I can genuinely sum up this book in one word: genius. And while I may have made an extremely bold statement, it’s more than validated. You see, Slim Thug isn’t your typical rapper. He’s an entrepreneur and a music mogul, who recently expanded his range into the hypercritical world of authorship. His new book, How to Survive in a Recession, released in mid-July 2012, surprisingly garnered rave reviews. I must admit that when I heard that he wrote the book himself, I was more than skeptical. Hysterical even. But from page one, it’s blatantly obvious that no one but Thugga could write this book, and that no one could bring more attention to this subject matter than a man who identifies wholeheartedly with the very audience he seeks to reach.
I call the book genius for one simple fact: it generates interest in financial issues. Not in the way that Suze Orman generates the interest of mainstream America with her wealth of financial expertise and knowledge. Not in the way that Napoleon Hill has taken the financial self-help world by storm with the Think Rich Grow Rich series of books. But in a way that urban America will sit down and take these same issues seriously. Through the eyes of one of the most respected hustlers in the hip hop industry, the urban community has a book that speaks to us in our language, about real situations that we can relate to and apply into our own lives. Hard core facts and insightful storytelling highlight the financial tips and advice in this book, creating a resourceful guide that his target audience will actually gravitate to. Where mainstream financial advisors fail to attract the attention of those who could use the information most, Slim Thug brings awareness to economic and financial issues in a way that the urban community will respond to.
One of my personal favorite tips from Slim’s book is:
“14. Never buy a car before buying a house.”
Why this particular quote? Because as a culture, black people are eccentric and flashy. We have to be seen in the latest model, swagged out; whether we can really afford it or not is irrelevant. The problem with buying expensive cars is that these cars don’t hold any real value. As soon as you drive it off the lot, it depreciates. In laymen’s terms, that means that if you drive it off the lot and turn back around to sell it back to the dealer, a $75,000 car is now worth maybe $60,000 on a good day. And you haven’t driven it not one full mile! On the other hand, a house is totally different. A year after closing the deal, my house is worth $15,000 more than what I paid for it, unlike that hypothetical luxury car that dropped the same amount in value in less than 10 seconds. Ere go, the basis of Thugga’s point for tip 14:
“Renting won’t allow you to build your net worth…you could buy a house and let your money grow toward something. That way, if you decide to move again, you could sell and get your money back,”
and then some. You actually profit out of the deal. If I decided to sell now, not only would I get all the money back that I’ve put into the home, I’d make a few extra thousand on the deal as well.
Another valid tip from Slim:
“21. Don’t pay rent that’s higher than a mortgage would be.”
Check. See, my apartment search quickly turned into house hunting when I realized that I could pay less to owe a larger property than to rent a smaller one. I bought a comfortable 3 bedroom, 2.5 bathroom house instead of renting a one or two bedroom apartment because, honestly, buying was cheaper than renting. Instead of living in over-priced low-income housing (ain’t that about an oxymoron) or the local hood apartments where I’d fear for my and my child’s safety, I found a home that costs substantially less per month to owe. But the very possibility alludes most black people because they never even think to check into these options. With decent credit and a few thousand dollars saved up, it’s too easy to get into a house now. (Well, at least in Houston it is!) FHA loans only require 3.5% down, meaning on a $100,000 home, you only need to bring $3,500 to closing. With a credit score of 650 or more, you’ll qualify for some pretty good interest rates too. All this is to say that as an urban culture, we got to change our way of thinking in terms of finances, and with Slim Thug’s new book, it engages our community to start talking about investing, hopefully leading to improved financial literacy.
Now while I’m aware of the basic principles behind may of Thugga’s tips, I’m still standing steadfast to my bold statement and saying once again, that he is genius for this book. How to Survive in a Recession is the perfect platform to strike up conversation on financial and economic standards that the urban culture seems negligent about. I mean, who doesn’t want to learn more about money from a man that’s hustled his way from the bottom to the top? Pick up your copy of How to Survive in a Recession and stimulate your mind to fatten your pockets.