Some say Net Worth is a GOOD number to track in order to determine whether you are making financial progress. Others say it’s the ONLY number to track.
What is net worth ?
Net worth, (also generally referred to as wealth) is one measure of an individual’s material wellbeing or financial success, measured by the amount by which assets exceed liabilities or debt. And yes; it’s possible to have a negative number especially for young professionals with student debt; don’t despair.
Assets – Liabilities = Net Worth
Why does it matter?
Knowing your net worth is an important aspect of personal financial planning. It can be a wealth strategy. Net worth can also be a benchmark for wealth or financial fitness much like your weight is a benchmark in a weight management program. It can also be a powerful motivator to save more, spend less, pay off debt or to work proactively with a professional financial advisor to map out a financial plan.to financial success.
Net worth is worth keeping track of as it also represents the degree of flexibility one might have to respond to unexpected or unforeseen circumstances like a job loss, an unexpected illness or a drop in the financial markets. A healthy net worth can also provide individuals with opportunities like starting a business or going back to school. Ultimately, retirement will also be funded by net worth. At some time in the future net worth will be utilized in order to fund retirement.and cover living expenses.
Track or Update regularly
One thing is certain. Net worth will fluctuate over time but hopefully it will grow in the right direction. Regular updates can help you keep on track with your financial goals; a financial checkup; much like going to the doctor for a health checkup. Regular updating can help ensure that savings and spending are held in check. You don’t need to be an accountant to calculate net worth; a simple excel spreadsheet or an online tool can be used. We’ve included net worth tracking as an important feature inside LegacyTracker
A growing number of bloggers now post their progress around building their net worth online for all of their readers to see. That’s one way to compare. They say it keeps them accountable. I’m an accountant; we like to keep things nice and confidential.
Easily found comparables might be the annual surveys that report the average net worth of Canadians or Americans as an indicator of financial well-being over time. For example, the average Canadian household net worth broke $400,000 at the end of 2012, which was a 5.8% increase over 2011; slightly ahead of the US by about $19.000.
Whether or not it is used as an indicator of financial status, tracking net worth can be motivating and so keeping it updated on a regular basis and making sure you are making progress, is a positive move. I have found too many clients who are so focused on the estimated value of their assets (say the growing estimated value of a home in Toronto for example), that they don’t take into consideration the growth of their debt over time.That’s the advantage of tracking Net worth as opposed to Total Asset Accumulation.
It’s the NET and the NET movement in financial progress that matters over the long-term for you and your family. That’s the reason we included a Net Worth tracker in LegacyTracker.