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NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- "Tonight is all about the big picture," Jim Cramer said on "Mad Money" as he dedicated the entire show to building wealth and learning how to augment your income, not just for a year or two but for the rest of your life.
Cramer said it's fruitless to think you can invest in stocks without a solid foundation for building long-term wealth beforehand. Having a good foundation is essential in a culture that doesn't teach financial literacy, he said.
Before investing in stocks, Cramer said there are three things all investors must do. First, they must pay off all their credit card debt. Even the best of stock market gains will have a hard time competing with the 15%, 20% or 30% you're paying in credit card interest.Second, Cramer said every investor must have health insurance. Starting in 2014, Obamacare mandates penalties for not having health insurance, so every investor needs to get on board. Last but not least, Cramer said that every investor must have disability insurance. Without both health and disability insurance, he said, investors can get wiped out in an instant. That's why all three of these items are must-haves before considering investing in the stocks.