Looking back at the last 100 years or so, one can notice a pattern in the economic recessions that's been happening over and over again.
|Name||Start Date||Time since previous recession (months)|
|Great Depression||August, 1929||1 year 9 months|
|Recession of 1937–1938||May, 1937||4 years 2 months|
|Recession of 1945||February, 1945||6 years 8 months|
|Recession of 1949||November, 1948||3 years 1 month|
|Recession of 1953||July, 1953||3 years 9 months|
|Recession of 1958||August, 1957||3 years 3 months|
|Recession of 1960–61||April, 1960||2 years|
|Recession of 1969–70||December, 1969||8 years 10 months|
|1973–75 recession||November, 1973||3 years|
|1980 recession||1/1/1980||4 years 10 months|
|Early 1980s recession||July, 1981||1 year|
|Early 1990s recession||July, 1990||7 years 8 months|
|Early 2000s recession||March, 2001||10 years|
|Great Recession||December, 2007||6 years 1 month|
The shortest took a year and the longest is 10 years. Unless history decides to break a new record, this means a new one is coming anywhere from now until the end of 2017.
The interesting thing about recessions is that the majority of people get into panic mode - selling stocks, switching to gold and/or bonds, a natural reaction of fear towards a collapsing economy. However, this behavior creates a massive opportunity for people with cash; just imagine buying great companies like Procter & Gamble and Coca Cola for half of their intrinsic value, this usually happens during recessions, and this is exactly why one needs cash for such great opportunities.
If you manage to live for a 100 years and that's above the average life span of humans, you will at least experience 10 recessions during your lifetime, so they are not going to happen very often nor should they be ignored. Keep some cash for these opportunities, or perhaps buy stocks that give out good dividends so you would have some cash when the time comes.