So go ahead and splurge on all the virtual luxuries you’ve ever wanted, knowing that you can always sell some shares later to replenish your cash.
Raising seed capital
Before you can start raising seed capital in GTA V, you need to complete two missions: Hood Safari and the Merryweather Heist. Hood Safari is a mission where Trevor meets Aunt Denise and gives her $7.00. It’s also where you visit CJ’s old place. The Merryweather Heist is a mission where Trevor accidentally steals an experimental weapon.
Making money for Michael
Start the Epsilon Institute Questline with Michael
Once you have completed Hood Safari and the Merryweather Heist, it’s time to start raising seed capital. First, switch to Michael and open your phone. Search for “Epsilon” and click on the Epsilon program website. Start the survey to begin the Epsilon Institute questline.
Complete the Epsilon Institute Questline
The Epsilon Institute questline will lead Michael on quite a journey, but it’s worth it for the seed capital you’ll receive at the end. Follow the questline until you reach the final mission, Unknowing the Truth.
Steal the Money from Fromage
In the Unknowing the Truth mission, Fromage will give you $2.1 million in seed money. However, you’ll need to steal it from him in order to properly start your journey. Once you’ve stolen the money, you’ll have the seed capital you need to start making bigger moves in the game.
Making money for Franklin
Trigger the Bike Theft Random Event
To start, you’ll need to trigger the Bike Theft random event in GTA V. To do this, head to the part of the map specified in the video and wait for the event to trigger. Once it does, complete it with Franklin.
Sell the Stock
After you’ve returned the bike, continue playing the game as normal for a few missions or sleep a bit. Within the next in-game week, Franklin will receive an email from the bike’s owner. Read the email and then head to the stock market. Select “My Portfolio” and sell the stock to net Franklin an additional $100,000 or so.
Purchase the Sonar Collections Dock
With the money from the Jewellery Store Job and the shares from the Mountain Bike, Franklin should now have enough money to purchase the Sonar Collections Dock on the western side of the map. If he doesn’t have enough cash for this, check Trevor’s account to see if he can afford it. If not, Michael will do. But if you can do this with Franklin, that’s your preferred option.
Collect the Nuclear Waste
Once you’ve purchased the Sonar Collections Dock, jump in the submarine and collect the 30 lots of Nuclear Waste. This should net you an additional $690,000 and a refund on the purchase price.
And that’s it! By triggering the Bike Theft random event, selling the stock, purchasing the Sonar Collections Dock, and collecting the Nuclear Waste, Franklin should have raised a significant amount of seed capital to use in GTA V.
Money for Trevor
Now it’s time for the final round of funding for Trevor, which can be acquired by completing the Altruist challenge. The challenge requires you to drop off four characters to the Altruist camp, where they will likely become the main ingredient in a cannibalistic soup. You can choose the characters you want to drop off, and it’s recommended to select the most morally dubious ones. If you need help completing the Altruist challenge, there are many guides available in the description below.
It’s important to note that you shouldn’t be concerned about any of the other businesses, as most of them lose money. The McKenzie Field Hangar, for example, will take about four hours of grinding just to break even, let alone turn a profit. Stick to the methods outlined in this guide for the best chance at success.
With all of these early preparation steps completed, Michael should have just under $3,000,000, Franklin should be at around $1,000,000, and Trevor should have approximately $330,000. These funds will provide a solid foundation for the next phase of the plan, which involves investing in the stock market to maximize profits.
On to the actual investments
Betta, Bilkington (The Hotel Assassination)
To start this investment, switch to Michael and invest all his money into Betta (BET) on the BAWSAQ exchange. Do the same with Trevor and Franklin. Once all three characters have invested in Betta, head to the L on the map to trigger the first Lester Assassination mission.
After completing the mission, head back to a safe house and use the sleep trick to advance time a couple of times. This should cause the price of Betta to jump. Sell your Betta stocks on all three characters to make a profit.
