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Jim Cramer's Stay Mad for Life: Get Rich, Stay Rich (Make Your Kids Even Richer) Hardcover – December 4, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

James J. Cramer is host of CNBC’s Mad Money and cofounder of His many books include Confessions of a Street Addict, Jim Cramer’s Getting Back to Even, Jim Cramer’s Mad Money, Jim Cramer’s Real Money, Jim Cramer’s Stay Mad for Life.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.


Most people don't think about it, but there's a difference between making a lot of money and building lasting wealth. When it comes to money we think that striking it rich is the ultimate goal. I know because I used to feel that way. In reality, getting rich isn't the financial finish line. It's the first lap of a much longer race. I'm talking about ensuring long-term prosperity for you and your family: not just getting rich, but staying rich. That's what each and every one of us truly wants to achieve with our money, and I don't care who you are, who your parents are, where you live, or what you do for a living: you can do it if you let me help you. I don't care if you don't have two cents to your name or if you owe thousands of dollars in credit card debt. I am confident I can get you there. You may think of yourself as someone who's awful with money; you could be a person who's tried and failed to get anywhere with every single financial plan you've ever been handed, like so many failed faddish diets. Whether you're 16 or 60, sending your kids to college or sending yourself to college, I'm writing this book to tell you everything you will ever need to know and everything you must do to create and maintain the kind of wealth that lasts a lifetime. I want you to get there and stay there.

A lot of people who try to sell you advice about your money are doing it to make money themselves. They don't care whether you succeed or fail with their advice because they're just looking to sell books or earn fees. I made more money than anyone ever needs working at my old hedge fund, and if I wanted more, I'd start another one. I am confident that I could raise a billion dollars to manage tomorrow, but frankly, I'd rather help you. That means more to me than working for people who are already rich. Perhaps it's because I'm a good guy, or because I just want to look like a good guy, or maybe I do it because I love positive attention. Maybe it's because after years of making money for myself, it just feels right. At the end of the day, the "why" isn't important, as long as you're satisfi ed that I'm writing this book in good faith to help you. What's important is the "what." I spent fourteen years running a hedge fund, which means that the only higher purpose my job had was to make incredibly rich people even richer. I used to joke that my job was to move people higher on the Forbes 400 richest people list -- not a higher calling.

I've now spent the past seven years since I retired from the fund writing books and columns for and New York magazine and hosting a radio show and two television shows: first Kudlow & Cramer, then Mad Money. The venues have changed, but my goal was always the same: to share my experience and expertise with regular people to help them become rich. In this book, I'm aiming even higher than that: I'm teaching you how to make money and use it to ensure enduring prosperity and permanent financial security over the course of your entire life. The disciplines and the knowledge you need to build a firm foundation for your wealth and maintain it for the rest of your life are not the same as the ones you would need to make yourself rich by investing in stocks, the subject of my previous two books. If you're looking for long-term financial security, I would hope you'd set your sights higher. For long-term extravagant wealth, you need to know how to take advantage of tax-favored vehicles like 401(k) plans and IRAs; you need to know when you should buy bonds rather than stocks, not to mention the kinds of bonds you should choose; you need to know how to save for college; how to guarantee you have a smooth retirement; how to save; how to borrow; when you should buy a house; when you should be taking risks; when you should be avoiding risks; what you must teach your children about money; which mutual funds you should put your money in; and which stocks will look good for the long haul, the next twenty-five years. These are the subjects people beg me to address, and I am ready and willing to do so. I have the answers for all of the financial questions you, your parents, and your kids have about getting rich and staying rich. Don't be intimidated -- I'll explain everything in layman's terms, not in the Wall Street gibberish the professionals use to scare you into relying on them instead of using your own judgment.

But what about my judgment? You want to know where my advice comes from, and I don't blame you. Most of what I know about making money I learned in my years on Wall Street, first as a broker at Goldman Sachs, advising the wealthiest of the wealthy about all these lifetime issues, and then as the manager of my own hedge fund, Cramer, Berkowitz & Company. I've had a long love affair with stocks, but stocks are only one of many tools, albeit the most important one, that we're going to use to create lasting prosperity for you and your family. I know better than most people the difference between having money and not having it, or having it and having a whole lot of it. I'm a self-made multimillionaire, and I'm going to share with you the lifelong disciplines that made me rich and have kept me that way.

