Consider the following scenario: you’ve just arrived in a strange city and must immediately drive a rental car to your hotel. Do you like to drive, or do you want a car with GPS navigation? Seriously, how difficult can it be to navigate Hong Kong?
Key Points to Remember
- Sum up your assets and remove your liabilities to calculate your net worth.
There’s no hard and fast rule for calculating your “correct” net worth, but you should know if it’s on track to provide you with a secure future.
If not, it’s time to cut costs, pay down debt, or do both.
You can calculate your current net worth in the table below. Then you can figure out how to put this calculation to good use in your retirement planning.
How to Calculate Your Net WorthNet worth is the difference between the total dollar value of all assets and the total dollar value of all liabilities. It’s a metric for assessing financial wellness that may be used by corporations and individuals alike. The formula is straightforward: it consists of two columns of numbers, with the following events occurring in each column.
You have assets that are both liquid and illiquid. Liquid assets are investments or possessions that can be rapidly converted into cash and cheaply. This includes bank accounts, certificates of deposit, equities, bonds, mutual funds, and other similar investments.
Investments or possessions that are difficult to convert into cash fast are illiquid assets. They are difficult to exchange for cash. Your home is an illiquid asset like any other real estate, retirement savings plan balance, and business partnership. Most personal belongings, such as furniture, automobiles, and clothing, should be excluded. They may have been costly to purchase but are unlikely to be valuable if resold. Works of art or collectibles with a high investment value may be considered.
Determination of Liabilities
Your debts are listed on the other side of the ledger. This includes credit card balances, auto loans, home mortgages, overdue educational debt, and company loans. Any personal loan counts as well.
Your current net worth is calculated by adding all your assets and subtracting your obligations.
Where Are You Located?
Based on data from a Federal Reserve study, compare your net worth to the values in the chart below, which show all Americans’ median and average net worth by age group. The number in the middle is the median. Half of the group has a lower net worth, while the other half has a higher net worth. The average net worth is the number in the center.
Concerning these figures, don’t place too much emphasis on your entire net worth. There is no demographic split in the data because it is national. For example, living in the Northeast versus the South nearly doubles net worth. In general, people in the Northeast earn more and pay more to maintain a similar standard of living.
Take note of the significant variances in average and median net worth by age group. Keep in mind that the middle number is the moderate number. A small number of wealthy individuals can skew the average. This could explain why Americans aged 18 to 24 have an average net worth of $90,000. The median of $4,395 may more appropriately reflect the net worth of younger Americans, at least in this age group.
The Ideal Number
How much do you think you’re worth? No single, globally acceptable figure exists because everyone’s lifestyle and expectations are different. The authors of The Millionaire Next Door, Thomas Stanley and William Danko, proposed this method as a rule of thumb:
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