Is Jim Cramer a Positive or a Negative Influence on the Average Investor?

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Yesterday morning, I wrote a fairly controversial article where I described individual stock investing as akin to gambling for the average investor.

CramerThe impetus for that article was Jim Cramer’s appearances on CNN just before the Bear Stearns collapse, shouting loudly that Bear Stearns was in great shape. Check it out if you want to get a taste of Cramer’s demeanor and “advice” that turned out to be almost the complete opposite of reality:

Here’s the scoop in a nutshell for those of you who don’t follow such things. Jim Cramer is probably the most vocal and best known advocate of individual stock investing in the United States. Following a very successful stint as a hedge fund manager, Cramer began hosting what became the top-rated show on CNBC, entitled Mad Money, where he basically acts hyperactive, yelling and running around the set voicing his opinions on various individual stocks.

On March 11, 2008, Cramer loudly said on his show that the large investment bank Bear Stearns was in fine shape and that no one should pull their money out of the stock. Within a week, Bear Stearns was being bought out by J.P. Morgan and the stock value had dropped 90%.

When this all unfolded, my reaction was that this was evidence that individual stock picking was basically gambling. If Cramer didn’t know what was coming due to a lack of information, how would anyone else? Even more so, Cramer was adding bad information to the pool – people strictly taking Cramer’s advice would have completely tanked. As I said yesterday morning, individual stock picking is all about information and knowing how to find the right pieces to look at, and if someone who is supposedly a true authority at stock picking couldn’t see something that huge and devastating coming down the pike, an average individual investor has no chance at all.

After some more thinking, I turned the whole situation around again: what if the problem is Cramer himself?

The Cramer Effect
In stock trading, the “Cramer Effect” (or Cramer Bounce) is the positive bounce that most stocks get as soon as they’re mentioned on Cramer’s television show. Because Cramer has such a large audience, there are a lot of people who simply go out and buy a stock based on his recommendation.

However, when I look at the “Cramer Effect,” I think of it more widely. To me, Cramer’s real important effect is that he has built up a substantial interest among a casual crowd in individual stock investing. His show is exciting, loud, and colorful, and thus has attracted an audience that might have otherwise been watching SportsCenter or something like that. Instead, they’re watching Cramer, learning about individual stock investing, hearing about specific instances of incredible returns, and then getting involved themselves.

Is this a financially healthy thing for those people? I think it depends on what they take out of Cramer’s message. Let’s look at both sides of the coin.

Why The Cramer Effect Is Bad
On Mad Money, Cramer has a segment called the Lightning Round, where viewers call in, name a stock, and Cramer gives a buy, hold, or sell recommendation within a second. He does this by simply drawing a very fast conclusion about the sector that stock is in and whether that stock is the best stock in the sector. It’s not based on any sort of thorough research, yet people buy and sell in the real world based on what he says. That’s pretty scary – because someone on television mentions buying or selling a stock based on one second of off the cuff thought, people change their financial position.

The most obvious indication that this phenomenon really does exist is that “Cramer Bounce” I mentioned above – it’s observable and real. A lot of people out there are buying based on what Cramer recommends on his show, and as I said above, that’s pretty scary. Even worse, it teaches really, really poor investment discipline – someone on TV thinks about a stock for one second, makes an off-the-cuff guess, and you’re changing your investment approach? That’s not sound investing at all.

CramericaThe Beauty Is In The Details
Yet I’m not quite ready to toss Cramer into the trash can. If you actually take the time to sit back and read his books – particularly Real Money, which is by far his best one – you’ll find that the message he talks about is about as far from the Lightning Round as can possibly be.

The big message that you get out of actually reading Real Money is homework, homework, homework. He flat-out says you should not own a stock if you’re not willing to do an hour a week of research on that stock: reading annual reports, listening to conference calls, watching what stock moves the insiders do, reading the news, and so on.

That’s something I can agree with and stand by. You should not own an individual stock unless you have a specific and compelling reason to own that stock. Furthermore, you need to invest the time to make sure your specific and compelling reason hasn’t gone away, which would mean it’s time to sell the stock. If you can’t invest that time, then you might as well go toss your cash on the roulette wheel.

