Jim Cramer's Real Money Sane Investing in an Insane World

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2009-01-06
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster

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How do we find hot stocks without getting burned? How do we fatten our portfolios and stay financially healthy? Former hedge-fund manager and longtime Wall Street commentator Jim Cramer explains how to invest wisely in chaotic times, and he does so in plain English in a style that is as much fun as investing is -- or should be, when it's done right.For starters, Cramer recommends devoting a portion of your assets to speculation. Everyone wants to find the big winners that can bring outsized gains, and Cramer explains how to allocate your portfolio so that you can afford to take this kind of risk wisely. He explains why "buy and hold" is a losing philosophy: For Cramer, it's "buy and homework." If you can't spend an hour a week researching each of your stocks, then you should hand off your portfolio to a mutual fund -- and Cramer identifies the very few mutual funds that he'd recommend.Cramer reveals his Ten Commandments of Trading (Commandment #5: Tips are for waiters). He explains why he's not afraid to compare investing to gambling (and tells you which book on gambling you should read to become a better investor). He discloses his Twenty-Five Rules of Investing (Rule #4: Look for broken stocks, not broken companies).Cramer shows how to compare stock prices in a way that you can understand, how to spot market tops and bottoms, how to know when to sell, how to rotate among cyclical stocks to catch the big moves, and much more.Jim Cramer's Real Moneyis filled with insider advice that really works, information that Cramer himself used to make millions during his fourteen-year career on Wall Street.Written in Cramer's distinctive turbocharged style, this is every investor's guide to what you really must know to make big money in the stock market.

Author Biography

James J. Cramer is the king of financial media: he is currently the host of CNBC’s Mad Money with Jim Cramer. At New York magazine he writes the “Bottom Line” column. He is markets commentator for CNBC and for the website he co- founded, TheStreet.com.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Art of Investing
Staying in the Game
Getting Started the Right Way
How Stocks Are Meant to Be Traded
Some Investing Basics
Spotting Stock Moves Before They Happen
Stock-Picking Rules to Live By
Creating Your Discretionary Portfolio
Spotting Bottoms in Stocks
Spotting Tops
Advanced Strategies for Speculators
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.


Chapter One: Staying in the GameIf you look through my wallet, you will find all the things that everyone carries: license, credit cards, pictures of my wife and kids, and some cash. But if you look deeper, in some of the crannies, you'll find two things no one else has: my first pay stub, a tattered, faded beauty from theTallahassee Democratnewspaper from September 1977, and a snippet of a portfolio run from the lowest day of my life, October 8, 1998.I keep these talismans with me wherever I go, because they remind me why I got into stocks and why I had to stay in stocks no matter what, because the opportunities are too great not to be in them. The $178.82 I made that first week as a general assignment reporter in Tallahassee serves as a reminder to me that a paycheck is almost never enough to make a decent living onandto save up for the necessities of later life. That torn and bedraggled stub, with its $30 in overtime and oversized take by the federal government, keeps me honest and reminds me where I am from, how I never want to go back there, and how hard work at your job isn't enough to make you rich. You have to invest to make that happen. If you invest well you should almost always be beating the return you get on your day job.The other smudged rectangle of paper in my wallet, the one that obscures the right-hand corner of my wife's picture, bears a series of cryptic numbers: 190,259,865; 281,175,544; and 90,915,674. The last number has a big black minus sign right after it. That's a cutout from my daily portfolio run on the most disastrous day my hedge fund ever had, October 8, 1998, a day when I was down $90,915,674 -- that's right, more than $90 million on the $281 million that I was supposed to be managing. I had "lost" almost half the money under my management in a series of bets in the stock market that hadn't yet paid off, to put a positive spin on an unmitigated decline. At that moment, everyone -- my investors, my employees, the press, the public -- everyone had written me off, except for my wife, whom I had worked with for so many years and who knew never to count me out. "You've had it, Cramer, you are gone," the collective brokerage chorus told me.Not two months before I had been on the cover of Money magazine as the greatest trader of the era. Now I was wondering whether I could survive the year. With just two months left, I had to find a way at least to make back that $90 million if I wanted to stay in a business that I had thought I was born for. Most hedge funds don't come back from those kinds of titanic losses.Using the very same techniques and tactics I will describe here, I methodically made back all of the money I had lost to date that year, and by December I had returned to a slim profit for the year. I finished up 2 percent, a $110 million comeback in less than three months. I averaged $1.4 million in profits every single day. Yet I still waived my management fee of $2 million because I didn't think I deserved a penny given how I had almost broken the bank. I still don't think I deserve to get paid for a comeback, because I dug my own hole by not following my disciplines and my rules, by succumbing to a lack of diversification and to inflexibility, those two assassins of capital.That snapshot of how close I came to failure reminds me how important it is to stay investing and trading stocks no matter what because they are just too lucrative to stay away from for any long period of time. It also serves to remind me of how humbling this business is and how important it is to adjust course, for I had been sloppy and blind to a changing market during that catastrophic year. Had I not been flexible and willing to change strategies, I would never have come back.In the very next year after my near-cataclysmic debacle, I made more than $100 million. The following year I made $150 million, again using the same rules and techniques I will descr

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