CNBC's Jim Cramer knows that he constantly repeats the same old investing rules, but it's because rules mean discipline, and discipline always trumps conviction.
"One thing I've learned in my investing career: no matter how much you might believe in something, you violate the rules of the road at your own peril," the "Mad Money" host said.
Investing rules aren't easy to spot. They're not like the laws of physics, which can be deduced by observing the way the world works. The market is a beast of its own, and rules come from experience.
Cramer's nearly 40 years in the business have taught him some important lessons, lessons that he's made into rules for all the homegamers interested in buying stocks.
One of his most important rules? Don't shirk the tax man.
"Look, no one has ever liked paying taxes," Cramer acknowledged. "But, like death, taxes are inevitable and unavoidable."
So many investors are loath to pay taxes on their winnings, but Cramer has seen some market players incur serious losses by waiting too long to write a check to Uncle Sam.
The fact is, some gains are unsustainable and should be booked quickly, no matter the cost, Cramer said. Taking some profits won't set you back dramatically; it'll keep your portfolio safe.