As I said, I made my own money. I've also been poor. In fact, I wasn't just poor; I was homeless and destitute. In 1978 I spent six months living in the backseat of my Ford Fairmont while I worked as a homicide reporter for the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, unable to afford even rent money. By 1979 I had moved up in the world: I was living in the most spacious corner of my big sister's studio apartment in New York City. I was the last person in the world anyone was ever going to ask for financial advice, but even then I was diligent and self-disciplined about money. I may have skimped on the auto insurance and skipped on the rent, but I still put $50 a month into the best mutual fund I could fi nd, Fidelity's Magellan Fund. I have always been fascinated with mutual funds and managers, and I am going to tell you all about which ones you need and which ones you should avoid. I know what it's like to need money and not have it, and ever since those early days I have lived in desperate fear of poverty. Living out of my car with barely enough money to get by convinced me that I had to become rich, that no amount of money was too much, and that I would have to do it with more than just my meager paycheck. I would have to parlay that paycheck into something much bigger, using whatever financial resources I could get my hands on. I spent twenty years single-mindedly pursuing greater and greater sums of money until well past the point where more money made a bit of difference. I know it's possible for anyone to get rich and stay rich because I did it myself and I'm no different from any of you.

Like most things in life, getting rich and staying that way take a lot of hard work, a lot of knowledge, and a little bit of good advice. There are many ways to get your hands on a whole lot of money, though few of them can be called easy. You can invest in the right stocks, get a high-paying job, start your own business, or inherit the money, to name just a few. But there's only one way to make sure your newfound wealth leads to long-term prosperity: you have to use your money to make more money, and you need to do it the right way. It's hard work, and it takes diligence, but in this book I've already done a lot of the work for you. No, I don't have six easy steps to financial security, nor do I have three magic habits that will make you a millionaire, and I can't tell you the financial secrets of the superrich because as far as I know, they're just as feckless with money as ordinary people. People who promise that they can make you truckloads of cash and help you keep it as long as you follow their simple five-point program aren't telling you the whole story. Easy steps turn out to be not so easy, and advice that seemed great in theory turns out to be next to useless in practice. I suspect that many of these people have never made a dime except in book sales! I read a ton of these personal finance guides because every time someone writes a new one, which seems like every five minutes, the publisher comes to me to pen the introduction and give it my seal of approval. Many of these books are well-written, some of them by terrific people, but they generally don't tell you what you need to know. I swear, more books have been written about creating and keeping wealth than any one person could read in a lifetime, but I have yet to find a single one that actually tells you, in detail, what you must do during every stage of your life to develop enduring wealth and ensure that you never have to worry about your money again. So I decided to fix that problem by writing this one.

For most people, there are few things that are more confusing and frustrating than trying to manage their finances. I can't tell you how many people I've spoken to who agonize over trying to pick the right mutual fund and end up giving up, their money still in a checking account, because the decision was too hard and reliable information was too scarce. If you're looking for a financial plan, it's easy to get a broad outline, but very hard to fi nd anyone who will give you specific, detailed advice. But that's exactly what I'm going to do. Others are more than willing to show you the forest: save money, pay off your credit card debt, contribute to your 401(k), start an IRA. But no one will identify the trees, where the money is actually grown. How should you manage your IRA? What, specifically, should you own in your retirement and discretionary accounts? Which of the most popular mutual funds available in your 401(k) plan is the best place to put your money? I'll even recommend the best mutual funds, using all the data available as I write this book.

Too many books about money go wrong because they try to offer timeless advice. There's no such thing as great timeless advice. The really useful financial information is time-sensitive. ... --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 269 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; 1st Simon & Schuster Hardcover Ed edition (December 4, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416558853
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416558859
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (119 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #118,936 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

208 of 213 people found the following review helpful By James Turner on December 6, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In Stay Mad for Life, Jim Cramer addresses a whole range of financial issues that he hasn't dealt with on his Mad Money TV show and in his prior books. He takes a step back from his primary focus of teaching his viewers and readers how to select individual stocks and presents his approach to broader issues of personal financial management that one deals with from cradle to grave. In this sense the book deals with quite basic topics such as avoiding or getting out of credit card debt (about nine pages), creating and following a budget (about twelve pages) and obtaining health and disability insurance. These topics may seem elementary, even boring compared to the topics of Jim's earlier books, but are issues that people of limited financial experience need to learn about.

