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Making Mad Money Is a Family Affair

Friday, 15 Jun 2007 | 12:58 PM ET

It’s Skee-Daddy Day in Cramerica. So in honor of family investment teams across the land, Mad Money hosted a live studio audience for today’s show.

Fathers and their sons and daughters, wives in support of their husbands, even Cramer’s dad, Ken, were on hand to celebrate Cramerican family values.

A Family Affair
Mad Money host Jim Cramer shares his insights on familial investing

In typical Mad Money fashion, Cramer spent a lot of time talking to the fans. (After all, this is the most interactive show on television.)

The goal of the show is to get as many people involved in investing as possible, Cramer told Fred and his son, Jonathan, from New Jersey. That’s why he keeps his strategies simple. So in response to Fred’s question about whether or not it’s better to buy options on an expensive stock like Google rather than buy just a couple of shares, Cramer said no.

Case in point: In 1981, Cramer had the chance to buy a share of Berkshire Hathaway for $200. He declined, thinking it was too expensive. Today, that one share is worth over $109,000.

Financial Wisdom
Sharing financial wisdom with your children, with Tim Russert, Meet the Press host and NBC News Washington bureau chief, and Mad Money host Jim Cramer

“Just own common stock,” Cramer said. “Don’t outthink it. One share of Google is a great way to get started.”

Is there ever a time when Cramer isn’t thinking about the markets? Makeda from New York, an 18-year-old investor, wanted to know. Of course not – if he’s awake, Cramer’s mind is on the market.

U.S. Air Force Reserve Lt. Col. Barry Johnson and his son, Christopher, presented Cramer with an American flag that’s flown over Iraq to show the armed services’ appreciation of the support Mad Money gives to them.

Carl Icahn Interview
Carl Icahn on how to succeed, with Mad Money host Jim Cramer

Some celebrities also shared their experiences with the legacy of money. Cramer had interviewed Meet the Press' Tim Russert and his son, Luke, as well as billionaire financier Carl Icahn to see how financial management was taught to them growing up. Berkshire Hathaway's Warren Buffett, NBC Nightly News' Brian Williams and Hardball's Chris Matthews also shared their stories via tape.

Williams vividly remembers his thrifty dad: “Didn’t spend a lot. Didn’t waste anything.” His paternal grandmother was so frugal she used to dry out paper towels for reuse later.

Russert learned investing from his son, Luke, actually. At Luke’s 16th birthday, Tim promised to give the boy $21,000 when he turned 21 as long as he behaved and kept his grades up. Luke asked his dad to invest the money in the meantime, so they bought Nike and a few other stocks. When it came time to collect, the $21,000 had turned into $25,000.

Icahn’s father didn’t think Carl’s chances for success were good given his middle-class Jewish background in Queens, so he didn’t pay much attention to the business world. But he believed in the power of education. Those values can be seen today in the charter school Icahn started, where teachers are motivated by bonuses.

Cramer asked Icahn his eternal question: Is it better to be lucky or good?

“The guy who works the hardest, he gets the luckiest anyway,” Icahn said.

Questions? Comments? madmoney@cnbc.com

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