You might look back at 2008 and say, "That year did what?!" Or maybe 2008 will become The Year That Must Not Be Named. Sure, 2008 was definitely memorable -- but when it comes to your portfolio, 2008 will probably not be among your fondest recollections.

For many investors and companies, 2008 was disastrous. Individual investors have seen their portfolios and retirement accounts take a horrendous beating. Consumer confidence is dropping, and foreclosures are mounting. Meanwhile, what started off as government intervention into JPMorgan Chase's (NYSE:JPM) purchase of Bear Stearns has ignited a stream of companies clamoring for government dollars.

Now, everyone from General Motors (NYSE:GM) and Citigroup (NYSE:C) to AIG and Fannie Mae has received bailout funds from the government. Heck, even farm-equipment maker Deere (NYSE:DE) and conglomerate General Electric (NYSE:GE) have received backing on their debt. Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS), and American Express (NYSE:AXP) even took the extreme measure of becoming bank holding companies, just to tap into government-allocated dollars. Wow -- who could have predicted that? And where do consumers sign up?

Spare some change for 2009?
2009 may or may not bring change. While many are hopeful that the arrival of a new U.S. president will improve matters, many more cannot deny the financial problems plaguing our country and the world. Depending on whom you talk or listen to, 2009 could be the year of opportunity, or the year of more financial doom and gloom.

Fools, we prefer to be optimistic. Tanking stock prices have left massive companies at undervalued prices not seen in years. With careful research and a few lessons from the mistakes of 2008, you can come out on top in 2009.

During the month of December, we've been reviewing 2008 and forecasting what 2009 will bring. You can see all of our coverage below. And stay tuned in 2009, as we'll continue to bring you your daily dose of Foolish analysis.

Cheers to a New Year and a fresh financial start!

Investing Lessons of 2008:

2008 in review:

Predictions for 2009:

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.