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How to Figure Out Your Net Worth
Pretty straight forward stuff here, right?
Perhaps we should take a deeper look, just to make sure we are all on the same page.
The first step I recommend taking is to tabulate what you possess that holds financial value. These are your assets. Calculate your assets by adding up the present value of the following categories to find the present value of your assets.
Next, we need to figure out what you owe. This is also known as your liabilities. Add up the following categories to find your liabilities.
Subtract the total number found for your liabilities from your assets, to get your net worth. In other words... Net Worth = Assets (present value) - Outstanding Liabilities
Your net worth with fluctuate over time
In other words, it is snapshot unique to the day and time that you calculated it. It will go up and down with fluctuations in the market and differing seasons of saving and spending throughout the year. This also means that just because you got to a point where your net worth crosses a certain threshold, it may not stay there forever. The present value of your net worth is very transient. It is based on both individual behavior and market behavior.
A word of caution: purchasing a depreciating asset (like a boat) is nearly as bad as any other liabilities.
What should my net worth be?
My favorite simple equation for determining how much you "should" be worth is based on annual income and your age. It comes directly from the book The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas Stanley.
Expected Net Worth = (Age x Pre-tax Annual Household Income)/10
I really like how this equation actually provides an excellent reflection of your spending vs. accumulating behavior to date.
Essentially, if you make $600,000 a year and you are 50 years old, with a present net worth of $450,000, you are actually a fairly poor accumulator of wealth. Per Stanley's equation, you should be worth $3 million!
Tell us what you think in the comments below. Are you worth what you should be? Are you now motivated to save and invest even more than you already have?!