Then, fast forward about one and a half days and invest in Bilkington (BIL) while playing as Trevor. Wait for around six more days, and the stock price of Bilkington should decrease significantly. This is your chance to sell your Bilkington stocks for a good profit.
It may take some time to see significant gains from this investment, but it can be worth it in the long run. Keep an eye on the stock market and repeat the process for other profitable stocks.
Vangelico (Minor Turbulence / Paleto Score)
- After Franklin and Trevor complete Eye in the Sky mission, take each character to Ammu-nation and stock up on ammo and weapons.
- Open the stock market on each character’s phone and buy Vangelico (VAG) stocks.
- Continue playing the main questline until you complete the Paleto Score heist.
- Once the heist is done, sell your Vangelico stocks to earn a profit.
It’s important to note that you need to complete a few missions in between buying and selling Vangelico stocks. Specifically, you need to complete the Minor Turbulence mission before the Paleto Score heist. Make sure you have enough ammunition and explosives for these missions, as they can be quite challenging.
Gruppe Sechs (Surveying the Score, Fresh Meat)
This investment opportunity requires some planning, but it’s still worth the effort. First, complete the Surveying the Score mission where we scope out the Union Depository. Afterward, take each character to Ammu-nation to stock up on ammo and weapons. We won’t have any money for a while, so it’s important to make sure we have everything we need for the next few missions.
Next, buy Gruppe Sechs (GRU) on the stock market with each character. The security company has been a bit down since our last heist, but it’s due to make a recovery soon. After purchasing the stock, continue with the storyline until you complete the Fresh Meat mission, where Franklin rescues Michael from Cheng.
Once the mission is complete, wait for 12 to 36 in-game hours, and the price of Gruppe Sechs (GRU) should have increased enough to make a modest profit. Sell the stock on all three characters to make the most of the investment opportunity.
FlyUs (Legal Trouble, Meltdown)
This investment opportunity requires some patience and timing. After completing the Legal Trouble mission, head to Ammunation to stock up on weapons and ammunition with all three characters. Then, keep an eye on the stock market for the airline company FlyUs (FUS) over the next 24 in-game hours. The stock will tank by around 50%, so be prepared to act fast.
As soon as you see the dip, invest all your money into FlyUs with all three characters. Then, continue with the storyline until the end of the Meltdown mission, which is the movie premiere where Michael has to save his family from Merryweather goons.
By the time Michael rescues his family, the airline’s stock should have recovered, and you can sell out for a substantial profit. Be sure to keep an eye on the stock market and act fast to maximize your gains.
Auguary Insurance (The Big Score, Finale)
After completing The Big Score, wait for a few days without going near Franklin’s front door. During this time, monitor Augury Insurance’s (AUG) stock price to ensure it is stable or has dropped. Once you are confident the stock price is stable, invest all of your money in Augury Insurance.
Next, trigger the Finale by going to Franklin’s front door and choosing any option, though Option C is the canonical ending. After completing the ending, Lester will call and deposit the funds from The Big Score into each character’s account. Immediately invest all of this money into Augury Insurance, which should already be making a modest recovery.
Wait for 2 to 3 in-game days, then sell all of your stocks in Augury Insurance for a solid profit.
The first step is to invest everything you have for all three characters into Tinkle (TNK) on the BAWSAQ exchange. Although we recommend doing this with caution, it’s important to remember that investing in the stock market always comes with a certain level of risk.
Once you’ve made your investment, it’s time to trigger a random encounter near the beach. To do this, grab a fast car and head to the pedestrian overpass near the beach. Once you’ve triggered the encounter, you’ll need to drop off your new friend at the airport.
After you’ve dropped off your new friend, it’s time to head back to your house and advance time by around 24 hours by sleeping a few times. This will allow the stock price for Tinkle to rise, giving you the opportunity to sell for a profit.
When you’re ready to sell, head back to the BAWSAQ exchange and sell your Tinkle stock for around a 30% gain.