Why Irrational Is “Cool”
So why isn’t that sensible message talked about on television? It is, on occasion – Cramer talks regularly about doing the homework. But that’s not the part of his show that seems exciting. It’s when he shouts, does something crazy, screams “Boo yah!” and such that grabs the attention, and that’s the stuff that’s directly associated with stock picks.

irrationalJust a few weeks ago, I talked in detail about Dan Ariely’s book Predictably Irrational, which focuses in on why people make irrational decisions – like, for example, basing your investment strategy on an off-the-cuff remark from a television personality.

Ariely reveals two reasons why Cramer’s seeming irrationality is followed by many people. First is the idea of relativity – they feel a need to be on the cutting edge of stock investing ideas. This is similar to why we feel some sense of jealousy and drive when our neighbors have a nice new car. This is largely the reason why people would watch CNBC and read specific stock investing advice. They feel a need to have “insider knowledge” as relative to others in their cohort – in other words, other individual stock investors, thus they follow stock tips.

The second idea is that of passion. Cramer brings more passion, energy, fire, and drive to the table than about anything else on television. It oozes out of the man – he plainly loves stock investing and that love comes out quite clearly on his show. It rubs off, and that’s how he’s attracted an audience – people like to see others with passion and they tend to believe others that show passion (think of televangelists, for instance).

Combine these two factors, plus the fact that his show has a very action-oriented sensibility, and it’s fairly easy to see why people would follow the quick pick advice and not necessarily follow the “do an hour of research per stock per week” advice.

Some Final Thoughts
Cramer’s got some good things to say if you know where to look and where to listen. The problem is that this isn’t the stuff that excites people and gets high ratings – the stuff he says that’s valuable is the boring stuff. Thus, it’s very easy to just see Cramer’s advice for the excitement, where he runs around on stage like a maniac yelling “BUY BEAR STEARNS!” even though he’s not done the research.

If you really want to get into individual stock investing, read Cramer’s books and do a lot of homework. Don’t jump on an individual stock pick just because you heard about it somewhere – do it for a compelling reason and keep your eye on it carefully to make sure that reason still exists.

And listen to Cramer, too. Listen to the part where he gives advice on how to do the homework, not the part where he yells, tosses a chair, hits a buzzer, and screams “BOO YAH!” That won’t get you very far down the road of financial success.

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59 thoughts on “Is Jim Cramer a Positive or a Negative Influence on the Average Investor?

  1. Fun to watch, but mistakes like Bear Stearns RUINS his credibility. I, personally, will stick to index, mutual funds and ETFs. Slow and steady…

  2. Individual stock picking is extremely difficult. I mean big name institutions sometimes miss it also, so what chance does the average Joe investor have?

    I have invested, but with small amounts of money. I cant see myself putting down a large sum. It would drive me crazy to see the value go up and down.

    I treat money used for individual stock investing the same way I treat my trips to Vegas. I gamble with money I can afford to lose. When I play I try to have fun, not beat the house odds. Many people try to beat the market, or think they can.

  3. You should do a little more research on what Cramer was referring to. He said not to pull your money out of their FUNDS, not the common stock. If he were to say to pull your money out of their funds, it would have accelerated the collapse even more. Also.. he said the stock was basically crap a few days before this too.

  4. While his shoe is entertaining, I have never been able to stomach the way he advises to invest on the show.
    I really like to invest in individual stocks that have a long history of growing dividends.
    I may not be rich tomorrow, but I will eventually have a steady and rising stream of dividends from blue chip companies that will allow me to beat inflation and retire early.
    It’s a plan that does work and doesn’t take 10 hours/week or rocket science for the average investor to figure out.
    P.S – Many of these stocks will also see price increases as investors search for steady dividend income and are willing to pay more of a premium for the company. This leads to nice capital gains along with the increasing cash flow!

  5. There are a lot of reasons to dislike Jim Cramer, but this ‘mistake’ is not one of them. Cramer was talking about liquidity, not the common stock.

    “Speaking to Erin Burnett during his regular Stop Trading! segment, he defended his call. Cramer wasn’t recommending the common stock, he said. He was only allaying concerns about Bear’s liquidity.

    “If you kept your money at Bear, you made out. You got the liquidity,” Cramer said, referring to the Fed’s back up of Bear’s credit business. So telling people to keep their money in Bear was “100% right. Everybody got guaranteed by the Fed.”"
    http://www.cnbc.com/id/23678693

    It is akin to saying “Don’t move your money from Bank of America”, or E-Trade, or any other bank or financial institution. He’s not talking about the common stock, he’s talking about the accounts, the liquidity. As it happened, he was right, everything was guaranteed.

