howwegothereWhen it comes to the current recession, just about everybody has a plan to fix it. Some people are in favor of using the government to support failing businesses. Others support letting the market move us past the current economic crisis. But if you want to sit down and have a serious discussion about some of the related details — how did we get here? what can we as individuals do to make it through this recession without major problems? — there are fewer answers available.

My search for such answers led me to take a look at How We Got Here: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Financial Crisis, Part One, by Tom Gorman. The Complete Idiot’s series isn’t usually my first stop for research. I’m more likely to hunt around online until I find a couple of articles that seem to come from an authoritative sources and start there. But The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Financial Crisis has some features that make it an ideal resource for this topic. For one thing, this particular Complete Idiot’s Guide is available only as an e-book — and it will be updated every 8 to 10 weeks with new information about the financial crisis. Beyond that, the series is known to be well researched and written in easy-to-understand language.

5 Things I Learned from The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Financial Crisis

There is plenty of pat advice and opinions available on every blog and in every newspaper. In this particular ebook, however, I was pleasantly surprised to find real facts, as well as explanations of why particular approaches may help you. I’ve outlined just five things that I learned from just the first chapter Part 1 of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Financial Crisis — there are many more useful pieces of information in the ebook, and I’m confidant that the sections due out later will be equally helpful.

  1. There are times to use debt: A common reaction to the current financial situation has been to declare all debt anathema. But the decision to use debt is not so simple. Instead, this book outlines how debt can still be useful. In particular, I found the comparison Gorman draws between using debt as way to come up with the cash to speculate to what caused banks to go under especially useful. It gets that important point across in a way that everyone can understand — and it’s a point that a lot of people have struggled with.
  2. Get creditors’ names: It may seem like an incredibly simple tip, but Gorman suggests getting the name of each person you spek with when talking to your creditors (as well as the correct spelling and pronunciation). Such an approach gives you a basis for building a relationship with a creditor — for giving them a reason to want to help you find a solution for any credit issues you may have. Most people treat creditors aggressively (and there is, admittedly, a reason for that), but this tip may let you handle creditors with a smoother approach.
  3. The basics of loan modification: If you search for information on modifying your mortgage (or another loan), you wind up with all sorts of conflicting information, making it incredibly difficult to navigate the process. Considering that The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Financial Crisis goes through a far more rigorous fact-checking process than the average website, I’m happy to rely on the information in the book. It doesn’t hurt that Gorman clearly points to further resources — most of which are government agencies which can actually help you.
  4. You can profit from the recession: I don’t think any of us want to profit from the misfortune of others — but the fact is that there are several ways to make money off the housing crisis and other effects of the recession. There are still ways to invest in real estate, from purchasing foreclosures to investing in tax lien certificates, for instance. Gorman goes over these options and talks about how they can help you get ahead during a down economy.
  5. Interpret the economy on your own: Part of the difficulty most people have in deciding what to do next is that it seems impossible to tell what way the economy will jump next. Sure, numbers like the Fed Funds Rate are thrown around as indicators — but those of use without an economics degree may not know haw to interpret those numbers. Gorman has put together a guide to what economic indicators mean to us folks down on the ground. He even adds in some advice on what we can do to secure our individual economic positions for whichever way a particular indicator is moving.

Getting The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Financial Crisis

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Financial Crisis is available in several e-book formats, including for the Amazon Kindle and a no frills PDF. Future sections will be available every eight to ten weeks. The first section is made up of five chapters. Later sections each include three chapters.

Tom Gorman is the author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Financial Crisis. He’s written and edited publications relating to economics, as well as banking and business information for over 20 years. Gorman is also the author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Economics, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to MBA Basics and The Complete Idiot’s Almanac of Business Letters and Memos.

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