Jim Cramer kicked off his "RealMoney" radio show Tuesday with a listener email that asked how to get into the stock market.

"I feel like I have the IQ of a cockroach," the listener wrote. "I don't understand how buying and selling stock is done."

The listener wanted to know how to begin, who to call, how the money changes hands and how a portfolio gets made.

"Can a person raised in the ghetto buy and sell stock?" the emailer asked.

So Cramer dedicated the show's first segment to his "Introduction to the Stock Market 101."

"First of all, ghetto, cockroach, IQ -- stop. We're all equal in the eyes of the market," Cramer said.

And the first step is to open an account with a broker. There are "literally dozens," he said. And if you don't know where to go, he reminded listeners that he got his start by opening an account with Fidelity based on an ad he saw. "There was nothing more to it."

You have to find a brokerage that is comfortable for you and that fits your needs. After the account is set up, you put money in it to buy stocks. The brokerage will lend you money to buy stocks, but Cramer said to never take that loan.

"We don't borrow money to buy pieces of paper," he said.

If your account is online, you can just buy and sell by putting in the number and clicking. However, he prefers to have a human at the other end of the line.

When you buy a stock there are two main kinds of orders: market orders and limit orders.

A market order means that you don't specify at what price you want the stock. That means that you simply say to buy X shares of Y company, and don't specify a price.

That's the default order, Cramer said, and it means that if the market jumps, you could end up having to buy stock at a much higher price than you thought you'd be paying. He said that it's almost always a bad idea to use a market order.

A limit order means that you specify at what price you'll buy a stock, telling your broker that you want X shares of Y company at no more than $Z in price. Cramer places his limit orders within 10 cents of where the stock is trading when he decides to buy.

To find out a stock's price, Cramer said to go online to a site such as Yahoo! Finance. At a site like this you can type in the stock symbol and get the current trading price.

He recommended owning five stocks from five different sectors, and that would be your portfolio. Cramer said this diversification helps to limit risk by spreading it among different sectors.

For example, if your technology stock gets crushed, it probably won't hurt your financial services pick.

To choose the five stocks means you have to do your homework, he said. That means going online or to the library to find the necessary information, which is all available free on the Web.

Homework means reading the company's quarterly report, listening to the conference call, perusing the company's Web site and reading articles and research reports on the company.

If you don't have the time and the inclination to do the homework, then you should not be buying stocks, Cramer said. "You need to rely on someone else."

A lot of brokers don't want to help investors who don't have a lot of money, he said. So if you run into people who won't help you choose your stocks, he said to close your account and take your money to someone who will.

Or, if you're really very busy, he said to invest in a mutual fund, adding that he believes that there are many great funds from which to choose.

A Vote for Diebold

"If you thought the 2000 elections were bad, wait until this year," Cramer said, referring to numerous reports that there are problems with new voting machines and that the Department of Justice is suing states for not having up-to-date voting equipment.

It's a headache for states holding primaries and for the federal government, he said. And it could mean money in the bank for investors who buy Diebold ( DBD).

The company is the largest maker of voting machines, and Cramer said that the stock fell to near $40 from about $57 because the company missed its earnings estimates.

"This stock is on sale," he said, adding that the stock is damaged, but the company is intact.

Plus, he said, it's the answer to the problem of not having enough voting machines and Cramer believes that it's the company that states will turn to in order to not be sued for having outmoded equipment.

Good to Grow

Cramer told a caller that Broadcom ( BRCM) and Marvell Tech ( MRVL) are on his list of underperforming stocks that he believes will rise after their next quarterly earnings results.

He said that the good earnings news would validate the virtue of patience.

Cramer believes that the stocks will rebound because they are "at the heart of the digital revolution" and enable consumers to send messages from cell phones to the Internet, watch cable TV and send digital video through telephone lines.

He reminded listeners that to make money in stocks, you have to find growth. He referred to newspaper articles that say PC shipments are due to slow down. It was a fabulous business in the 1980s and 1990s, he said, "but chances are that your computer does everything you need it to do," and you won't need to buy a new one for some time.

There had been hopes that Microsoft ( MSFT) would roll out its new Vista operating system this year, but now that it has been delayed until 2007, it doesn't make sense to buy a new computer if you'll just have to upgrade your operating system in a year.

There's no growth here, he said, so that's why he said he could not recommend Dell ( DELL), or the company that makes the brains of a PC, Intel ( INTC).

The growth in tech has moved away from PCs and into handhelds and cable, he said.

For cell phones, Cramer likes Motorola ( MOT) because it's relatively inexpensive and has good management.

He likes Broadcom and Marvell because those companies make the parts that are the guts of your cell phone.

And he likes Powerwave ( PWAV) because it's the company that builds towers that send cell-phone signals.

Another place to find growth is in BRIC, he said, referring to Brazil, Russia, India and China. "BRIC is the home of growth," Cramer said.

That's why he likes companies such as Banco Bradesco ( BBD) and Turkcell ( TKC).

Finally, Cramer said that there's danger to be found in reports that civilian nuclear research facilities are vulnerable to break-ins, meaning that a devious mind could get its hands on some highly enriched uranium.

But, he also said there's money to be found in this, too.

"I think of two companies good at stopping this kind of stuff," he said. The first was FLIR Systems ( FLIR), a maker of thermal-imaging and camera systems. The second was CACI International ( CAI), a company that integrates security systems.

Here's your chance to pick the stock you'd like me to feature on my radio show March 30:
Services Acquisition Int'l

REMEMBER to listen in on Thursday for my take on the stock that wins this poll!

At the time of publication, Cramer was long Microsoft.

James J. 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 Action Alerts PLUS. While he cannot provide personalized investment advice or recommendations, he invites you to send comments on his column by clicking here. Listen to Cramer's RealMoney Radio show on your computer; just click here. Watch Cramer on "Mad Money" at 6 p.m. ET weeknights on CNBC. Click here to order Cramer's latest book, "Real Money: Sane Investing in an Insane World," click here to get his second book, "You Got Screwed!" and click here to order Cramer's autobiography, "Confessions of a Street Addict."

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