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News Release

Key Lessons Learned from the 2008 Financial Crisis

September 27, 2018

As we observe the 10th anniversary of the financial crisis, there is a lot we can reflect on and learn from to avoid making the same mistakes in the future, says Senior CFP Board Ambassador Jill Schlesinger, CFP®

September 15th, 2018 marked the 10th anniversary of the 2008 financial crisis – 10 years since Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy and taxpayers began bailing out big banks. As we approach World Financial Planning Day (October 3) and reflect on the past ten years, Senior CFP Board Ambassador Jill Schlesinger, CFP® says now is the perfect time to re-evaluate your financial strategy and make sure you’re avoiding the personal finance mistakes made a decade ago.

While there are dozens of lessons to learn from the missteps taken in 2008, there are a few core takeaways that can be applied to your finances today to keep you on track and moving in the right direction towards your financial goals, even if we enter another recession. Schlesinger shares a checklist of top tips for managing your finances, inspired by the events of the financial crisis:

  1. Get Personal. Develop a thorough understanding of your personal situation (cash reserves, debt and current retirement contribution level) and let that guide your decisions.
  2. Develop a Cash Flow. Identify how much money is coming in and how much is going out to develop a short-, intermediate- and long-term game plan.
  3. Maintain a Healthy Emergency Reserve Fund. Keep a safety net (six to 12 months of expenses for workers and 12 to 24 months for retirees) to avoid selling assets and/or invading retirement accounts.
  4. Maintain a Diversified Portfolio. One of the best ways to prevent emotional swings is to create and adhere to a diversified portfolio that spreads out your risk across different asset classes.
  5. Keep Making Retirement Contributions. If you need to reduce the amount due to unforeseen circumstances, try to at least capture any company match.
  6. Manage Cash. If you need money within a year or so, keep it in a safe place, like a checking, savings or money market account, a short-term Certificate of Deposit (CD) or a bond.

Read Schlesinger’s full blog post here with more details, complete with an interactive timeline of events leading up to the collapse.

For more guidance on working through these steps and creating a comprehensive financial plan, talk to a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional today or visit


Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. is the professional body for personal financial planners in the U.S. CFP Board sets standards for financial planning and administers the prestigious CFP® certification – one of the most respected certifications in financial services – so that the public has access to and benefits from competent and ethical financial planning. CFP Board, along with its Center for Financial Planning, is committed to increasing the public’s awareness of CFP® certification and access to a diverse, ethical and competent financial planning workforce. Widely recognized by firms and consumer groups as the standard for financial planning, CFP® certification is held by more than 83,000 people in the United States.


Dan Drummond, Director of Communications
Mobile: 202-243-8621