YOUR NET WORTH = WHAT YOU HAVE – WHAT YOU OWE
It’s that simple. A few times a year, I try to take a moment to calculate our net worth. I have a spreadsheet that I pull up, I log into our accounts online, and I enter the balance of each of our retirement accounts, savings, investments, etc. Then I enter any debt that we have (currently, only the car loan and a mortgage on our investment property). I pull up the value of our investment property from Zillow.com to find our “approximate value” (real estate agents: I realize that this is not the most accurate, it’s an estimate!) and pull it all together. I take our assets minus our liabilities and… ta-da! That’s our net worth!
Find Out Where You Are, So You Know Where You Want to Go
I started tracking it a few years ago and I used to track it monthly. Then I got really lazy over the past few years and only tracked it every 6 months or so, but this year my goal is to track it quarterly. I like to track our net worth at the beginning of the year and at least halfway through the year. Some people use their birthdate as a reminder to check their net worth. Regardless of when you do it, it’s an important step to take. If you don’t know what you’re worth, then you don’t know if your net worth is going up or down.
Put It On One Page
Too many people don’t have any clue what their net worth is because they haven’t seen everything on one page. Even if you’re tracking your money in a budget system, many times there’s one loan that doesn’t link or one account at a credit union that won’t sync. Many people have 20 or 30 different accounts all over the place, but they’ve never seen everything on one page. This is why tracking your net worth is so important: it gives you a good overview of not just how much debt you have, but also how much your investments have changed, and how much your emergency savings has grown. I believe your net worth is one of the most important numbers in financial planning.
Many Factors Impact Your Net Worth
Paying down debt, building up savings, and the changing value of your investments can all affect your net worth. These three things can actually work together to grow your net worth exponentially. Sometimes we feel like we’re working so hard to pay down debt or max out our Roth IRAs that we forget how it impacts our bottom line. The good news is that both of those things can actually INCREASE your net worth!
Ready to Try This On Your Own?
(Cue music to On My Own from Les Miz. The Lea Salonga version, of course. It’s the best! Take a moment to watch it. Seriously, AMAZING!)
Now that your musical interlude is over, it’s time to calculate your net worth! Here’s a spreadsheet from www.MoneyUnder30.com to help you know where to start. If you want something a little prettier, here’s an Excel Net Worth spreadsheet that you can download for free.
What are some observations that you made? Do you have more assets than you thought? Was it scary to see all of your debt on one page? What can you to increase your net worth in the next few months? Make a plan to start improving your net worth today!