Buckscoop is a money saving blog and we consistently provide information and advice on how to add value to your wealth and avoid getting caught out by the big corporations. A combination of avoiding credit card charges, bank fees and overpriced online goods we aim to offer our expert advice on better ways to spend and look after your money.
Those readers who like to live a frugal life and act upon such advice may still be unaware of how to actually calculate their net worth to see if their efforts are actually paying dividends. In accounting terms, to determine your net worth you must subtract your total liabilities from your total assets. This is a useful tool for determining how healthy your financial situation is currently and we are going to show you what to include and how to do it here today.
Calculating ones net worth can be as simple or complex as you like, depending on how finitely accurate you wish to be with yourself. If you are not entirely sure why you should be calculating your net worth at least once every year then understand that it’s a great way to determine if you are on your way to financial freedom or a late retirement.
How to Start
The first thing that you need to do is work out the total amount of money and assets that you own. Assets will consist of things such as:
- Savings accounts
- Term deposits
- Stocks and shares
- Other investments
- Arts and luxury items
Realistically the best way to create this list is within some form of Excel document, either with Windows, Google Docs or Mac Pages. Using this type of document will make automating calculations later on easier. If you are unsure about the value of some of your assets e.g. a vehicle then try using free services such as carsales.com.au to gauge its value. Gumtree.com.au can also be a good way to determine the value of other things too.
Property values are always best sought from a real estate agent as sometimes research online for properties in your area might be a little miss-leading. Of course, a rough idea might be all that you need, but a more accurate analysis of your net worth is more indicative to your actual financial status. Below is a sample list I made up to show you how it might look:
This is the money that you owe and that has to be paid back before you are financially free. It can be a good idea to call your bank and other institutions to find out exactly how much you owe. Your list of liabilities should consist of the things like the following:
- Vehicle loans
- Credit cards
- Personal loans
- Student loans
Here is another example list of how your liabilities on your excel spreadsheet might look:
If at this point things are beginning to look a little unbalanced it might be worth using this information to motivate a hunt around for better online deals to see if you can get some discount on your loans, credit cards and mortgage.
How to Finish
Once you have input all of this data into your spreadsheet it’s time to begin working out your net worth by basically calculating what you would have left over after selling all of your assets and paying off all of your liabilities. In excel as long as you have all of your values entered correctly you can automate the sum by selecting the total liabilities cell to be subtracted from your total assets cell.
The examples provided above would be as follows:
Total Assets – Total Liabilities = Net Worth
$559,000 – $218,000 = $341,000
If your sum produces a positive figure then this is the total amount of money you will have left after selling everything and paying off your debt, but if you get a negative number then this could be a for a number of reasons:
- Too much debt
- Young earner with high student loans
- Incorrect valuation of your assets and liabilities
If your net worth isn’t looking as healthy as you want it to be then you should begin finding ways to invest your money into things that will increase in value. This excludes vehicles, boats and anything else that will depreciate over time. Instead look at things such as property, stocks and shares and savings accounts which generally increase in value.
That is one side of the battle, the other is trying to reduce your liabilities which means using some of your money to pay off debt. As recommended in all of my money saving articles it’s a great idea to begin paying off the most expensive debts that you owe first.
Once you get a good balance of investing your money and spending it to reduce your liabilities then you will begin to see the balancing act of your net worth lean more into your favour.