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NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- After almost a decade of telling viewers "there's always a bull market somewhere," Jim Cramer told his Mad Money viewers it's time to revisit the most important investing rules he's learned over these many years. Many of these rules Cramer said he's learned the hard way -- fortunately, you can benefit from his many mistakes.
Rule number one is something you've likely heard Cramer say on every show: Bulls make money, bears make money but hogs get slaughtered. What does that mean? It means taking a profit is a good thing.
Cramer said it doesn't matter if you make money when the market goes up or by shorting it and making money on the way down. The only true way to get hurt is to think you know it all and never take any of your winnings off the table.
For every stock in your portfolio there should be a price you're willing to pay and a price you're willing to sell. That's just common sense, Cramer added. The markets take stocks up and down for all sorts of irrational reasons. When you have solid gains, take them.
You don't have to sell everything, Cramer added. But when things get crazy expensive and you have a lot of gains, don't let those gains turn into losses.
Pay the Tax Man
Cramer's second rule for investors: It's okay to pay taxes. Cramer explained there have only ever been two times when he's encouraged investors to take large chunks of money out of the markets. Those times were right before the dot-com bust of 2000 and the Great Recession of 2008.
Yet, after both of those warnings, Cramer said, he heard the same objection from investors. They didn't want to pay short-term capital gains taxes and wanted to let their newfound winnings ride until they hit the long-term threshold. The only problem? Stocks tanks a lot further and a lot faster than any marginal taxes changes.