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Published: Dec 22, 2021 5 min read
Stock market graph with sketch illustrations of different investments
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Investing was all the rage this year, and the internet certainly had its favorite favorite stocks and cryptos to trade.

Meme stocks like GameStop and AMC took over social media feeds. Investors couldn't stop talking about cult favorite stocks like Tesla, while also looking for new companies to obsess over, as the market more than doubled since its March 2020 low. Meanwhile, Bitcoin and Ethereum kept hitting record highs, and meme coins like Dogecoin and Shiba Inu coin skyrocketed thanks to online hype.

The rise of online trading apps like Robinhood and Coinbase made buying and selling assets as easy as clicking a few buttons. This all came with the backdrop of a pandemic that kept us from many of our favorite hobbies for much of the year. Even high school and college students were getting in on the action.

Of course, just because an investment is trendy doesn't mean it's a good investment. Cryptocurrency, for example is extremely volatile: Bitcoin hit a high just below $65,000 per coin in mid-April before nosediving more than 50% by July. And investing in individual stocks is risky, since buying shares in one company equates to putting all your eggs in one basket, while mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) spread the risk across baskets of securities.

So while it's tempting to jump on the latest investing fads to avoid FOMO, remember that the best way to build wealth through investing is with a long-term view that takes your age, goals and risk tolerance into account.

10 popular investments for 2021

Here are 10 popular investments, and how they've fared since the beginning of the year.

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AMC: Up 1,329%

AMC, like GameStop, was a popular meme stock this year, meaning it's one of the familiar-yet-struggling companies that everyday investors poured money into. The stock started the year just around $2 per share, but has jumped 1,329% to around $30 since then.

Apple: Up 31%

Apple is consistently one of the most-held stocks for Robinhood customers, Money has previously reported. The stock jumped about 31% this year to around $174 per share.

Bitcoin: Up 69%

The original and most popular cryptocurrency had quite the year, starting around $29,000 and now at nearly $49,000, around a 69% increase.

Dogecoin: Up 3,627%

Dogecoin surged this year, even increasing more than 400% in one just week in April. The meme coin started the year at less than a penny and now sits at $0.17, for an increase of more than 3,600%.

Ether: Up 445%

Ether — Bitcoin's main rival which is underpinned by the Ethereum blockchain — has gained significant popularity this year as more investors get into the crypto market. The coin jumped about 445% this year, and now sits near $4,000 per coin.

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GameStop: Up 739%

Earlier this year, an army of everyday traders made headlines for pumping up GameStop’s stock price. Since the surge in January, excitement around the stock has been rather quiet, though it is still up more than 700% for the year.

Gold: Down 6%

Gold is a popular investment as it's considered considered a “safe haven asset” because when prices for other investments, like stocks or real estate, drop sharply, gold generally doesn’t lose its value. It's also considered a way to protect your savings from inflation. Yet year-to-date, the popular SPDR Gold Shares ETF is down about 6%.

Shiba Inu Coin: Up 48,000,000%

This meme coin, which like Dogecoin features the face of a cute pup, surged towards the end of the year. Shiba Inu coin started the year far below one cent, soared in October, and has seen a whopping 48 million percent increase year-to-date (while still sitting well below a penny).

S&P 500 Index: Up 26%

Buying an S&P 500 index fund is a popular way to get exposure to some of the largest 500 U.S. companies. This year, the S&P 500 is up an impressive 26%.

Tesla: Up 33%

Tesla has long been a favorite of among investors in online communities like the subreddit r/wallstreetbets. This year, the stock started the year around $730 per share and is now costs closer to $1,000 — a more than 30% increase.

More from Money:

How to Buy Stocks

The New Face of Cult Stocks: 5 Companies Investors Are Swooning Over Right Now

Investing Has a Whole New Language — Here's Your Cheat Sheet