What does YOLO mean in stock trading and investing?

By Kirsteen Mackay


YOLO means 'You Only Live Once'. Retail investing has revived this term across social media with renewed vigor.

YOLO means 'You Only Live Once'.

YOLO is an acronym for "you only live once." In reference to finance and investing, the use of the term YOLO spiked in January 2021. That's when meme stock mania took hold, and speculative investors were gambling on all sorts of stocks and cryptocurrencies.

YOLO-ing into Stocks and Crypto

YOLO originally became a popular internet slang term in 2012. It's used when referring to something enjoyable or indulgent that generates a buzz, despite being potentially dangerous or silly. 

One reason YOLO took off at this time was thanks to singer Drake's hit single, "The Motto," where he raps, "you only live once. That's's the motto, YOLO."

Examples of its use in mainstream social media include:

  • watching bestie tattoo a milk cartoon on his leg #yolo

  • 4 hours later for work! #YOLO

  • Just ate so much pie! #YOLO

YOLO - You Only Live Once

Seize the day!

Just as the Latin term 'Carpe Diem' is used to urge someone to make the most of the present moment, with little thought for the future, 'YOLO' suggests similar sentiment.

Other YOLO type terms include:

  • live for the day

  • live for today

  • pluck the day

  • seize the present day

  • take no thought of the morrow

YOLO is ultimately a cry to embrace the moment, live life to its fullest extent and don't worry about any potential risk. 

To YOLO is to recklessly pursue fun while throwing long-term caution to the wind. It allows individuals to permit themselves to make bad decisions out of a sheer desire to be a part of something fun.

YOLO-ing into crypto and stocks

This desire to join in was never more prominent than the rise of the retail stock trader and crypto investor. That's because the draw of making large amounts of money has taken the #YOLO craze to a whole other level. 

Fuelled by fear of missing out (FOMO) and the madness of crowds, stock and crypto buyers have been loading up on investments without taking the time to understand the underlying fundamentals. Thereby "YOLO-ing" themselves across the market. 

YOLO is also the ticker symbol for Dan Ahren's AdvisorShares Pure Cannabis ETF (NYSEARCA: YOLO). Because marijuana is a common vice, possibly not good for you, but often enjoyable, and hey, You Only Live Once!

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This article does not provide any financial advice and is not a recommendation to deal in any securities or product. Investments may fall in value and an investor may lose some or all of their investment. Past performance is not an indicator of future performance.

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