Cramer's 'Mad Money' Recap: Invest Like a Pro

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Editor's note: This "Mad Money" recap last aired on Feb. 17, 2009.

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- "Tonight's show is all about teaching you to invest like a pro," Jim Cramer told viewers of his "Mad Money" TV show Friday. "There are all of these money-losing mistakes that people, who don't invest for a living, make when they try to manage their money and I want to help you avoid them."

Individual investors, "amateurs who run their own money in their spare time," can make more money in the market than the professionals, who run money as their full-time job and have trained for years to be better investors, Cramer said. But most of these individual investors will never come close to that achievement mostly because of mistakes professional investors don't make and ordinary investors make constantly.

"Tonight I'll tell you how to avoid making five mistakes amateurs make and pros don't, because learning how to invest well is much more important than getting advice about individual stocks or even groups of stocks," he said.

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First, from what Cramer's seen, amateurs are almost always fully invested, "meaning that all the money in their portfolios is invested in stocks and no cash is left on the side." Professional money managers, on the other hand, always have cash in their portfolios, he said.

Market players should always want to have cash and if they don't, they need to sell something, Cramer said. "This is one of the most alien and difficult concepts for most ordinary investors to understand," he said. "Nonprofessionals think it's right to be fully invested. I'm a champion of stocks, but that's totally, 100% wrong."

People need a reserve so that they can profit from declines in the market, Cramer explained. As the market will always have pullbacks, people will always need cash. "It's there so that you can take advantage of a selloff by purchasing your favorite stocks at much lower prices," he said.

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