Jim Cramer's investing club is bringing new people into the stock market
Stock picks are a common dinner-time conversation topic for the Greiner family these days.
That wasn't always the case.
Kerry Greiner, 49, and her husband Phil have always saved for retirement. But in March 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic led to sweeping lockdowns across the U.S., the family became more interested in investing on their own, in accounts where they could pick the stocks.
They started watching Jim Cramer's Mad Money on CNBC regularly with their three sons, now aged 18, 16 and 14, who also have some of their own investments, said Greiner, a solutions consultant living in Munster, Indiana.
When Cramer launched the CNBC Investing Club in October, Kerry and Phil signed up. Now, they often find themselves talking about the daily emails with the entire family.
"I was very interested because I like Jim's perspective," Greiner said. "He has a no-nonsense way of cutting through the clutter and getting to the relevant information that I like."
Cramer's club was started to help all investors – regardless of age or experience level – build long-term wealth in the market. Those who have signed up get to invest alongside his active fund, a charitable trust portfolio, and learn from his market picks and insights.
"They're going to see a lot of those rules and disciplines play out in real time," said Jeff Marks, a CFA and director of portfolio analysis for the investing club. "And they're going to see how that information will help them become better managers of their own money."
On Thursday, Dec. 9, CNBC held a special event for CNBC Investing Club. Cramer hosted a virtual audience comprised of 50 people from each U.S. state and answer questions from subscribers.
"It's for the people who are fascinated by the concept of making money by buying stocks, who want to understand why a stock goes up or down, who want to believe in America and want to take advantage of the companies that were born here," Cramer said.
In designing the notes sent to members, Cramer thought about writing in a way that anyone could understand. This is because research notes are impenetrable unless you're in the business, he said.
"We tell stories that make you interested in or knowledgeable of the companies that you might want to buy," Cramer said. "I will tell you that they're all written in [plain] English and my mother would understand every one of them."
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The teacher becomes the student
So far, members are enjoying Cramer's insights.
Michele and Bob Novello, two retired elementary school teachers from Denver, Pennsylvania, who taught for 33 and 30 years, respectively, have happily found themselves in the position of student.
While the couple previously worked with a financial advisor to manage their retirement savings, neither had done much personal investing.
But in March of this year, Michele caught the investing bug and decided to open a brokerage account to trade for free. At the same time, she started watching Mad Money and taking notes.
"My husband would help me tape it, and I saw it as an education course, learning how the market worked," said Michele, 56, adding that she liked listening to Cramer's expertise, once she got used to how fast he speaks.
Now, she also starts her day watching Cramer on Squawk on the Street, diligently reads his investing club emails and does her own research to grow her portfolio.
"We're hoping to have more security during retirement, and you know, more things we can enjoy," such as travel, said her husband Bob, 67.
Access to all
The goal of Cramer's club – to help everyone understand the market – drew Krish Sinadorey, an IT program manager in Phoenix, Arizona. She started investing outside of her 401(k) plan about a year ago when she realized her savings could get higher returns in the market than in a bank account.
Cramer's advice has helped her feel more comfortable investing on her own, she said. When she was growing up, she thought the stock market was very risky and worried about losing money.
Helping people become more calm and rational investors is part of the point, Cramer said.
"I want people to be confident enough to be able to make decisions," he said.
Younger investors are also joining the club to learn. Skyler Batchelor, 20, is a college junior studying industrial engineering at West Virginia University in Morgantown, West Virginia.
He and his friends started investing during the pandemic, when they were all sent home from school and found themselves with extra time on their hands. To learn more about markets, Batchelor began listening to Cramer's podcast and watching Squawk on the Street.
He became hooked when he got a refund check from his school for having to go home and put that money directly into stocks. The timing couldn't have been better, he said. When he saw his money grow, he wanted to invest more.
"I've really just kept learning and I've been building on it ever since," Batchelor said. Now back at school, he's an officer for the university investing club.
He most appreciates Cramer's CEO interviews and insights on companies, he said.
There will be more of that going forward for club members.
"I want you to understand how it works," Cramer said. "I'm going to pull back the curtain."
You can watch the event and become a member at cnbc.com/investingclub/live
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Disclosure: NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures are investors in Acorns.