Suze Orman: Americans are 'forgetting the lessons' of the 2008 financial crisis

Suze Orman: Reflecting on the 10 year anniversary of the Wall Street financial crisis
Suze Orman: Reflecting on the 10 year anniversary of the Wall Street financial crisis

It's been 10 years since the 2008 financial crisis, and some experts worry that Americans are falling back into old habits.

"I thought for a while that it had gotten healthier, and now I'm seeing that everybody wants to buy real estate again, everybody wants to own a home, everybody wants to flip a home," author and financial advisor Suze Orman said on the CNBC show "Closing Bell."

"When people talk to me about investing, they're not talking to me about the stock market and mutual funds; they're talking to me constantly about buying another piece of real estate, and I'm sitting there going, 'Did you learn nothing? Did you learn nothing in the past?'" she said.

When the bottom seems to drop out of the market, it's important to remember not to panic and sell everything out of fear. Don't only think about the next year but the next 10-20 years after that, she said. You don't want to make financial decisions based on emotion.

Instead, be strategic: "A fortune was made starting in 2009 if you had just held on," Orman said on "Closing Bell." "If you hadn't sold, if you hadn't panicked, if you were in good quality stocks, you would be sitting so pretty today it wouldn't even be funny."

Keeping in mind the lessons learned 10 years ago is key, Orman said: "They're starting to get nervous again. 'Should I sell? Should I do this?' They're forgetting the lessons that the last 10 years should have taught everybody."

Suze Orman: 'Throw away your financial to-do list'
Suze Orman: 'Throw away your financial to-do list'

Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett takes a similar view. As the financial crisis set in, the legendary investor wasn't selling — he was buying American stocks, he shared in an opinion piece for The New York Times on Oct. 16, 2008.

In his view, the long-term value of innovative American business would continue to grow, despite the short term pain of the crisis. Buffett warned against investing in "highly leveraged entities, or businesses in weak competitive positions," but urged readers to see that the downturn provided an opportunity to buy strong companies at low prices.

"In short, bad news is an investor's best friend. It lets you buy a slice of America's future at a marked-down price," Buffett explained in the op-ed. "Fears regarding the long-term prosperity of the nation's many sound companies make no sense. These businesses will indeed suffer earnings hiccups, as they always have. But most major companies will be setting new profit records 5, 10 and 20 years from now."

That prediction turned out to be correct: In the 10 years since the fall of Lehman Brothers, the S&P 500 has increased by 130 percent and companies like Apple and Amazon have soared to new heights, hitting trillion dollar valuations.

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