What is a “net worth statement?” This financial tool shows your current overall financial position at a given point in time. It is like a “financial snapshot” that shows the dollar value of what you own and what you owe. Your net worth is the difference between your total assets (what you own) and your total liabilities (what you owe). This relationship can be stated as:
Assets – Liabilities = Net Worth
Net worth is the dollar amount you would have if all assets were sold today for current market value and all debts were paid in full. For example, if your assets have a current financial value of $28,000 today and you currently owe $8,000 in credit card balances, loans and other debts, your net worth TODAY is $20,000 ($28,000 assets – $8,000 debts).
For many families, this is a “once a year” statement, and can be completed using the end of year statements from financial institutions, credit card companies and retirement accounts.
Assets. Determine the financial value of what you own. This value must be expressed in “current market value” (in other words, what the asset would be worth if sold today to a willing buyer).
If recently purchased, the purchase price of your house or other “real” property can be used. You can check the estimated value of your home on zillow.com.
For personal possessions (personal property) such as vehicles, household goods, clothing and recreational equipment, the value is more difficult to determine. Most of these items lose financial value (depreciate) from the day of purchase. The value of these items can be calculated as the current cash value. Current cash value can be figured as price – (current age of the item * (purchase price/life expectancy). This cash value tool can be found at miniwebtool.com/actual-cash-value-calculator.
For vehicles, look for the Official Kelley Blue Book at kbb.com.
For life insurance, list only “cash value” policies (the cash surrender value).
Use the end of year (EOY) or regular monthly statement for the current financial value of investments.
The financial value of cash and other liquid assets like bank accounts is determined by counting “cash on hand” and/or getting the current balance for checking and savings accounts.
Liabilities. Determine the dollar value of your debts (what you owe). For mortgages, list the balance due. Also list unpaid bills such as income and property taxes you currently owe, unpaid utility bills, rent, and insurance premiums coming due. (You may need to use the most recent account statements to estimate current obligations.) List the amount you owe on current loans like car and education loans. Also list how much you owe on each of your credit cards.
|Net Worth Statement
|Assets (What you own)
|Liabilities (What you owe)
|Home mortgage (balance)
|CDs (Certificates of Deposit)
|Other real estate
|Life insurance (cash surrender value)
|Furnishings and appliances
|Securities (stocks, bonds, mutual funds)
|Charge Accounts (balances due)
|Real estate (market value)
|Vehicle(s) (current blue book value)
|Bullion (silver, gold, etc.)
|Jewelry, art and collectibles
|Retirement accounts (IRA, 401K)
|Taxes (property, income, etc.)
|Accounts Receivable (Any outstanding income you EXPECT to receive)
|Net Worth (previous year)
|Loss or Gain
What does the net worth statement mean? If liabilities exceed the value of assets (negative net worth), corrective action needs to be taken immediately. However, even a person with a positive net worth may have financial difficulties. Having many assets with low liquidity (inability to immediately convert to cash) may mean not having adequate cash available to pay current expenses if income suddenly decreases. This can become a problem with a job loss or as a family moves from earning wages to a lower retirement income.
If a high proportion of your asset value is in “depreciable” property (personal possessions or investments that quickly lose value), one’s financial position is less secure. For increased financial security over time, it’s usually financially “wiser” to allocate more financial resources to assets that “appreciate” (gain financial worth) or at least hold financial value. An example would be real estate or a home. Of course, this usually means that you must make some “tough” financial choices to save and invest for the future rather than spend everything today or take on high consumer debt. For most people, financial security is built slowly over time. Checking your net worth statement at the end of each year can provide you information to manage your net worth or make changes.
Your net worth statement will clearly state the difference between the current value of possessions and your loan value. Most loan applications require financial data that appears on your net worth statement. And, if you are overloaded with consumer (non-mortgage) debt, updating your net worth statement can highlight the importance of debt reduction to improve your financial position.