  6. Yeah, if you watch closely, Cramer is referring to liquidity (i.e. deposit accounts), not the stock! “Don’t pull your money out of Bear” is not referring to holding the stock!

  7. I’ve acted a number of times in opposition to Cramer’s recommendations and made money. For example, I’d been a Johnson Controls shareholder for a while. When Cramer recommended the stock in the middle of last year, it shot upwards and that’s when I sold, very close to its peak for the year.

  8. The show should be renamed “Lost Money” or “Dumb Money.” His latest book should be “Stay Broke for Life.” The show does have some entertainment value. I’ll give it that. I watch it from time to time but not for his advice.

  9. I think it is important to realize that CNBC is first and foremost entertainment.

    This occurred to first when I noticed that they always scale their charts so that every chart looks like it has undergone major swings, by never scaling the graph from 0. Instead they scale the graph so that it swings across the whole range, making everything look like it has changed 90%+.

    Whether the Dow drops 0.05% or 10%, the shape of graph is the same, you have to look at the labels to figure out what’s really going on…otherwise you would realize that the stock market is actually kind of boring 99% of the time.

  10. Ask him after the show what a typical investor should buy, he’ll tell you index funds.

    The show is interesting, but no one should think he knows everything about stocks. My professors always told me you’ll never hear from the guys that know how to beat the market. If you knew how to beat the market all the time, you would not tell anymore. The only way to beat the market is to find an inefficiency and exploit it. If you share your knowledge with someone, the innefficiency is gone.

    Cramer has a choice. Risk vs Reward. He decided to go for a TV show instead of stock picking. The reward in terms of risk is better that way. He was wrong with BSC, but he’s still worth a hundred million.

    Hes a personality, and I always got a kick out of seeing him on Arrested Development.

  11. It’s worth noting that he never said, “BUY BEAR STEARNS!” Also, the question was framed the context as “in terms of liquidity”

  12. I’m not a big fan of Cramer – his radio show started airing in my market a few years ago and I hated it from day one – but I’m giving him a pass on this one. It’s hard to tell from the clip that’s going around whether someone is asking if they should sell their Baer stock, or pull out the money that they’ve invested THROUGH Baer. Many people invested their retirement savings through Baer Stearns. There was no reason to pull that money out and move it to another broker and there still isn’t, unless you don’t like J.P. Morgan.

  13. I worked for a company where basically he did the same thing, and right after he told people to buy a lot of stock, it tanked to about $8 a share from $32

  14. @Weakonomist – that sounds about right. Warren Buffett has never written a book, even though it would almost certainly be the best selling investing book ever.

  15. A friend of mine who used to work for Morgan Stanley told me that he didn’t really understand randomness until he worked there. The fact that a quantitative model predicted things once, twice, three times in a row doesn’t mean anything- when you make enough measurements, statistically improbable events become common.
    What is stock market randomness, though? Is the price of a stock in the short term random like the position of an electron? Probably not- it’s probably made up of small events like the Cramer Bounce. Presumably, the average person can’t predict what stocks Cramer will mention, and insiders aren’t allowed to trade on that information- otherwise, the stock price would change before the show, preempting the Cramer Bounce. By the way, I’ve never seen the show, so would it be legal or possible to buy a stock, call in and mention it, and wait for the Cramer Bounce?

  16. Heed Tylers’ comment – my best investments are megacap companies that have raised dividends for many years straight bought at a reasonable yield. My last purchase was GE at 32.11 yielding 3.8%. Choose automatic dividend reinvestment and in about 15 years your original investment will have an effective yield of 10% or more not including the probable stock price rise and the odd spinoff (like Imation from 3M).

  17. Not that I watch his show, invest in individual stocks, or otherwise really have any reason to have a strong opinion beyond the academic, but it’s worth noting that messing up one big call is not necessarily an indicator of a bad investor or fund manager. One of the most important thing I took away from Nassim Taleb’s book (between his arrogant prose), was that the number of good and bad calls must be weighted by both the magnitude of the “correctness” and the weight of the decision in the portfolio.

