More often than not, however, stocks under $10 a share are tiny names that you've probably never heard of. These may be fads or companies that are mere shells of their former selves. But that doesn't mean that there aren't diamonds in the rough out there if you know where to look.
Stay Close to Home
Back in the old days, part of diversification used to mean owning a foreign stock, Cramer told viewers, one with exposure to the red-hot emerging markets. But with fiasco in Europe crushing all things international, the tables have turned, making stocks firmly rooted here in the U.S. look pretty good by comparison. That's why part of the new diversification requires one stock that offers domestic security, said Cramer, anything that is USA all the way. Cramer said that could be a phone company like AT&T ( T) or Verizon ( VZ) or a utility such as Consolidated Edison ( ED) or Duke Energy ( DUK), all of which are also high-yielders. But investors could also choose a regional to national restaurant chain like Dunkin Brands ( DNKN) or a real estate investment trust like Federal Realty Trust ( FRT) or Tanger Factory Outlets ( SKT). Cramer said the bottom line is investors need to be thinking about all-American companies for the foreseeable future.
All That Glitters
Cramer's last tip for investors is to always include some gold in their portfolios. Gold, he said, has a special property that makes it precious -- it goes up when everything else is going down. It's insurance against economic uncertainty, geopolitical chaos and inflation. Cramer said to think of gold at stock insurance, just as valuable as homeowner's or auto insurance. Gold has been the best performing asset class year after year for the past decade, racking up gains consistently at a time when just about everything else has been disappointing. Owning gold, said Cramer, is not just about the upside, however: It's also about minimizing the downside. Cramer put a spotlight on the SPDR Gold Shares ( GLD) exchange-traded fund as his favorite way to invest in gold. For investors who can afford to buy larger quantities of gold, owning gold bullion or gold coins is also a wise choice, he added. But beware of the gold mining stocks, Cramer cautioned. While these companies benefit from the increasing scarcity of the precious metal, they also encompass countless ways to screw things up, costing investors dearly. "If you want exposure to gold," Cramer concluded, "do the easy thing and buy the GLD." --Written by Scott Rutt in Washington, D.C. To email Scott about this article, click here: Scott Rutt Follow Scott on Twitter @ScottRutt or get updates on Facebook, ScottRuttDCTo watch replays of Cramer's video segments, visit the Mad Money page on CNBC.