Real Value Added

A couple of good calls and a great email make it all seem worthwhile.
Publish date:

You know I get some bummer emails. But I get some great ones, too. Some of them just make me want to say, "Now I know why I write ten columns a day to help try to make



I got a lot of great emails about my "

taking it off the table" and "anti-

excessive margin" pieces this week. That they appeared before

Abby Joseph Cohen's

"take it off the table"

call made me feel like I delivered some real value-added.

My favorite email came from John Kalinowski of Strongsville, Ohio, and I am reprinting it verbatim. I know everybody thinks testimonials are hokey -- contrived if not completely made up in a world where paid shills are the norm. But this one hit my head and heart simultaneously so I pass it on.

Jim, I've been a paid subscriber for about two years now, and I read your columns every day. I was one of the "margin maniacs" you've been writing about for the last couple of weeks, and I listened to your advice. I opened an account at Ameritrade (AMTD) - Get Report last December with $5,000, and using margin grew it to $15,000 by investing in the highest of flyers like Rambus (RMBS) - Get Report, Qualcomm (QCOM) - Get Report, NVIDIA (NVDA) - Get Report, etc. After reading your pleas for us to reduce our margin risk, I took your advice and sold it all. I think I was lucky, and without your columns I may have wound up a margin murder victim. My wife and I used the proceeds to purchase a new PC for our four-year-old daughter, and her two-year-old twin sisters will probably be eager to get their hands on it too! We also paid off our credit card, and will also use some for our annual Ocean City, N.J. vacation. Editor's note: one of my favorite towns on Earth, and dry to the bone! As you've suggested, I am not touching my long-term 401k investments, all of which is invested in a privately managed account with Oak Associates in Akron, Ohio. Since January of 1986 the Oak account has averaged 27.5% a year with Cisco (CSCO) - Get Report as the largest position. Jimmy Oelschlager is the manager and he holds about 15 positions with very low turnover. His only trade last year was to purchase EMC (EMC) ! For a little personal background, I am a 33-year-old engineer and I work in outside technical sales for a manufacturers' rep company. I've been investing since 1995, and I'm amazed at how much I've learned from

in the last couple of years! Anyway, I just want to thank you again for your advice, and for your daily columns! It sounds like you get a lot of flack from a few bozos out there, but there are many of us who appreciate your work! I also enjoy the column you reprint ever year about the time you had to cancel a TV appearance to see your daughter in the hospital. I read it from time to time to remind myself what truly matters in this world. Thanks again! -- John Kalinowski

Thanks John. Thanks everybody. You make this whole endeavor incredibly worthwhile and meaningful for me.

James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of At time of publication, his fund was long Cisco, Qualcomm and EMC. His fund often buys and sells securities that are the subject of his columns, both before and after the columns are published, and the positions that his fund takes may change at any time. Under no circumstances does the information in this column represent a recommendation to buy or sell stocks. Cramer's writings provide insights into the dynamics of money management and are not a solicitation for transactions. While he cannot provide investment advice or recommendations, he invites you to comment on his column at