    At the time, he was actually pointing out a key flaw in listening to most market calls: They are incentivized to be right most of the time, irrelevant of how much the right calls matter compared to the wrong calls. If you’re right the 90% of the time a stock moves 1%, but wrong the 10% of the time it moves 30% or more, you’re probably still wrong overall (depending on how much you weight those stocks), even though your track record looks awesome.

    Not sure how that affects the situation of Cramer, just seemed to apply to the discussion.

  18. It really bothers me that his books seem so “on the money”, but his show is the complete opposite. The show is full of emotion, running around yelling… completely not what he advocates in his books. Seems like a bit of a sell out to me, if he has to be that way on television to get ratings.

  19. “Seems like a bit of a sell out to me, if he has to be that way on television to get ratings.”

    That’s kind of my point. If his books preach good advice and his television show is nonsense, is it still a net gain if his television show gets people to read his books?

  20. As for Cramer’s “retraction” that he was talking about whether people should make a run on the bank, that may be true. But in that clip – on his very own stock picking show – he said “Bear Stearns is fine, do not take your money out.” That would seem to me to very strongly imply holding stock and not selling.

    The question asked about liquidity, but I took it – as did a lot of other people – to be a question about the state of Bear Stearns as an investment opportunity, and Cramer basically said “Hold.”

  21. I started by reading his books before I caught the TV show. He has a lot of good information about investing in his books. He gave me some insights that I hadn’t thought of in the past. I enjoy his show, but I use it as a guide just like anything else. For instance when he was saying “Buy Bear, it’s ripe for a takeover.” I did my homework and decided that I’d stay out of any financials – just too volatile. I like Cramer a lot and I use his show as a way to bounce some stock names I’ve been thinking about. But more importantly I get my ideas about how to invest from Cramer – cycles, signs to look for, etc. I don’t go out and buy all his recommendations and neither should you.

    But the BSC suggestion is just proof positive that no one can see the future. I really think anyone that bought (a lot) BSC when Cramer recommended it was acting foolishly – and a little research would have shown that. But it should be a warning to anyone who puts full faith in any particular individual’s investment advice.

  22. Awesome definition. The “Cramer Effect” (or Cramer Bounce), I take it this was borrowed from the concept of the Colbert Bump?

  23. I commented on my blog on this post as well. This is great work, Trent. I think there are positives and negatives his type of work brings. I think his show highlights a problem with our society in general. We are always looking for the quick fix; the timesaver; the get ahead idea; the way to beat our competition to the punch. This mentality, coupled with the seamingless massive liquidity that exists in publicly traded stocks, forces wild swings and knee-jerk reactions to any new news.

    Since almost all of us are now using online trading accounts for our investments, taking investment action is literally 30 seconds away. This is bad for trading, let alone investing. It is the “gotta have it now” convenience of acting on this stuff that really is the root of the issue.

    My take is that he is entertaining. Sometimes he is tiring and you have take a rest, but nonetheless entertaining. Anything beyond that is simply buyer beware…

  24. Trent’s right about what that quote is about. His show is about stock-picking for people dumb enough to base their trading on what some lunatic on TV says. It’s ludicrous that the question and answer would be referring to sophisticated hedge funds and whether they should flee its prime brokerage, or whether i-banks should get out of their credit default swaps with BS.

    And anyone who thinks that because the question referred to “liquidity” it couldn’t be relating to the stock price clearly doesn’t understand at all what happened to BS. That’s exactly why the stock price collapsed!

  25. I think the point is well taken that it is important to do your homework. It’s not about “inside tips” or “recommendations” from a big name. It’s about figuring out what works for you (I’m “boring”; I lie index funds rather than individual stocks), and then doing the research into what will best fit into your overall financial picture.

  26. The question was not about owning Bear stock, it was about having money invested with Bear. As Cramer said, Bear Stearns customers are safe. Stockholders not so much, but that was NOT the question.

    And FWIW, I love his show and what I’ve learned from him has made me some money.

  27. It’s tempting to trust a well-known name when it comes to picking stocks, because the thought of figuring out which ones are the best on our own is pretty terrifying. But everybody makes mistakes, so it’s important to keep that in mind as well.

  28. Idiot speculators keep volatility up, in turn keeping the long term equity premium high for index investors like me. Keep it up, Jimbo!

