Jim Cramer Interview: Revs up the ‘American Dream’ with NASCAR

You can feel the energy peel off financial guru and media star Jim Cramer. “There’s always a bull market somewhere and I promise to try to find it just for you,” Cramer said yesterday in an interview.

One of many nuggets he laid on a group of us assembled to figure out why Jim was heading to NASCAR to rejuvenate the “American Dream” spirit in a demographic hard hit by a volatile global economy, current politics and corporate greed. 

Values are key to the core message of his latest show “The American Dream with Jim Cramer” which will be airing on NBC – his first primetime special on July 13 at 7:00 pm.

Best advice he ever got?  “It would be from my dad which is tell the truth. Tell the truth to yourself and tell the truth to others, and then everything takes care of itself if you work hard.”

Cramer is normally known for his high octane show, “Mad Money with Jim Cramer”

Cramer was direct and with typical rapid-fire staccato made his point. “I think everyone on this call and everyone pretty much in America knows that right now people need help financially, more than pretty much any other time that I’ve seen, even including the 1987 stock market crash.

I am a stock market guy so I tend to relate things to the history of the market. But you understand this is about the economy. I think people feel defeated. I think it’s very clear that the next election is going to be determined by the economy.

The real people out there – the cross-section of people that I think have been most affected are the people who are represented by NASCAR. I am a huge fan of NASCAR so it came quite easily to me to think this is where you want to go to help the people who feel that things have gotten out of control, who feel defeated, who now believe that the American Dream financially can never occur, can never happen to them.”

Cramer continued: “And we went to NASCAR to try to get people to understand ideas, how to change their lives, how to be able to work (be high) gas, deal with retirement, build wealth, get started and show them that they can be their own gurus in making money.”

Monsters and Critics joined a few other journalists and spoke to Jim regarding the premise of Cramer’s new show, and related investment questions.

Americans have been done a terrible disservice by the lack of financial education in our schools. People don’t know how to manage money. The NASCAR guys have business managers. They have people that handle their money.  How will you be talking to the average NASCAR fan who is not a sophisticated investor?

Jim Cramer: Oh absolutely. While we do talk with a lot of the greater drivers – you know, we talk with – we spend some time with Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards who are in the top five.

I want to make it very clear that it’s the venue, the people at NASCAR, the cross-section of America that we’re appealing to. I will make no secret of the fact that indeed the people – the drivers themselves have a level of sophistication.
But frankly they, too, want to help and they are living the American Dream. I think others should be able to live the American Dream and I do believe that the – our interaction with the drivers was important in order to be able to frankly, see what was all around us.

I mean, I am someone who sees ideas. I want other people to see ideas and it’s pretty easy when you’re dealing with the sponsors of Kyle Busch and when you’re dealing with the people whose – the companies that’s names are on Carl Edwards’ car.

But I don’t want to say that they were foils. I will say that they are the epitome of what you want to be and you can be at least financially, if you listen to the show.

Are you going to be honest with American people? Are you going to tell them that the gross consumerism and the spending, and the disregard for managing credit needs to stop? Are you going to really talk the truth to people?

Jim Cramer: Anybody who knows me knows that I’m addicted to the truth. And a lot of times, the truth is really unpleasant.

A lot of times people don’t want to hear it, but I am not just about trying to – it – look, I am a – it’s a Hippocratic oath, first do no harm. Try to get people to be in a stable situation where they’re not losing a lot of money.

But I’m about saving and making money and I am saying that even in this time, you can strike back. You can begin to save for retirement if you haven’t. You can put money away for your kids.

And I don’t think that this is a situation or any other time that I’ve ever seen in America where you can’t be proactive. It’s not all about not just taking a beating. It’s about being able to really make some money, even in this time.

We’re talking to real people. People ask me questions about retirement, about high gas prices, about stock market, about saving for their kids and I give them real answers.

I don’t coddle anybody and I don’t try to claim that this is the greatest time on earth. I am saying it’s a tough time and I’m going to help you.

So you’re going to offer constructive criticism to people on how to maybe manage where they’re out of control or where they’re blind, or in denial about their spending habits?

Jim Cramer: Yes, but remember,  I make it very clear that if someone is spending – I can’t help anybody who is throwing money away in credit cards and big – and high interest.  I can’t help anybody who is spending more than their means. And I make it very clear that you can never recover from those things, so let’s get even keel first and then we can begin to make money.

But no, I’m not – look, I’m not a stern cash master who came in there and annihilated people who were kind enough to be able to be with me at the Coca-Cola 600 at the Lowes Motor Speedway.

I am a realist and I do try to get people to understand I can’t help them until they help themselves.

But once they do, I am very confident that even in this horrible environment, we can help people. This show is not just about NASCAR and not just about the people in that that came to see the race. It’s about everybody in America who is struggling with a belief that you can never have the American dream again.

And I am saying you can if you get off of debt, if you begin to save – no matter how little and no matter how late, I can help you.

What would you say to people about financial sense?

Jim Cramer:   I think people are forced into spending more money these days because of the basics: gasoline and food. I think it’s the nature of our country to not know how to save. We’re never taught it.

Other countries spend much more time about money. We’re somewhat embarrassed to talk about money in this country. I’m not. I am happy to teach. I am happy to get people to understand that it’s not too late to save.

Most people asked me when I was at NASCAR how do you save? What do you do? They don’t say how do I spend better? They want to know. It’s overwhelming for the vast majority of Americans because well think about it, this is a country where we were taught two things for years and years: social security and the company you work at will take care of you.

Neither one is worth counting on now. So I say you got to count on yourself and I help you do that.