No matter what happens over the short term, the stock market creating wealth over the long term is a constant. Every single crash or correction in history has eventually been erased by a bull-market rally.

Furthermore, the benchmark S&P 500 has averaged an annual total return of 11%, including dividends, since 1980. Keep in mind that this 11% figure includes Black Monday in 1987, the dot-com bubble bursting, the Great Recession, and the coronavirus crash.

Best of all, it doesn't take a mountain of money to begin building wealth on Wall Street. Investors who have $50 to spare, which won't be needed to pay bills or cover emergencies, have more than enough to begin or further their trek toward financial freedom. If you have $50 that's ready to be put to work in the market, here are some of the smartest stocks you can buy right now.

An up-close view of a fifty dollar bill.

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The first stock worthy of a $50 investment right now is esports and gaming company Skillz (SKLZ -1.63%). Please note that Skillz has been exceptionally volatile since its December debut, so the idea would be to hold for a long period of time to cancel out this short-term white noise.

It's no secret that the gaming industry is highly competitive. Instead of trying to go up against the most innovative developers and distributors, Skillz went the route of building a platform for gamers to compete against each other for cash prizes. In turn, the company keeps a percentage of the cash for itself and gaming developers. Since maintaining a gaming platform and building industry rapport costs far less than the research and worker hours that go into developing a mobile game, Skillz should offer some ridiculously robust margins.

Another substantial catalyst in the company's sails is its multiyear agreement signed with the National Football League (NFL) three months ago. Football is the unquestioned most popular sport in the United States. This deal will allow developers to create NFL-themed games that should be ready to debut later this year or early in 2022.

The bottom line is that esports and gaming should be one of the fastest-growing industries this decade. With Skillz offering a unique approach to esports growth, it has an opportunity to quadruple its full-year sales over the next four years.

Multiple rows of hydroponic-grown potted cannabis plants in an indoor farm.

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U.S. marijuana stocks are blazing hot. The thing is, it's not just the direct players (cultivators and retailers) that are going to benefit. Ancillary pot stocks like GrowGeneration (GRWG) are currently ripe for the picking by patient investors.

GrowGen, as the company is also known, is a retail supply chain for indoor and outdoor cultivators of all sizes. It's best known for supplying hydroponic equipment, which involves growing plants in a nutrient-rich water solvent, but also provides lighting solutions, soil, nutrients, and other goods designed to improve crop yield and keep pests at bay. With the U.S. representing a $41.5 billion legal-weed sales opportunity by 2025, according to New Frontier Data, cultivators are willing to spend liberally on equipment to get their piece of the cannabis pie.

As of late April, GrowGen had 53 operating stores in a dozen U.S. states and had just announced its intention to push into its 13th state, Mississippi. This is a company that hasn't been afraid to lean on acquisitions to move into new markets. Since 2014, it's made well over a dozen purchases, in addition to its organic buildout. 

Following another year of triple-digit sales growth in 2020, GrowGeneration forecast $415 million to $430 million in full-year sales in 2021. That's a roughly 120% increase, per Wall Street's consensus, and a continuation of its multiyear triple-digit sales growth.

Currently on track to top 100 stores nationwide by 2023, GrowGen has the look of a top-notch ancillary marijuana stock. 

A lab technician using a pipette device to place liquid samples on a tray under a high-powered microscope.

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A third company you can buy with $50 that'll make you look like a genius is cancer-drug developer Exelixis (EXEL 0.13%). The vast majority of biotech stocks aren't profitable, but this isn't a concern investors will have with this company.

For the most part, the growth story here revolves around lead drug Cabometyx, which is currently approved as a treatment for first- and second-line advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC) and advanced hepatocellular carcinoma. Combined, these two indications should bring in north of $1 billion in annual sales by 2021 or 2022. For context, the Cabometyx franchise, which includes sales of medullary thyroid cancer drug Cometriq, totaled almost $742 million in 2020. 

What's really impressive about Cabometyx is the label-expansion opportunity. Exelixis is currently studying its lead drug in around six dozen clinical trials as both a monotherapy and combination treatment.

In January, Exelixis and chief rival Bristol Myers Squibb received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for their combination of Cabometyx and cancer immunotherapy Opdivo as a treatment for first-line RCC. This approval allows Exelixis to potentially grab an even larger share of the RCC market. Additional label-expansion opportunities might make Cabometyx a multibillion-dollar drug. 

What's more, Exelixis has become something of a cash cow. The company forecast that it would end 2021 with between $1.6 billion and $1.7 billion in cash and investments, which works out to more than 20% of its current market cap. More importantly, this cash gives the company a green light to seek out acquisitions and reignite its internal research engine.

Suffice it to say, Exelixis is one of the cheapest biotech stocks to buy right now.