If You’re Making $120K in Portland, Here’s How You Should Spend It

Green investment, a beginner’s guide to philanthropy, and how to make bank on a vacation home

Edited by Marty Patail By Zach Dundas and Emma Mannheimer January 25, 2016

The Golden Years

The kids are on their way out of the house. Finally!

Your income: $120,000 

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Be a Green Giant

Three tips on socially responsible investing from Paul Hilton of Trillium Asset Management, which offers fossil-fuel-free mutual funds:

  1. “There’s no reason to sacrifice returns. Environmentally and socially responsible investments can do just as well as any investments.”
  2. “With that in mind, an investor should focus on what is most important to them individually. Is it climate change and fossil-fuel divestment? There are lots of ways to do that. Is it corporate governance?”
  3. “The landscape is completely different than it was 10 years ago, when advisers would say, ‘Just make as much money as you can and then give to charity.’ Now every firm should have answers on this for every investor.”

Time to downsize?

Mary Spann, the Portland-based cofounder of the Upside of Downsizing, says every situation is different. “For us,” she explains, “we found our home and our yard to be consuming too much of our time. We started resenting our friends on the weekends who were at the beach. We moved into a high-rise in the South Waterfront, and we do not miss our big home at all. But, if you’re doing fine—socially, financially, and physically—then I say, age in place.”

How to give money away

Anyone can fire off a $100 check. Looking to make a deeper commitment to a cause? “We find out what people’s passion is and figure out the best way to leverage the dollars you have,” says Joan Vallejo of the Oregon Community Foundation, which manages 1,900 individual and family funds in the state. The process is low on paperwork, Vallejo says: an OCF staffer works to draft a long-term plan for you, whether you’re giving to a particular charity or cause or to a general fund.

You’re the Landlord!

You’re going to buy that sweet Manzanita cottage and make bank renting it out. We asked Gerard Lester of Portland-based vacation rental management company Vacasa for his advice:

  • “Think of it as a business, not a second home.”
  • “People try to use couches that could have gone to a dorm room. It’s not appealing.”
  • “Hot tubs! It’s not even using the hot tub—it’s the idea of the hot tub. People are searching for those amenities.”
  • “Have a reserve fund for repairs.”
  • “Momentum takes a while. One good review leads to the next rental.”
  • “Places are never done. Be prepared to fine-tune.”
  • “Don’t expect to make income and be free on holidays, too.”
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