Television personality Jim Cramer has become one of the most visible members of the financial community due to his show “Mad Money” on CNBC, his website The Street and a public flap with Jon Stewart at the height of the financial crisis. It was his 14 years managing a hedge fund that left him rich, though, as his net worth pushed into eight figures.
Here’s a closer look at Jim Cramer, where his money has come from and why he’s both a celebrated and controversial figure to the American public.
Jim Cramer Net Worth: $100 million
Jim Cramer’s net worth is $100 million according to Celebrity Net Worth. That includes a significant fortune built up while he was the manager of the hedge fund Cramer Berkowitz, as well as money he’s made since leaving that fund in 2001, when he transitioned to a full-time job as a successful author, television personality and CNBC commentator.
While running his hedge fund, Cramer had a compounded rate of return of 24 percent over a 14-year period after all fees, an impressive return that beat the S&P 500 over that same period.
Cramer is also a co-founder of the finance website The Street, which he helped start in 1996 along with Martin Peretz, the former owner of The New Republic. Cramer’s current contract with CNBC bars him from owning any stocks in his personal portfolio save for The Street, General Electric and Comcast (the former owner and current owner of CNBC, respectively).
Jim Cramer Career
Jim Cramer’s career is long and has taken him through several phases. The future millionaire actually made his first dollar selling ice cream at nearby Philadelphia Phillies games as a child.
He graduated from Harvard University in 1977 after serving as the editor-in-chief of The Harvard Crimson and began a career in journalism, working at the Tallahassee Democrat and the Los Angeles Herald Examiner. Cramer also helped Steve Brill found the publication American Lawyer prior to returning to Harvard to attend law school.
After graduating, he decided to pursue his interest in the stock market and moved to New York to take a job with Goldman Sachs.
While working for Goldman, Cramer wrote about stocks for The New Republic. Then he founded his hedge fund Cramer Berkowitz. He found plenty of success but decided to retire from active trading in 2001 and transition back to journalism and commentary full-time. He ultimately landed at CNBC where his show “Mad Money,” which started in 2005, catapulted him to fame. Today he also serves as the co-anchor to the “Squawk on the Street” morning show.
Cramer has also penned the books “Jim Cramer’s Get Rich Carefully,” “Jim Cramer’s Getting Back to Even,” “Stay Mad for Life: Get Rich, Stay Rich,” “Mad Money: Watch TV, Get Rich,” “Jim Cramer’s RealMoney” and “Confessions of a Street Addict.”
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Jim Cramer Controversies
Jim Cramer’s career has no shortage of controversies, either. In 1995, he was accused of engaging in market manipulation after writing about several smaller companies he held shares in. When the companies made major gains, he profited by around $2 million in less than a month, prompting the magazine that Cramer’s stories to alter its policies about conflicts for its editors and writers.
Then in March 2008, Cramer responded on-air to a reader question about the health of investment bank Bear Stearns by saying “No! No! No! Bear Stearns is not in trouble. If anything, they’re more likely to be taken over. Don’t move your money from Bear.” That proved to be one of the worst Wall Street opinions in history as the stock dropped 92 percent by March 14 and wound up selling to J.P. Morgan for $2 a share, despite the stock trading at over $60 a share just a week earlier.
Although Cramer claimed that he was referring to brokerage accounts and not common stock, the clip found its way to “The Daily Show” where host Jon Stewart skewered Cramer and other financial pundits.
There have also been serious questions raised about Cramer’s prescience as a stock picker. In 2007, Barron’s produced an article that noted investors following Cramer’s recommendations would have gained just 12 percent over the two prior years compared to a 16 percent gain by the S&P 500.
Cramer’s recent track record isn’t much better. A 2016 MarketWatch article highlighted how his Action Alerts Plus portfolio was underperforming the S&P 500 since coming into existence in 2001, and that it had been getting worse since 2011, a year where the portfolio lost 11 percent while the S&P 500 held steady.
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