Reboot Your Life: Money

Our expert panel sees you through the year.

Rich Man’s World

Our expert panel sees you through the year.

We turned to the experts for financial advice, assembling a supergroup of financial genii: Jim Cramer, host of CNBC’s Mad Money w/Jim Cramer; Mark Cuban, billionaire entrepreneur and owner of the Dallas Mavericks; and fellow billionaire and founder of Virgin Group, Sir Richard Branson. Listen to these people: They’re rich!


Start the new year by investing in yourself.

“Investing in yourself is the best advice I can offer,” says Branson. “A few years ago two young entrepreneurs had a vision for a service that didn’t exist: playing competitive online games for cash prizes. So they built it and joined up with us to expand, and that’s how Virgin Gaming got its start.” That’s right: Sir Richard Branson is telling you that you can make money from playing games.

Cuban’s advice is even simpler and to the (for many of us, sharp, painful) point: “Pay off all your credit cards. It’s the best investment you will ever make.”


Get in the habit of saving.

“Don’t be a stock market sucker,” advises Cuban. “You’re always the sucker at the table when you make a trade in the market. There are companies that live just to take advantage of you.”

Having money in the bank, he reasons, is worth a lot more than having money in shares. “You can increase your net worth more by buying normal consum­ables like toothpaste, soap, etc., in bulk at the local Sam’s Club than you will trying to pick the next big stock. And remember—cash is king.”

If you do feel like investing a bit of your hard-saved cash, it’s actually possible to take advantage of other people’s saving habits.

“Summer’s always been the best time to prepare for the fall,” explains Cramer. “In a frugal environment, more people are shopping at outlets (including me!), which makes me want to invest in Tanger Outlets. They’re an extremely well-run real estate investment trust with a nice-size dividend. Just remember: Always do your homework!”


Learn to diversify

“You shouldn’t be afraid to diversify if you are in a position to do so: Nothing ever stays exactly the same,” says Branson. “If Virgin hadn’t moved on from our first business—music retail—we’d have been in far more trouble than we are now, having taken many risks and trying different things.”

It’s good advice for those with an entrepreneurial frame of mind, but what about those looking maybe just to invest in new areas? Cramer’s got one word for you: clothes.

“In the fall Nike rocks!” he enthuses. “That’s when we get the big apparel surge from kids who want new sneaks and sports gear. Nike management is not content to just dominate the U.S. They are all about China these days—2.6 billion shoes to go with 1.3 billion people—that’s a good target market.”

Cramer also recommends investing in the North Face as the weather starts to turn colder.

“They keep getting bigger and better, and it’s fun to make money off a brutal cold season. Consider it revenge against bad weather while you and your portfolio stay warm!”


Ah, screw it– just blow it all.

We couldn’t talk to guys like this without at least asking what they like to splurge on. For Branson the answer’s easy: “Space travel! There are millions of people out there who would love to go into space. With the birth of Virgin Galactic, I hope we can make their dreams come true.”

And for those who don’t have the urge to boldly go where no entrepreneur has gone before?

“When you can’t resist the urge to just blow it all, rent a 767 and have a flying party,” urges Cuban. “Start in your hometown, load up your buddies, and hop city to city, drinking and telling lies and picking up more friends in each city until you get to Vegas. Then gamble and party for a few hours and ask every woman you meet to come party with you on your 767.” Mark, next time you do this, call us. Please?

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