Learn to Love the Bear?

Cramer took umbrage at a Wall Street Journal “Intelligent Investor” column, authored by Jason Zweig, that ran over the weekend.

The author referred to “TV pundits who shriek out trading advice as if their underpants were on fire.” Maybe Cramer’s acting a bit paranoid, but that one struck a little too close to home for it to be coincidence. He was quick to point out, though, that if such drastic measures were necessary to educate his viewers, Cramer would be the first one to douse his boxers in gasoline.

But much more important, and equally outrageous, was Zweig’s insistence that “buy and hold” is a viable investment strategy. Anyone who watches Mad Money knows that Cramer’s mantra is “buy and homework.” You don’t just bear-hug stocks until retirement. The responsibility’s yours to stay up on the latest company happenings so you’re prepared to take profits if need be.

Think about the dot-com bust of 2000. How well did buy-and-hold serve the shareholders of those once-lofty tech stocks?

Zweig made another statement, poorly paraphrasing Warren Buffett, that claimed a 50% drop in a stock is a buying opportunity. But that’s not always the case. What if you bought National City, Washington Mutual, Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac after they’d been cut in half? You’d be down even more.

This is where the homework comes in. One hour per stock per week – that is Cramer’s recommendation. That type of dedication to a portfolio keeps an investor alert and ready just in case the market throws a curve ball.

Of course, if you don’t have that kind of time then there’s no shame in turning your retirement planning over to a professional. Just be sure to do your homework on him, too.

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