From Sleeping in His Car to Financial Services Celebrity

Jim seemed to be on the track to success. He went to Harvard, became Editor-in-Chief for The Harvard Crimson and graduated with a B.A. in government. It was a promising start, and he was able to land a few entry-level journalism jobs. The most prominent was covering the Ted Bundy case in Tallahassee for the Tallahassee Democrat. However, Jim met with hard luck when his apartment was broken into and his checking account was emptied. Broke, Jim found himself living in his Ford Fairmont for the next seven months.

Jim finally landed a job at American Lawyer magazine in 1979, but still didn’t have a home and was sleeping on his sister’s floor. He decided to go to law school, where he became obsessed with the stock market and started investing what money he did have. He became so obsessed that he left stock tips on the outgoing message for his answering machine. One person who listened to the answering machine was Martin Peretz, a Harvard professor who owned the magazine New Republic. He gave Jim $500,000 to invest.

After graduating, Jim worked for three months at Goldman Sachs before starting a very successful hedge fund. Peretz and Jim founded the equally successful financial news service TheStreet.com in 1996. In 2005, Jim Cramer began hosting Mad Money on CNBC. He is currently worth about $100 million, but still has his old pay stub from his days at the Tallahassee Democrat in his wallet.

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