In Jim Cramer's long history of investing, it seems like no one ever wants to buy when the market is terrible. Everyone is conditioned to believe that if it's a terrible market, then a doomsday scenario is right around the corner.
But that doomsday scenario never actually happens; the market has survived even the worst of financial flops.
"I think we have to take our cue from Tolstoy's 'Anna Karenina' theorem: all happy bull markets are alike, but each unhappy bear market is unhappy in its own way. This one's unique too, so it requires a different game plan than past declines," the "Mad Money" host said.
Just because the market declined on Monday doesn't mean there aren't bargains floating around. However, Cramer warned that there are a host of bear markets out there that might seem cheap but could be treacherous.
The bad news bear groups include natural resources, technology and many international companies. Cramer suggested investors not to go anywhere near those groups.
"Some gains have to be missed because they're just too risky. Fortunately, there are enough solid choices from these groups to start some positions that make sense here," Cramer said. (Tweet This)
Cramer's No. 1 concern right now is being able to put money to work to buy stocks of companies that investors like, at prices they like. Meaning, he's not concerned with an instant profit.
However, if you are an investor who does not have the time or inclination to pick an individual stock, then Cramer recommended to buy a dividend-oriented mutual fund or ETF with higher yielding characteristics.
And for those investors who do not have the time or inclination to look for those funds, then Cramer recommended a plain old index fund.
But do not put all of your money to work at once. Cramer recommended that only a quarter should be invested right now for investors who are sitting on cash. Wait and see what the market does first. (Tweet This)
For the investors are interested in picking individual stocks, Cramer thinks a diversified portfolio with growth, dividends, domestic securities and one hyper-growth stock could be the right balance.
"I think this kind of a portfolio is superior to mutual funds or ETFs because it takes into account the best-run companies, and skips the oil, minerals and mining related stocks where the dividends are in question," Cramer said.
Read more from Mad Money with Jim Cramer
A few examples of growth stocks for Cramer are General Mills, PepsiCo, Ventas, and Kimberly-Clark or Clorox.
As for domestic security stocks, Cramer likes companies that are uniquely U.S. based and just reported excellent numbers. That group includes Kroger, Nordstrom, Home Depot and Chipotle.
Finally, a few high-fliers that Cramer likes are Netflix, Google and Apple. Cramer was worried about Apple until he received an email from its CEO Tim Cook, who confirmed that the last few weeks have been very strong for iPhone sales. Cramer concluded that if the company is strong now, who knows how much stronger it can be when China gets its act together.
"There's your list of what you should be buying into this decline, but please, not all at once. If you do that, you'll violate one of my cardinal rules: respect the frailty of human decision making and adjust your behavior accordingly," Cramer said. (Tweet This)