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Jim Cramer’s 25 Rules of Investing (First Five Rules)

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Okay, first I watched Jim Cramer’s Mad Money show (and let you all know what I thought), which led me following his column on TheStreet.com about his 25 Rules of Investing. He has a new book too called Real Money: Sane Investing in an Insane World and as a bonus to readers he’s listing 25 rules on the site. I like his hard hitting, no BS attitude and I’ll give you my summary and impression of his self-proclaimed twenty five rules. Can 25 rules really capture every rule of investing? No, definitely not. But I want to read what this dude has to say…

Rule 1 – Pigs Get Slaughtered
How can you not like that title? This quote summarizes the entire rule: “Bulls make money, bears make money, pigs get slaughtered.” When the market goes up, people make money. When the market goes down, people make money. It’s when people get greedy that they get slaughtered. Making money is good but don’t get so greedy that you’re holding the bag when the bubble bursts.

Rule 2 – It’s OK to Pay the Taxes
This is a great, short post, about how you shouldn’t hold onto a stock just because you don’t want to pay short term capital gains. Some stocks are meant to be held short term and you buy them on that notion. “… no taxes are due when you sell at a loss.”

Rule 3 – Don’t Buy All at Once
Jim Cramer supports a concept known as “dollar-cost averaging” which has recently come under fire from various sources. This is one of those long debated concepts of buying over time and I don’t know what is right, honestly. If the stock goes down, you average out your price to get the lowest than if you had blown it all in one shot. If it goes up, you could’ve made more by purchasing it in one fell swoop. Cramer says it’s the way to go and honestly, there is probably not right answer. (like the little loophole I left myself in case someone does a mathematical analysis proving dollar cost averaging’s correct)

Rule 4 – Buy Damaged Stocks, Not Damaged Companies
Ever see someone readjust (ie. lower) profit expectations for the year or missing analyst estimates for a prior quarter and see their stock hammered? That’s a damaged stock. An accounting scandal cause the damage? That’s a damaged company. Take advantage of the overreaction, that’s what this rule means. I’m a huge fan of this rule and if you’ve seen Merck or Pfizer lately, you’d be a huge fan too if you were able to take advantage.

Rule 5 – Diversify to Control Risk
“If you control the downside, the upside will take care of itself.” Diversify across different sectors to manage risk. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. This rule everyone pretty much understands.

Well that’s the first five. As of right now, 18 of the 25 rules have been written so you can check them out if you want to by visiting this page. Thus far nothing incredibly ground-breaking in terms of rules, nothing you probably haven’t heard before, but you probably got a kick, as I did, out of how he said it. Pigs get slaughtered is a great way to say “don’t be greedy,” don’t you agree? Disagree with some of these rules or how I feel about them? Let me know.

For the next five rules, read this article.

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One Response to “Jim Cramer’s 25 Rules of Investing (First Five Rules)”

  1. Anna Fusco says:

    Mr. Cramer,

    Your comments tonight i.e.: “don’t beat yourself up over a loss” hit me
    right between the eyes.

    My husband and I have been investing for many years. Our portfolio
    thanks to Lucent, Intel and the like was at approx. $180,000.00
    My husband wanted to sell, but I enjoyed watching the stocks move up almost everyday.
    When they started to fall, I still didn’t want to sell, I believed they would
    go back up. We had a $50,000.00 margin account, stocks were so low that
    they were sold to cover it.

    I was depressed, because it was my fault that we held onto the stocks. College and wedding money for our three daughters gone, vacations gone, and my husband has to work a little harder if we want to build that portfolio again.

    I no longer trust my decisions, in fact, I can’t follow through when I
    make a decision. I wanted to buy some shares of Google at its IPO, sell the 200 shares of Ebay to cover it, but I never made the call. I owned Giant (GI) when I heard Western Refining was buying it, I thought it would be a good idea to sell
    GI and buy WNR at $24. a share, but lost the nerve.

    In short, I am the person you told your viewers they would become if they
    didn’t let go of the guilt of making a bad decision. It’s not pretty.

    I enjoy your show, and I will try to stop feeling guilty everytime I look at my family. Wish me luck.


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