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Cramer's first fling with stocks

Wednesday, 12 Feb 2014 | 6:06 PM ET
Mad Money Jim Cramer's love for stocks
Mad Money host Jim Cramer shares the story of how he came to love stocks, and how parents can get their kids interested too.

(Click for video linked to a searchable transcript of this Mad Money segment!)


Jim Cramer loves stocks. He absolutely loves them. And he has for a long time- a long time.

"My love of stocks didn't begin in law school or college or even high school," explained the "Mad Money" host. "No, my love for stocks started back in fourth grade, that's right, fourth grade."

At the time Cramer was already a sports nut and scanned his local paper for info on the latest games as well as the comics. But Cramer was a curious kid and understandably intrigued by other sections.

"There was always this solid chunk of the paper that seemed impenetrable to me, the business section. It made no sense to me."

Adam Jeffery | CNBC

Cramer was particularly intrigued by the columns and columns of stock information and he turned to his father for help.

"He sat me down and explained that each of those lines represented the performance of a stock of a company on a different day. It fascinated me."

It was then and there, that Cramer began his love affair with stocks and it began as something fun. That is, Cramer played investor and attempted to game which stocks would go higher and which would go lower.

"So what I did was write the names down that I heard and I followed them. I kept them in a ledger that I still have. It was a terrific game trying to figure out the next move of a stock, even as all you knew was its name."

Perhaps Cramer's future was decided then and there but in the case of Jim Cramer the fates left nothing to chance. Something else happened in his youth that laid the foundation for Cramer's illustrious Wall Street career.

Again, it involved a game.

"My dad's company at the time the National Gift Wrap and Box Company, represented the 3M Corp.," Cramer said. And at the time 3M started selling games designed to pique a young person's interest in business.

"One was called Acquire, it was about takeovers. The other was called Stocks & Bonds," Cramer explained. As you might imagine the Mad Money host was smitten.

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"I loved those games so much," he said. They clearly helped spark the beginnings of what would become a celebrated career. "I have subsequently asked the CEO of 3M to bring the games back," Cramer admitted.

Cramer's point here, is that parents shouldn't worry that kids are too young to learn about the stock market. As far as Cramer is concerned it's never too early to get kids interested.

Cramer thinks they may absolutely love it, especially if it's introduced not as something serious, but rather as a game.

"Simply pick companies that are familiar to your kids and have them track them and guess which will do best over a period of time," said Cramer. "If your kids have an aptitude for investing, they will naturally find the contests fun. And they may stick with it for life."

Call Cramer: 1-800-743-CNBC
Questions for Cramer? madmoney@cnbc.com
Questions, comments, suggestions for the "Mad Money" website? madcap@cnbc.com

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