  29. I just want to add that I think its important for everyone to double check on what was said, in what context, BEFORE perpetuatin fallacies.

    I have read thirty takes on this story and everyone got it wrong. As the earlier posters stated, that’s not what he said. Unfortunately, its what has stuck.

    I agree with the sentiments of others when I say that Jim Cramer is very entertaining and interesting , but is not equal replacement for your own due diligence concerning investing.

  30. i interpreted the rant to mean the assets in the bank were fine. he was *OBVIOUSLY* discouraging a run on the bank. you’ve interpreted him as saying the stock’s a good investment.

    i don’t listen to him. i don’t really listen to any one person. but i do think his statements have been mischaracterized, and i don’t know the point of doing so.

  31. I would think everyone had learned their lesson about taking investment advice from the “professionals” on tv after the stock bubble of the ’90s.

  32. I agree with you about the “Cramer Effect”, Trent. In this situation, the tv viewers are the bottom of a pyramid scheme.

  33. Anyone remember Dan Dorfman? he had a show
    where he would get all worked up about certain
    stocks, and he could move the market too. But
    he’s mostly forgotten now :P

  34. Cramer does have some good stuff to say but his show is a different animal than what he writes. Never trust the TV, it’s all about glitz and glamour.

  35. Gee Harm; I hadn’t heard the name Dan Dorfman in many years, but I don’t recall him restating over and over again several times within each and every show to “Do your own Research.” If nothing else, Cramer is empowering masses to quit spending and start lookng at the other side of the ledger.

  36. Idea for an interesting study:

    Given the idea that the “Cramer Bounce” produces an uptick in the stock, however temporary, what would have happened if the next day, following the “bounce,” you then shorted the stock and waited for it to fall back? How much $$$ would you have made over a year?

    -Kat

  37. The website http://www.cramerproject.com shows the performance of stocks mentioned on the show. It also tracks performance on a portfolio built on stocks mentioned in each show segment. The site shows that in aggregate Jim makes the correct call about 58% of the time, however the index based on his picks is down 0.4%.

  38. I am investing since 2003, never allowed this cramer guy to get my serious attention. really do I need to? I let other people follow him.
    Lets not miss the woods for the trees.

  39. If he’s an advocate of “do your homework before you invest”, then why is he making a decision on a stock in just a few seconds? Rather, why did he agreed to have a show like this lightning round? He’s just damaging his credibility.

    I never really liked nor listened to investors who recommend a stock. I’m much more interested in their stock-picking strategy.

  40. not sure the affect of cramer on individuals, although I do agree that there are a lot of people and ways out there that individuals can get their money taken, but I can tell you that what affect cramer is for me. I do not invest the cramer style but I do read all of his books and found them quite helpful to provide the mechanics of stock research.

  41. Jim Cramer is like the Internet: There’s a lot that an intelligent person can learn there, but there’s also a lot to separate an idiot from his $$$.

    It’s really hard to feel bad for folks who buy based on Cramer’s “lightening round” and lose money. Being utterly retarded, they would have found some other way to piss it away without him.

  42. I don’t want to be unkind, but it’s pretty clear how Cramer can keep his audience if people will believe him when he says he was referring to runs on the BS “bank” or having their “funds invested” with BS. Because people who believe that are both unaware of basic fundamental facts about the industry and unable to inform themselves after the fact when they’re handed a big lie.

    Bear Stearns isn’t a bank. It’s an investment bank. Bear Stearns doesn’t have a retail brokerage arm. It only offers prime brokerage (i.e., for hedge funds). RETAIL CUSTOMERS DO NOT NORMALLY HAVE CASH DEPOSITS WITH BEAR STEARNS, NOR ARE THEIR FUNDS INVESTED THERE. Bear Stearns doesn’t ordinarily offer those services! The only way your average joe stock-picker is going to have direct exposure to BS is if he owns the stock. So, yes, on Cramer’s *stock-picking* show for the average investor, he was talking about *stock*. Not whether your deposited funds are safe (there aren’t any) or whether it’s okay to use them as a broker (because retail customers don’t). And certainly not whether sophisticated i-banks should keep using BS as a prime broker.

  43. I like Cramer, both his show and the books. But I do keep this in mind:

    TV is entertainment, designed to get ratings so the network can sell advertising. (disclaimer: I work in advertising, so this is my paycheck).

