I tend to listen to a lot of podcasts while doing housework. Listening to things like Planet Money makes washing the dishes fun... well, maybe not, but it makes it feel like I'm learning something new while doing the same old same old.<!--more-->
Not too long ago, the members of Planet Money pitched in, pooled their money, and bought their own $1,000's worth of real estate based toxic assets. You can hear about how they picked their asset, bought it, and how it's doing. You can also hear about the types of things that affect whether the Planet Money team will get a good return on their investment.... It turns out, that having people not pay their monthly mortgage is ok, since the person who gave out the mortgage is then responsible for paying the money into the toxic asset coffers... whoever, if the home owners refinance, then the amount of money they have to pay decreases, and so the pay out to the toxic asset decreases. There's also all sorts of other stories about the history of their specific toxic asset including an eye opening animated graphic showing the rate that the loans in the asset are going into delinquency. (I do have to say that one of the downfalls of the graphic is that the number of loans in each state is not immediately apparent, even though these numbers vary from one to several thousand... so make sure you hover over the states you think are interesting to check the sample size).
It's a great series of stories, and it lets you understand about toxic assets, and even makes you feel bad for Toxy.... Yes, Toxy is the name of the toxic asset. But seriously, this is some reporting that takes a subject that is often presented as dead boring and overly complicated, and Planet Money makes the subject personal, interesting, and entertaining. Just wanted to share.