Mad Money

Counterintuitive maybe, but this strategy works, says Cramer

Cramer: Put in time, forget the index fund

It may seem counter-intuitive, but Jim Cramer says this strategy should serve you well.

That is, when the feels horrible, resist the urge to sell.

The "Mad Money" host believes success in the market involves strategic timing and selling into weakness is anything but strategic.

That's especially true when an unexpected catalyst emerges suddenly and sends the market into a selling tizzy. "Your instincts will be telling you to panic, to run for cover" said Cramer.

However, history shows that most of the time your instincts would be dead wrong.

Looking at some of the worst developments that sent stocks tumbling in recent years, sellers ultimately regretted their decision.

"Whether the Fiscal Cliff, the sequestration scare, the US bond downgrade, the debt ceiling debacle, the Japanese nuclear crisis, or the Flash Crash, in each and every instance selling was wrong," Cramer said.

Image Source | Getty Images

In fact, across his career Cramer added that "at almost every single time of maximum fear, strategic buying was the better move."

Cramer says almost because once, there was a period when panic selling was smart.

"It happened in 2008," Cramer said. "It was the downdraft generated by the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the entire financial crisis," said Cramer.

That was a sell the panic moment because developments were happening so rapidly and they were so complex and confusing they threatened the whole system.

Read more from Mad Money with Jim Cramer
Cramer: Stocks reflect America's innovative spirit
Prepaid profits: Gift giving stock
Gauging the power of nat gas trade

"The market was truly burning," Cramer said and just as in the case of a real fire, all that mattered was getting out alive. "You deal with the rest later," Cramer explained.

However, anything short of a systemic failure and Cramer says resist.

"Every other time, in every other crash or correction or sell-off, you either could afford to wait, or should have bought," Cramer said. "Remember that the next time we get a horrible pullback."

Call Cramer: 1-800-743-CNBC

Questions for Cramer?

Questions, comments, suggestions for the "Mad Money" website?