Now that you have invested in Tinkle and advanced time to potentially increase your profit, it’s time to gear up Franklin for the next stage. Before you proceed, make sure to have completed most of the activities and missions on the map, with the exception of unmarked Easter eggs and a green L.
The first step is to equip Franklin with the necessary weapons and ammunition. Make sure he has a Sniper Rifle with enough ammo and a Suppressor, Heavy Automatic Ammo, and RPG Ammo. These weapons will come in handy for the next part of the game.
It’s also a good idea to stock up on any other weapons or equipment that you think might be useful. This includes body armor, grenades, and other ammunition types. Having a well-stocked inventory can be the difference between success and failure in the game.
Once you have your weapons and equipment ready, it’s time to focus on the green L on the map. This refers to a specific mission that you need to complete before you can move forward. Make sure to complete this mission and any other remaining missions or activities on the map.
With Franklin geared up and ready to go, you can now focus on making the real gains in the game. Keep an eye on the BAWSAQ exchange and be prepared to adjust your investment strategy as needed to maximize your profit potential.
The Multi-Target Assassination
The Multi-Target Assassination is the second mission given to you by Lester. Before you begin the mission, make sure to invest all three characters’ funds into Debonaire (DEB). You can do this by accessing the in-game stock market and purchasing shares of Debonaire for each character. Once you have invested, begin the mission.
After completing the mission, wait for 18 to 24 in-game hours before selling the Debonaire shares. This is because the stock price of Debonaire will increase significantly after the mission, and waiting for a short period of time will ensure that you sell at the highest possible price.
Once you have sold the Debonaire shares, it’s time to move on to the next step. Wait for Redwood (RWC) to decrease in value, which usually takes around 24 to 36 in-game hours. Once the stock has reached its lowest point, wait another 3 to 4 in-game days before selling the Debonaire shares.
By following this strategy, you can potentially double or even triple your investment. It’s important to note that this strategy has been proven to work on every platform, making it a reliable way to increase your in-game wealth.
The Vice Assassination
The Vice Assassination is the third mission given to you by Lester. Before you begin the mission, start by investing in Fruit (FRT) on the in-game stock market. You can purchase shares of Fruit for all three characters to maximize your profit potential.
Once the mission is complete, sell your Fruit shares for a modest profit. This is usually around the 20% mark, but it may vary depending on how the stock price fluctuates. With any luck, you’ll be able to make a decent profit from this investment.
After selling your Fruit shares, immediately purchase Façade (FAC) on the in-game stock market. This stock will dip in value shortly after you purchase it, so it’s important to act quickly.
Wait for 3 to 4 in-game days, and then sell your Façade shares. This should be enough time for the stock price to rebound and increase in value, allowing you to make a profit on your investment.
The Bus Assassination
The Bus Assassination is the fourth mission given to you by Lester. This time around, you don’t need to make any pre-mission investments. Simply complete the mission as normal.
Once you’ve taken down the target, the stock price for Vapid (VAP) will dip in fairly short order. This is your cue to purchase Vapid shares for all three characters on the in-game stock market.
After purchasing the shares, wait for around 3 to 4 in-game days for the stock price to recover. This may take longer depending on the fluctuations in the stock market, so be patient and keep an eye on the stock price.
Once the stock price for Vapid has recovered, sell your shares to make a profit. This should be a relatively straightforward investment with a decent profit potential.
The Construction Assassination
The Construction Assassination is the last major trade in the game and involves purchasing Gold Coast Development (GCD) before starting the mission.
After purchasing the stock, complete the mission as normal and take down the Construction Mob Boss. Once the mission is completed, wait for 1 to 2 in-game days for the stock price to rise.
Once the stock price for GCD has risen, sell your shares to make a profit. Be sure to keep a close eye on the stock market to determine the optimal time to sell your shares for the maximum profit potential.
This investment can offer a tidy profit if executed correctly. By following this strategy, you can potentially increase your in-game wealth and progress through the game with more ease.