Editor's note: Jim Cramer will appear on an NBC special at 7 p.m. EDT Sunday entitled "The American Dream with Jim Cramer," where he will talk about NASCAR, the economy and investing. In the following column, Cramer discusses the program's mission. For more information on the special, click here.
The gloom on Wall Street is so palpable that perhaps the only way to shake it is to go around the Lowe's Motor Speedway at 165 miles and hour and then to chat with those who came to observe the spectacle.
Ever since my
"Mad Money" team decided to start the "American Dream with Jim Cramer" series -- next up, a trip to the Harry S. Truman, a nuclear aircraft carrier -- we've been trying to fulfill a mission: Get regular people to understand their money. Tonight's special doesn't pretend to tell you whether
makes it. In fact, any mention of stocks is pretty much about doing homework on the favorite decal of your favorite driver. I have always felt a fascination for the "industry" of NASCAR and when
"Squawk Box" first took off, I used to joke with Mark Haines that I wanted to wear NASCAR decals of my favorite stocks all over my body when I co-hosted the program.
That was then, this is now, where the bloom is off the stock market rose and people now believe it to be pretty much a sucker's game. When you try to preach buy and homework, not buy and hold, you are roundly criticized by people who have never made any money -- or at least taken profits -- because you are emphasizing
! Since when is not being a pig and selling at a big gain instead of riding it into a loss sinful? Since when is it wrong to do homework to find out whether
has gone bad on you?
Those are some of the themes of tonight's show, as well as a revenge theme, which is to strike back at high pump prices and buy the companies that find, drill and sell fuel to you.
In many ways my message is a simple one: I know you think investing is boring and hard to understand, but perhaps my talking to your favorite drivers, perhaps my talking to you, perhaps my infusing investing with sports metaphor -- something I have done since my first columns about money in the '80s -- can help you get your arms around the topic.
Most pundits who comment on my work contend I am trying to throw trading ideas at people so they can churn their capital and lose all of their money. Actually, my target audience for "Mad Money" is quite different: I am appealing to people who have decided already, either because of a fascination with stocks or because they have been taught or brainwashed (to use a more loaded word), that they can do it themselves. These people are already in, and they need help and want help. Otherwise, they wouldn't flock to the show or wait hours to speak to me on the phone.
Tonight's special is
about these people. It is about people who are struggling with little or no hope that they will ever accumulate wealth or that their kids will be better off than they are. Can I instill hope? Too hard. Can I make sense of things so they can see how it could be done and can be done, even with a modicum of savings?
That's the mission. You decide whether I have fulfilled it.
At the time of publication, Cramer had no positions in stocks mentioned. Jim Cramer is a director and co-founder of TheStreet.com. He contributes daily market commentary for TheStreet.com's sites and serves as an adviser to the company's CEO. Outside contributing columnists for TheStreet.com and RealMoney.com, including Cramer, may, from time to time, write about stocks in which they have a position. In such cases, appropriate disclosure is made. To see his personal portfolio and find out what trades Cramer will make before he makes them, sign up for
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