On the topic of retirement planning he talks about the advantages and disadvantages of 401(k) plans and of traditional and Roth IRAs. He likes 401(k) plans for their employer-dollar-matching feature but dislikes their limited choice of offered funds and their associated expenses. He advocates funding your 401(k) only up to the point where you've reached the maximum employer match. Beyond that he strongly advocates putting additional retirement dollars into an IRA where the range of choices of investments is so much broader.

In the category of family finance he advocates getting your children interested in investing as young as possible and lists six stocks that you might want to buy just one share of for your child that might pique their interest. That same chapter covers college and home financing.

In his prior books Jim has created lists of rules for investing and he does so again in this book.
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71 of 74 people found the following review helpful By Steve Burns TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 19, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Jim Cramer has really produced another great book. This one starts out as a personal finance book explaining how to budget and the importance of saving money in a retirement account each month. He advises to contribute whatever is needed into your 401K plan at work to get the match. (Most companies offer a 80%-100% return on your money off the top with the match). I can tell you from my experience that is the #1 reason I have a hefty net worth at 35 years old. Cramer then advises putting money beyond the match into an IRA for more investment options than the 401K offers.
His advice is to put the money in an S&P index fund if your 401K does not offer excellent funds to invest in. He advises to never put this money in your company's stock, the risk is to great. Cramer explains bonds, bills, and treasuries in this book along with the percentage of your money to hold in them. You will see that he is much more aggressive with his recommendations for the percentage of your money to hold in stocks as you age. I agree with him.
You will also learn Cramer's twenty new rules for investing. These rules are great for investors and traders. My favorite two are:
1. Don't let the market shake you out of a good long-term thesis.
2. Don't quit when you get back to even.
You will learn the ten things pros do but amateurs get wrong.
1. Pros always have cash.
2. Pros don't worry about the quarterly report.
3. Pros try not to invest in things they don't know.
4. Pros recognize that everthing is not analyzable.
5. Pros want to know the downside, not the upside. (This one is excellent).
6. Pros always look, they never avert their eyes from a down turn.
7. Pros accept that not everything works at once.
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88 of 102 people found the following review helpful By P. Mead on December 15, 2007
Format: Hardcover
A lot of self-promotion and repetitive statements.
I've followed Cramer for a year now buying his books and watching Mad Money. He does make financial education more entertaining and I've enjoyed his personality.
I felt this book was not up to his usual standards. The first part of the book went over and over why you should save for retirement. One chapter would have made the point, why the need to pound it in? I got tired of the endless self-promotion in the book as well.
I feel that pages were added of repetitive information in order to finish it for Christmas sales.
There is good information in the book on Retirement accounts, different types of cash savings, mutual funds and stocks. Buy the book for the last four chapters.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Mark A. Hrivnatz on January 28, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Not a bad book and easy to read. But unless you are just starting out, this is an overtly simplistic book. I don't mean this as a shot, if you have read his previous books, this one is a step backwards.

If you are young & just "starting" to invest, this would be a good read before getting to stocks / trading, as it deals with 401(K), and basic personal finance.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By John Freeman on December 8, 2007
Format: Hardcover
He says it in the intro: he may be teaching people how to invest because he is a nice guy OR he wants to be perceived as a nice guy. THat's the type of unabashed marketer Cramer is. Combined with his ego, that's one side of Cramer that shows up in all of his book, especially his latest- "Stay Mad". THe other side to Cramer is his smart investing sense. He takes positions long (like a good value investor) and he promotes individual knowledge about the stocks people invest on--a good bit of advice that alludes to my favorite social theories from the book The Wisdom of Crowds.

Cramer purports that "anyone can beat any manager" (financial managers) and it's true. Most managers are looking to make the once in a lifetime pick that turns $3000 in a million instead of the commonplace investment that turns $10,000 into a $100,000.

All good investment takes is homework, according to this book- and Cramer provides the first few lessons. Create a budget, save money, manage your own stocks (based on quarterly reports, earnings, and most important-personal knowledge of the stock). He hits on something I've always said- if you like a company enough to buy their products regularly- you probably should buy their stock. I did this with AAPL and have patting myself on the back ever since!

The biggest problem is getting to a point where you can save and invest money. The budgeting mentioned in this book helps, but there are other clever ways to increase your personal profit (How to Take Advantage of the People Who Are Trying to Take Advantage of You: 50 Ways to Capitalize on the System).
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