    Books are entertainment, designed to provide good reviews, word-of-mouth, and dustcover copy.

    So the hyperkinetic world of his TV show is there for a reason, and the generally high quality of information in his books is also there for a reason. I watch the show to be entertained (and take it seriously when he says don’t rush out and buy anything he recommends) and read his books to be informed.

  44. You need to look into this more Trent. Comment #3 is right. He plainly said the stock was bad a couple days before, and in this clip he answered a specific question and was exactly right that they are likely to be taken over.

    Also note this isn’t in the stockpicking Lightning Round section. I know he does get things wrong here and there but this is not one of those times.

  45. Yes, they are likely to be taken over. The current offer for that purchase is $10/share. They were selling at above $60. Shareholders are going to take a shellacking.

    Yes, the hedge funds who used Bear as a prime broker are not going to lose anything. Yes, the counterparties on Bear’s credit default swaps aren’t going to have face defaults of their own. And so on. These people are not the people writing into, or watching (seriously), Cramer’s show about stock-picking.

    The questioner actually correctly identified the problem (or the perceived problem) that led to the stock value’s complete collapse. Cramer was wrong, but he’s obviously convinced that a good chunk of his audience is ignorant enough that if he says something that *sounds* plausible, they won’t be able to figure out they’re being lied to.

  46. Jim Cramer’s doesn’t affect the market as much he used too even a year or two ago. A couple Option Market Maker trader told me that they actually used to see volume and volatility rise as he was making calls on his show but these days, it much less noticeable

  47. Cramer is over-rated. Even as a hedge fund manager, his performance wasn’t that great compared to the Nasdaq during that time. He can claim he made 25% per year returns because he got out of the business before the 2000 bear market. Had he gone through those three years, his returns would have been substantially lower than 25% considering how aggressive his portfolio was.

    I like to watch him to see if his head might explode during the show, but I would never buy a stock based on his rants.

  48. Trent,

    You hit it right on the mark. These so called investment Guru’s often don’t even see things comings. How is it that Cramer is advising people that Bear Stearns was in fine shape yet the average Joe like myself watch the news and see that Bear Stearns is asking for a bail out.

  49. I’m sure I’ll get flamed but oh well!

    Seems you either love the guy or hate him. As for this discussion and everyone’s opinion on the “lighting round” clip.

    Here’s a somewhat noob’s opinion. They guy is entertaining, for younger generations he gets us motivated to look into investing into our future via stocks, funds and other options. I speak for myself, but would guess there are many other noob’s of the younger generation who would agree when I say, I don’t make financial/trade decisions based on anyone person’s opinion especially if those opinions are formulated in under a minute.
    Those that do make such decisions based on opinions formulated in a whirlwind environment such as the “lighting round” fall under the “there is a sucker born every minute” category. Those that believe the majority of Cramers followers make such decisions are probably not far behind. If we did we wouldn’t be watching the show and it would be cancelled.

    Now back to one noob’s opinion of the Clip. He didn’t say anything that would make me buy the “BS” stock, didn’t say anything that would me sell “BS”the stock if I owned it. I did hear him say (BS) might be ripe for a takeover, which would make me do some serious research if I owned it.

    One last note: Hmm, wonder why it’s called lighting round? Must be because all the picks are hot and ready to explode!

    LoL
    Noob: 101

  50. I had to come back after seeing this on Mad Money today… check this out: Mad Mail: Infamous Bear Stearns E-Mailer Vindicates Cramer http://www.cnbc.com/id/23962128

    From the website:

    Cramer had a VIP caller for Friday’s Mad Mail: Peter from Illinois, the viewer who wrote the now-infamous Bear Stearns question back on March 10. He vindicated Cramer from all the misreported accounts of the Mad Money host’s call from that day: “My question was specifically about the assets that were in my different accounts. It had nothing to do with the equity BSC.” Hence, Cramer’s answer that the money of Bear Stearn’s clients was safe.

    I’m sure theres a video of this somewhere.

    Plus, he then goes on to advocate index funds for the average investor.

  51. For Kat: There had been a study done in Barrons about a year ago about Cramer and the “bounce,” which presented a short-selling opportunity. Cramer even acknowledged it in the Barrons story.

    As far as “buying individual stock is like gambling.” That’s true, the word you are thinking of is “speculation.”

