With this in mind, Cramer created a fear gauge survival guide to help investors frame the anxiety they are feeling and make non-emotional decisions. He began by taking a look at what worked the last time the market was in disarray.
Cramer recommended stocks that he calls accidentally high yielders; that's a company that can afford to pay a good dividend. The yield suddenly balloons because the share price has fallen so much. But the key, Cramer said, is that the company must be able to cover the dividend from its cash flow.
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There might be plenty of oil and gas companies with juicy yields out there, but those dividends are not safe. As for a company like Chevron, even though it has a solid business, Cramer does not trust the stock. The last time China blew up, at the end of Aug. 15, the stock traded to $70 and closed at $83 on Thursday. This was despite the fact that oil was at $40 back then — it just doesn't add up.
Accidentally-high-yielder stocks that Cramer likes are Verizon, Pfizer, L Brands, Walgreens and Constellation Brands.
"I'm not bullish. I'm simply saying that the market can create bargains as it goes down. There aren't that many. However, to say that the decline is just beginning after the average stock is already down 20 percent seems both glib and complacent," Cramer said.
It might take work, but the bargains are out there. Ultimately, it is the fear of China, the Fed and earnings next week that drove the market lower Thursday. Cramer's survival guide worked last time the market was filled with fear, and there was actual systematic risk in the U.S. then. Now the risk is across the ocean, and Cramer thinks it will work again.