- CNBC's Jim Cramer says an index fund is the "bedrock" investment for you and your child.
- But if you're looking for stocks to hold for the long term, choose Disney and Nvidia, the "Mad Money" host says.
The "Mad Money" host, as he always does, reminded viewers that an index fund should serve as your "bedrock" investment. Specifically, your first $10,000 should go into an index fund or an exchange-traded fund that mirrors the S&P 500, Cramer has advised.
"When you're just starting to build a portfolio, your first step should never be to buy individual stocks, even great ones like Disney and Nvidia," Cramer said. "Instead, you should put some money in an index fund as a bedrock retirement investment."
But Cramer, who was broadcasting from the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado as part of a Veterans Day tribute, said he knows people can multitask.
There are different underlying reasons for why Cramer recommended both companies, but he said they share an overarching characteristic: They boast safe, long-term growth potential.
Cramer said Disney has that due in large part to its CEO, Bob Iger.
"If you want a long-term investment, you need a company with a leader and a culture that embraces change and triumphs over adversity," he said.
Disney's basically universal brand recognition also makes it an attractive option for kids, said Cramer, who said his advice was inspired by a 10-year-old who called into the show earlier in the week to ask if Dave & Buster's was worth buying.
"We need that personal knowledge. Why? ... Because stocks go down. Disney's something tangible," Cramer said. "You can see it, you can figure out if something is really wrong or not. You can go to the theme parks, you can watch the movies ... You can get it."
But ultimately, Cramer said the stocks for your kid's portfolio should be those that will not be rendered "obsolete" as technology and society evolves.
With Iger's leadership and the launch of 21st century offerings such as Disney+, which debuts next week, Cramer said, he believes Disney is positioned to continuing thriving now — its stock rose around 3% Friday after a top- and bottom-line earnings beat — and into the future.
Nvidia, by contrast, might not be as well known among the 10-year-old investor class as Disney or Dave & Buster's. But the Santa Clara, California-based tech company is an attractive long-term play for its own reasons, Cramer said.
As a chipmaker, Nvidia is positioned in the thick of the world of artificial intelligence and machine learning, Cramer said, calling A.I. and machine learning two of the most "incredible things" he's seen in recent years.
"You know what powers the best machine learning? It's Nvidia," Cramer said. "I think they are the future."
And like Disney, Nvidia has great leadership at the top, Cramer said.
Jensen Huang is "one of the most brilliant CEOs in our country," Cramer said.
The most exciting aspect of picking stocks for your kids is the chance to find companies with "tremendous long-term prospects and then wait for them to pay off," Cramer said.
"Just like the people at the U.S. Air Force Academy represent our future protection and our defense, your portfolio needs some protection and some defense, too," Cramer said. "And that's what those stocks are for."
Disclosure: Cramer's charitable trust owns shares of Disney and Nvidia.