Last Thursday, just as the market took one of its worst falls of the year, Jim Cramer gulped in fear.
But it wasn't because of the stock market.
Rather, it was Cramer's reaction to what Oaktree Capital investor Howard Marks told CNBC. After all, when someone like Marks who is known for whipping the distressed debt markets speaks, Cramer listens.
"When I listened to Marks, I gulped," the "Mad Money" host said. "Without saying he's outright bearish on equities, he made it pretty clear that he thinks you're a fool to own stocks, that you are taking too much risk and that investors seemed unaware of everything that could go wrong."
Cramer admitted that he was fuming at how easily Marks expressed caution and negativity, which prompted him to research bearish calls that Marks made in 2010. Cramer soon discovered that Marks had the same intense negativity about stocks back then as he did on Thursday.
In an interview in 2010, Marks expressed concern with how reliant the economy was on government stimulus, artificially low interest rates, commercial real estate and commercial mortgages at banks.
Marks said he felt stocks were fairly valued, and it was time to reassess the market because those who took risks made big money in the prior year. While these were only some of the concerns Marks had, he made it very clear that investors should make up their own mind.
"But come on. What do you say to that litany of horribles? To me it says get out now. And people did. In droves," Cramer said.
However, with exception of commercial real estate and consumer worries, Cramer found that all of the worries then would have kept investors from the greatest gains of a lifetime.
"The worries were genuine. Nevertheless, they produced a tremendous multi-year buying opportunity," Cramer said.
Just as 2010 was a great opportunity to buy, Cramer thinks the sell-off last Thursday was also a good buying opportunity.
Cramer reminded investors to put faith in themselves, and the management of high-quality American companies, rather than smart money managers who may not have the same priorities.
"It's fine for a guy like Marks to be risk averse. He's already a billionaire and you only need to get rich once. For the rest of us, I think you're better off listening to yourself," Cramer said.
Watch the full segment here: