Got Gold?

In a market as uncertain as this, investors should consider gold, Cramer said during Monday’s show.

Gold is a classic insurance policy for any portfolio. With oil up huge – over $16 just today – the Dow down 373 points, and a $700 billion bailout plan being debated in Washington, insurance is exactly what’s needed right now.

Cramer’s not necessarily a believer in this oil surge, he said, but if it’s real, then gold should rally, too. If demand is softer than it looks, then again gold’s the choice here because it’s, typically, a great hedge against all this market madness. (Check out this WSJ story about how the world’s central banks are turning to gold.)

Keep in mind another point Cramer made: Any environment where Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are struggling to stay afloat is a precarious one for investors. That’s when you reach for a gold stock like Agnico-Eagle Mines or an exchange-traded fund that mimics the commodity’s price, such as the one Cramer’s charitable trust just bought, SPDR Gold Trust (GLD).

There’s no guarantee Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson’s plan to clear the market of the bad mortgage-related paper that’s hurt Wall Street so badly will make it through Congress. That could mean a frozen financial system, Cramer said, and in turn a depression. If that happens, then gold could become “the only trusted store of value,” especially if depositors flee their money market funds.

But even if Paulson succeeds, gold could be a winner. When a government prints large amounts of money, say $700 billion, for an initiative like this one, inflation increases. Gold is the best hedge against inflation.

Beyond this main reason for owning gold, for defense, there’s a chance this investment could be more than just insurance. Cramer said there are anecdotal stories about Dubai merchants who are unable to keep gold in stock because demand for jewelry in the developing world. So your gold holdings could tick up regardless of how things here at home pan out.

Cramer’s suggestion: Buy Agnico-Eagle, Barrick Gold or an ETF that mimics the price of gold to take advantage of what he thinks could be a run in price per ounce up to $1,000.

Jim’s charitable trust owns SPDR Gold Trust.

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