How I almost got on Jim Cramer’s Mad Money

Last December, I was sitting in a hotel room in San Antonio flipping through channels on the TV when I ran across this guy shouting, throwing chairs, and banging on an array of sound effects buttons. That in itself isn’t all that peculiar in the age of Jerry Springer. What was is that he was talking about the stock market. “Ok. You’ve got my attention,” I said to myself. I watched more intently to find myself smack dab in the middle of what he was calling “The Lightning Round” where he was taking phone calls in which the caller would generally start by shouting some variation of “BOOYAH!” and then providing this stock market psychopath the name of a stock, at which point he would give the caller a ten to thirty second dissertation on the company and tell them whether to buy or sell it, all while slamming the appropriate sound effects buttons, like a bull sound when talking about GOOGle.

This was my introduction to Jim Cramer’s Mad Money on CNBC, a TV station I generally assumed was as boring as C-SPAN. Au contraire! This guy’s got some fire! He’s excited about stocks! I was intrigued. I watched the show off and on for awhile, learning more about Cramer’s philosophy and rules. Hearing him talk about how he started in the market with almost nothing and became a self-made multi-millionaire. He talked about how he managed one of the best-performing hedge funds in the country until he got tired of making money for rich people and decided to help out the average guy that fell into the traps that most uneducated investors do, like “buy and hold.”

One day in January it really hit me – I was that guy. I was the buy and hold, assume the stock will go up guy. I was the guy that had been slowly losing money in my stock portfolio for almost six years. At that point I figured, my strategy hasn’t been working for all this time. Why not listen to Cramer?

So I started rebalancing my portfolio. I sold off my CiSCO. I got out of my S&P index fund SPYders. I started acquiring a more diversified portfolio with a growing, dividend paying CATerpillar, an Indian GPS chip manufacturer called SIRF Technology, and an on fire Canadian gold miner Goldcorp (GG). All of a sudden my portfolio was actually moving up instead of down. Now I was hooked. I was watching the TV show every day and listening to the podcast at work. I was moving money out of my 1.5% interest savings account into my brokerage account and filling up my portfolio. I was doing pretty good. I sent a few emails to Cramer when I had questions, as he always encouraged, but never got a response. I didn’t really think much about it, since I figured he must get thousands of emails a day.

Then Thursday, I found this in my email:


Thank you for contacting MAD MONEY w/ Jim Cramer! I received an email from you not too long ago and I am contacting you because we will be discussing a related topic on today’s show. Are you available to call and talk to Jim at 4pm Eastern time today? It would take about 10 minutes. I’d love to hear from you. If you would be available, just fill out the information requested below, and call me ASAP to discuss your question toll free at 866 — —-. You can also email me with your phone number and I will call you directly. Thanks again and I hope to hear from you.

Are you a financial professional (e.g. investment banker, analyst)? (YES/NO)

Benjamin S. Rippey
CNBC Global Headquarters
900 Sylvan Ave.
Englewood Cliffs, NJ 07632

The email in question here was this one:


A big Buffalo Booyah to ya!

Help me out! The King of Beers has me in a Castle of Pain. I bought BUD in my time B.C. (that’s Before Cramer) over $50. The whole beer market is looking bad with both Budweiser and Molson Coors reporting earnings down again for Q4. What’s your outlook on BUD? Should I stock up, or find another spirit to drown my sorrows?
Derek J. Punaro
Buffalo, NY

Only one glitch… I sent the email on February 9th and this email came in May 25th. That in itself wouldn’t have been a problem, but after not getting a response within a week or so, I sold my BUD.

Not being the kind of person that feels they need their 30 seconds of TV fame at any cost, I wrote back to Ben and informed him that my original email no longer applied and if he wanted me to rephrase my question I would. No response back, though, and that was fine with me. I caught the recap on the internet that night:

Cramer said that Anheuser Busch was too expensive, trading at 18 times future earnings based on growth of only 8%. And the company’s purchase of Rolling Rock was “too little, too late.”

Yep. I made the right decision to get out of that one. In fact, I’ve been making much better decisions about stocks since I started following Jim Cramer. Jim says, “Bulls make money, bears make money, and hogs get slaughtered” which is what convinced me to sell a quarter of my position in GG which was up over 50% from where I bought it, before it promptly gave back about 30% in the market correction of the previous two weeks.

So thanks, Jim. Thanks for the daily stock advice, but more importantly the new way of thinking about the market. I’ve been able to undo years worth of damage in just a few months. There will always be doubters and dissonants, but count me as one of the people who follow his advice and are in the + column. I’m proud to be a Cramerican.

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