NPR logo Toxic Asset Update: We Get Paid.


Toxic Asset Update: We Get Paid.

Planet Money got paid today, but we didn't get much. Our monthly check from our toxic asset was $44.81* — down from $141.33 last month.

The formula that determines our monthly payment is complicated, and we can expect it to bounce up and down from month to month.

The key question, really, is this: What are the total losses our asset has sustained? It takes losses when a house goes into foreclosure and gets sold at a loss. When the total losses in our bond hit $101,194,000, our toxic asset dies and we don't get any more money. It's unclear whether our asset will live long enough to pay us back the $1,000 we spent to buy it.

Since our last monthly update, our asset has taken another $2.7 million in losses, bringing the total losses to $78.5 million. The graph below shows how losses have grown over time. That pink line is The Line of Death — once we hit that, we're finished.

toxic asset losses

For more on our toxic asset, watch the video, read the frequently asked questions, and look at the interactive graphic.

*Correction: An earlier version of this post reported the wrong number for our most recent monthly payment.