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When Jim Cramer first started investing, he was determined to do it the right way — by researching stocks and getting an edge on that research.
"Where was I going to get that edge? I figured, why not read all of the periodicals that covered stocks?" the "Mad Money" host said.
When Cramer graduated from college, he worked as a reporter covering sports and government in Tallahassee, Florida, where he made $153 a week.
While he did not have a lot of money to spare, he did find a way to save in his Individual Retirement Account and began to buy individual stocks for a personal portfolio.
After losing money on a few investments, Cramer decided to go to the library and research companies. Eventually, he found an oil company called Natomas, which had just discovered a large find in Indonesia.
He took $300 and bought the stock, and Natomas quickly caught a $1.4 billion takeover bid from former energy giant Diamond Shamrock Corporation.
Cramer realized from his investment in Natomas that by doing the homework, it gave him an edge over others and helped arm him with the proper knowledge about the stock.
From then on, Cramer was hooked on stocks and never turned back. Eventually, he made enough money to pay for his first year of law school at Harvard, where he decided to become an attorney.
"I recognized that you can study and you can pick worthwhile stocks that might be doing better than the average stock and that can, indeed, augment your savings provided you do it right, have some edge and stay current on the company," Cramer said.
The "Mad Money" host reminded investors of the value of homework. If you only know what one person says in the media and you buy a stock, that is not good enough. In the end, it is all about odds, and only hard work and thinking can increase those odds in your favor.