Cramer's 'Mad Money' Recap: Life Lessons
So he went a little autobiographical to tell viewers how he came to make the markets his life and where he learned his most valuable lessons about money and investing.
Cramer said that unlike most people who became interested in the stock market, his love of stocks didn't start in college or even in high school. He said it was fourth grade when he first noticed how his father's mood would change based on whether his stocks were going up or down that day. That piqued his interest, he said. That started an investment education from Dad that has stuck with him ever since.
Cramer recalled how his father brought home the 1964 board game "Stocks & Bonds," manufactured by, of all companies, 3M (MMM) , which drew him into the markets even further. It turned out stocks are a lot like his obsession with baseball since you're always on the lookout for which players are hot and which ones are not.
What's the lesson from Cramer's elementary school days? Get your kids involved with money early in life and they may just play for life, which is a good thing since the stock market is a long-term game.
It Pays to Save
Cramer's next life lesson stemmed from his high school and college days and the first jobs that followed. He said the lesson is to always be saving, no matter how hard things are at the time.
It was selling ice cream at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia that taught Cramer his first lessons in business, he said, including how much money there was to be made by obtaining exclusive rights to sell something cold on hot afternoons in the upper decks. But it was Cramer's father who again helped him open an account at Fidelity to invest in mutual funds. Cramer said he put money away every week.
That dedication to investing carried on after college, Cramer noted, even when his first job as a reporter was only paying him $156 a month. As he graduated into more lucrative jobs, ones that paid $179 a week, he continued the savings.
But Cramer's most challenging point was while in San Diego, after his apartment was robbed and he lost everything. He spent six months living out of his car while he rebuilt his life, but continued to put money away -- enough so that 35 years later, those mutual funds total well into the six figures.
Cramer's next life lesson: Start small and do your homework. He recounted how he started his career as a stock picker in 1979, making his first trade in an orange grower in Florida. He bought 10 shares for a total of $9, he recalled. A week later, an early frost wiped out the orange crop and he lost 50% of his investment.