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If you don't own gold, buy some. If you do own gold, I would wait.

That's not contradictory, despite how it may sound.

I think gold has to be an integral part of every portfolio. I have been saying that for about five years now, and I mean it. You have to have it. It has to be part of your diversification, because it is both a currency and a commodity.

Here's the problem, and it is a real high-quality problem: If you have been listening to me, you are struggling right now with the

size

of your gold position. I think it should be up to 20% of your portfolio. But for some of us -- like in my retirement plan -- gold is now 30%. It has just moved up. It is too big. It is now the swing factor.

Now I don't mind that it is so big. There are plenty of places that are worse than gold.

However, to buy more here if you have that kind of exposure is just averaging up in the worst way. No thanks.

If you want to buy gold, let's go over the pecking order. First, I like bullion, no markup if bought at one of the big firms ... but you have to store it, and you don't want to do so in your house.

Then I like the

SPDR Gold Trust

(GLD) - Get SPDR Gold Trust Report

, which, because of convenience, is a near-perfect proxy that I am not worried about in terms of the possibility that there is no "gold" there. I know people are worried after the University of Texas is taking physical delivery of its gold. But I think that the GLD is set up well and is about a perfect an investment vehicle for those who want exposure. Put simply, the GLD tracks gold much better than the other ETFs track other physical commodities.

Then I like the gold stocks, particularly

Goldcorp

(GG)

and

TheStreet Recommends

Barrick

(ABX)

for blue-chip and

Novagold

(NG) - Get Novagold Resources Inc Report

for speculation. I don't care that Barrick diversified heavily into some copper with the

Equinox

bid. Goldcorp has the best, most consistent growth. Novagold is a total call on the upside of gold, as it's just now doing feasibility studies on gigantic north American mines that you may see nothing from in the next five years. But it is the best unexplored property in the safest areas on earth. Why not all gold stocks? The cost of finding and digging has gone way up, so many of these gold stocks have not kept pace.

How about coins? I would love them, but the markup's too great to swallow and there is no reason to buy a coin that is trading out of whack with the actual metal.

So bullion, GLD, stocks, then coins.

Only, though, if you don't own any. Leave room for a downdraft for gold after Ben Bernanke speaks on Wednesday. If he does anything that will be interpreted as a reason to sell bonds -- and therefore raise interest rates -- gold will get hurt, as it thrives in low-interest-rate environments.

But remember, gold has outperformed all assets in the last decade -- all of them -- in both high and low interest rates, so don't expect too big a downturn. Way too many people want in, and way too many have too little exposure. No wonder it keeps going higher!

At the time of publication, Cramer was long Novagold.

Jim Cramer, founder of TheStreet.com, writes daily market commentary for TheStreet.com's RealMoney and runs the charitable trust portfolio,

Action Alerts PLUS

. He also participates in video segments on TheStreet.com TV and serves as host of CNBC's "Mad Money" television program.

Mr. Cramer graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College, where he was president of The Harvard Crimson. He worked as a journalist at the Tallahassee Democrat and the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, covering everything from sports to homicide before moving to New York to help start American Lawyer magazine. After a three-year stint, Mr. Cramer entered Harvard Law School and received his J.D. in 1984. Instead of practicing law, however, he joined Goldman Sachs, where he worked in sales and trading. In 1987, he left Goldman to start his own hedge fund. While he worked at his fund, Mr. Cramer helped start Smart Money for Dow Jones and then, in 1996, he founded TheStreet.com, of which he is chairman and where he has served as a columnist and contributor since. In 2000, Mr. Cramer retired from active money management to embrace media full time, including radio and television.

Mr. Cramer is the author of "

Confessions of a Street Addict

," "You Got Screwed," "Jim Cramer's Real Money," "Jim Cramer's Mad Money," "Jim Cramer's Stay Mad for Life" and, most recently, "Jim Cramer's Getting Back to Even." He has written for Time magazine and New York magazine and has been featured on CBS' 60 Minutes, NBC's Nightly News with Brian Williams, Meet the Press, Today, The Tonight Show, Late Night and MSNBC's Morning Joe.