The Buffettisms are being trotted out by the dozens these days. A few of our favorites:
Only buy something that you'd be perfectly happy to hold if the market shut down for 10 years.
I will tell you how to become rich. Close the doors. Be fearful when others are greedy. Be greedy when others are fearful.
A market downturn doesn't bother us. As long-term investors it is an opportunity to increase our ownership of great companies with great management at good prices.
Unfortunately, these sane nuggets of investing wisdom are being drowned out by that other message dominating the news: "Global Meltdown!" "Big Weekly Wipeout!" "Bush Calls for Panic!" Worst of all, they're not an exaggeration. Well, except for that last one, which we lifted from humor news weekly The Onion.
Still, you get the gist. We've watched the S&P 500 plummet nearly 45% in a single year, economic indicators turn more menacing than the terrorism threat level, and iconic financial institutions kneel hat-in-hand before the Bank of Uncle Sam.
Historians coined the crisis "The Panic of 2008" mere days after it began. Sadly, the label has proved apt.
Hop off the emotional rollercoaster
Whether or not panic is truly justified remains to be seen. We do know that at times like these, history tells us that investors with nerves of steel make the most money, even if it takes a few years for them to be proven right. Financial deliverance comes only to those who are of sound mind and investment philosophy. Right now, most investors have a hard time getting into that head space.
So let's go back to Buffett -- the voice of reason with the record to back it up -- who recently wrote in the New York Times:
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.
Spoken like a true investor. And, putting his money where his mouth is, Buffett's been on a buying spree of late, snapping up preferred stock in Goldman Sachs
Follow the Fool's rules for surviving and prospering
There is no better time than the present to be an investor. We mean it. To show you how to find profits in panic and opportunity amid chaos, we've put together this special report -- a Fool's playbook, if you will -- with four essential investing lessons to heed in every market, but particularly this one.
For more in our "What Investors Should Be Doing Right Now" Special Report:
- Remain True to Your Core Investing Principles
- Tune Out the Noise and Brush Up on the Basics
- Rein In Your Caveman Brain
- How to Profit From the Pessimism