Team Modernist on Real Estate, Our New Intern and John Oliver

This month we’re sharing our thoughts on renting vs owning, kick-ass women helping each other and our favorite news-median, John Oliver. We hope you enjoy.

Nerds of note on renting vs. owning

Around the office, we call real estate The Most Irrational Asset Class because it seems to have a unique allure that no other investment can quite match. It’s understandable, since real estate can represent our net worth, self-worth and identity. It's where we nurture our families, retreat from the world to craft and share meals, make love, and celebrate. Lately, with 1000 people moving to Oregon every month, there’s even more urgency to buy before you get “priced out of the market forever.” And with the recent rate of rent increases, buying can seem like the obvious choice…

As usual, the right answer to the buy vs. rent question is a boring “depends.” This handy calculator helps untangle this complicated decision.

Note: You’ll need to make some assumptions for the calculator. This spring Oregon had the dubious honor of being the #2 state for year-over-year real estate price increases at 15.1%, yet the long-term growth rate for residential real estate is the same as inflation: 3%. Rental costs increased at 10% in the first quarter of 2016 but the predicted annual increase is only 3.8% annually going forward. We usually assume a growth-oriented investment portfolio will return on average 8% per year.

Around town

Thanks to all who helped spread the word about our internship program. A big shout out to Regional Arts & Culture Council and PSU Center for Women’s Leadership for making introductions. We are happy to welcome Kris Murray to our team for the summer.

Aside from introducing us to the best and brightest of the next generation, CWL also hosted Georgia on a recent Entrepreneurship Panel for their 2016 New Leadership Oregon cohort. We love being able to partner with this wonderful organization as they shape Oregon’s future leaders. Here’s to women working together for change! And see you at their Power Lunch in October!

Portfolio perspectives

This month, our investment committee reacts to John Oliver’s hilarious and insightful explainer of the retirement plan industry.

  • Read more or check out the excellent Last Week Tonight video:

PS: You might have heard about a little something called Brexit. Here’s our bottom line: Uncertainty is a fact of life. Embrace it and let yourself float along on the waves of scientifically-sound portfolio construction. You can read more from our Investment Committee here.