Have Your Toast and Get Rich Too: A Realistic Guide to Personal Finance

It’s not a conversation anyone likes to have, especially in Portland. It’s bad enough to live in a city where the cost of living keeps rising while wages stagnate and the gap between rich and poor is widening to historic levels. Meanwhile, you can hardly scroll through Twitter without coming across some article mocking your spending habits and shaming you for eating avocado toast when you should be saving for a house.

Even if your ramen-hoarding years are behind you and you’re finally making something close to “adult money,” figuring out what to do with it beyond “pay bills, buy more avocado toast” is so fraught with anxiety most of us would just prefer not to think about it at all.

We feel you. We’re journalists, after all.

Eventually, though, everyone reaches a point where money is no longer just an abstract concept flowing in and out of your checking account. At some point, you’re going to have to understand the difference between a 401(k), an IRA and a Roth IRA, what a good investment portfolio looks like, and what the hell “compound interest” means.

It’s inevitable. But it doesn’t have to be painful—or boring.

In this issue, we’re offering a crash course on getting your shit together, financially speaking. We talked to three local financial planners, to get answers to some basic questions you might be too embarrassed to ask, from where to put your money to how to buy a house even if you don’t think it’s possible. If you’re dead-set against traditional home ownership, we looked into several alternative living scenarios, including tiny homes, yurts, sailboats and converted school buses.

We’ve listed state programs all Oregonians should take advantage of if you’re trying to save for your kid’s college education or your own retirement. If you’re simply looking to declutter and free up some cash in the process, we put together a list of Portland rental services, where you can rent anything from cats to kitchen appliances. And if you’re searching for an industry to invest in that you might actually care about, we’ve arranged a primer on the emerging market for cannabis stocks.

And hey, if you’d rather just spend your money while you have it—go ahead, it’s fine! Again, we chose to go into journalism, so who are we to judge? In fact, if all you want is to eat avocado toast, we’ve given you lines on where to find the best in town.

Ideally, we’d live in a society where none of us would have to be burdened by this stuff. But until the socialist uprising comes, this is the system we’re stuck with. The good news is it’s possible to make capitalism work for you. You really can have it all—the tiny home, the cat and all the artisanal toast you desire. All you need is a plan.

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