    And furthermore, anyone who bases their investment decisions on a 10 second televised blurt said by _anyone_, deserves to lose their money. It doesn’t matter who the speaker is nor how “qualified” they are. If you are that impulsive, you should have someone whom you trust to help you overcome that trait.

  52. It is very easy to bash Cramer, but that is because people don’t listen closely to his advice. Cramer insists that viewers do their own homework on any stock he mentions and not to blindly buy or sell. That means that viewers of the show must be slighlty advanced investors and not newbies. He does advise newbies to stick to mutual funds.
    The other key thing is that as the market changes, so does his advice. That means viewers must watch the show or visit his site daily. If you miss his advice to sell a stock, then whose fault is that?

  53. This post should be corrected. I’m no Cramer apologist, but clearly the mistake wasn’t Jim Cramer’s, but rather seems to be seems to belong to the blogger and to a lot of others who don’t understand what Jim Cramer was talking about.

    Bear Stearns account holders are no less rich than they were before the ~90% drop in Bear Stearns stock. Unless, of course they happened to own a bunch of that stock. Account holders and stock holders are different.

  54. I lost 75% of my retirement savings listening to Cramer’s advise. Better just watch his show for entertainment or you may get burned too.

  55. Cramer is a clown. I followed him, logging his picks on paper, but never took his advice for actual investing. Many of his recommendations never bore fruit, long before the Bear Stearns debacle ruined his reputation. Case in point was his big Best Buy push over Christmas 2007. Sales never matched expectations and the stock moved down, not up.

    Your comparison to Sports Center is exactly right. That’s his target demographic. Guys who act tough and live their lives vicariously through what they see on TV. They’re partially college-educated (in other words, they started college but never finished), work a middling job (middle income earners), and are usually married. Age range is late-30s to mid-40s. In other words, a**h***s and d*****bags who live beyond their means and are looking for the easy way out. I don’t know one serious investor who watches Cramer.

    My main reason for not supporting Cramer? He’s a big “cap and trade” supporter. Second, he was a hedge fund guy. He was betting AGAINST the market. No thanks.

  56. Has anyone noticed a pattern here?

    Most people who dislike Cramer do so because of specific times he has been wrong about specific stocks. This tells me two things:

    (1) People care more about localized PAIN than about averages; and
    (2) People don’t take responsibility for their own decisions; they’d rather blame an advice-giver instead of blaming their own lack of knowledge.

    For example, Cramer has only actively recommended 3 of my 12 holdings, but I did not buy them because of his advice. I bought them because I did my homework on them and they were sound investments.

    However, my overall portfolio follows various principles Cramer recommends, which I have mostly followed, and I therefore take personal responsibility for how it turns out, rather than crediting him or blaming him for how the specific stocks do. I *DO* credit him with educating me well. I am currently beating the market as I follow his principles, but that need not continue for me to know I am doing well, as much of the portfolio is defensive (because it’s diversified!), which Cramer would vigorously approve of.

    [[That’s his target...Guys who act tough and live their lives vicariously...partially college-educated (in other words, they started college but never finished), work a middling job (middle income earners), and are usually married. Age range is late-30s to mid-40s. In other words, a**h***s and d*****bags who live beyond their means and are looking for the easy way out. I don’t know one serious investor who watches Cramer.]]

    This is both unfairly negative and false. If you actually watched his show, you would hear:
    (1) Both men and women;
    (2) Young (pre-, in-, and post-college), middle-aged, and older (just before retirement);
    (3) Clearly experienced investors and clear inexperienced investors.

    Cramer appeals to a very broad demographic, and is always careful to tell people only what they seem to be ready to learn. He doesn’t talk over their heads, and he errs on the conservative, “safe” side, especially when the person asking appears less experienced.

    Furthermore, when he believes he doesn’t know, he always says, “You know what? I’m going to go do my homework on that, and get back to you about it later.” And he does. I’ve watched him do it repeatedly.

    A big thanks to angelo for pointing out:

    [[anyone who bases their investment decisions on a 10 second televised blurt said by _anyone_, deserves to lose their money. It doesn’t matter who the speaker is nor how “qualified” they are. If you are that impulsive, you should have someone whom you trust to help you overcome that trait.]]

    What a vivid way to hold people responsible for their own decisions.

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