Why calculate net worth?
Doing so can help you get a handle on what your big, overall financial picture looks like. In its most basic definition, net worth is a person’s total assets minus debts. Assets are the things you own of value and debts are the things you owe. This number, when I calculated it for the first time, became my reality check. I finally saw that debt number all tallied up – $100,000 in consumer debt and a total Net Worth of -$170,000! Yeah. You read that right. NEG. A. TIVE.
That was a crap day. I realized I was 30 years old, with a 1-year-old, a baby on the way, and nothing to show for anything. Shew. I tend to turn to anger immediately in situations of stress. While this isn’t very helpful with my personal relationships, it was great for my relationship with my finances. I knew if I wanted to change my net worth, I needed to change my behavior.
There are lots of programs that can give you an idea of your Net Worth. YNAB is the budgeting tool that I use and within the interface, it gives you a real time update of your Net Worth – it links to all of your accounts, bank, and credit card accounts. The one thing these programs don’t take into account is the equity that is potentially in your home. Since it’s not a real number until you actually sell your home and cash it out, this isn’t accounted for. I think it’s a good number to keep in mind, but not critical. Sometimes it makes sense to consider downsizing your home in order to help get yourself towards goals that may be more important to YOU. This is why figuring out your values/goals is critical to making decisions that will affect your future. If your goal is to live in that house forever and see your grandchildren walk down the hallways, then it doesn’t make sense to cash it out!
Here’s how to figure out YOUR net worth!
Step 1: WRITE IT DOWN!
Get out some paper, or a google sheet (whatever works for you!). List all of your debts. I mean ALL of them. The only way to really know where you are is to be really honest with this step. I’ve created a FREE downloadable worksheet to help you with this process. Download your FREE Net Worth Worksheet Here! You may need to print out more than one worksheet because you have more debts or more assets than I’ve allowed for on the worksheet. Please fill out all the Worksheets you need and then put the total onto one sheet so you still have a Grand Total somewhere.
- Credit Card(s)
- Student Loan(s)
- Car Loan(s)
- Personal Family/Friend Loan(s)
- Home Equity Loan
- Private Bank Loans()
- Medical Debt(s)
Step 2: ADD IT ALL UP!
Add all of those debts together to get your DEBT TOTAL. Write down that big ‘ol number.
Step 3: WRITE DOWN YOUR ASSETS!
List all of your assets. List the current balance of each asset account.
- Checking Accounts
- Savings Accounts (or any other bank account)
- Retirement Accounts
- College Funds
- Value of paid for vehicles (cars, boats, trailers, RV, etc)
- Equity in your home – if any
Equity is figured out by finding a realistic value for your home today (what you could sell it for today) and subtracting what you owe from that value. This will give you a rough estimate of your home’s equity.
Step 4: ADD ALL YOUR ASSETS TOGETHER!
Add all of those asset values together to get one ASSET TOTAL.
Step 5: YOUR NET WORTH NUMBER.
ASSET TOTAL (what you own) – DEBT TOTAL(what you owe) = Net Worth
Step 6: PUT YOUR VALUES INTO THE NET WORTH EQUATION!
Evaluation and introspection: take a few minutes to see how you feel about your Net Worth. Be honest. How do you feel seeing that number? Disgusted? Proud? Neutral? Shocked?
Figuring out your net worth could leave you feeling one of two ways: really excited or really discouraged, maybe even disgusted, with your current financial state. If you’re in the former, good for you – it’s a really nice place to be. Take a moment to fully bask in this accomplishment. A good idea at this point would be to write down how you’re feeling. Take out a journal, or a napkin, whatever you have and free write. Set a timer for 5-10 minutes and write down your feelings, write down future goals, write down what you’d like your Net worth to look like 5 years from now. Use these 10 minutes to reflect on what has worked and what hasn’t worked in getting you to your current financial state.
If you’re in the latter group – feeling disgusted and discouraged, while it’s OK to recognize disgust and really notice it in your body, it’s NOT OK to dwell and roll around in it. Feel your frustration, learn from it, and then pull yourself out of the mud and move forwards. The way forward IS forward; not dwelling on what you should have done. You are a beautiful human being who is doing the work of noticing mistakes to create new patterns in the future. Celebrate that. That is amazing and hard and you’re DOING IT! You’re here and you’re making a new plan in order to get the new result you want. You CAN do this!
Much love for you and your hard work!
P.S. Don’t forget to Download your FREE Calculate Net Worth Worksheet Here!
P.P.S. Find Part 2 of Calculate Your Net Worth Here!