Net Worth

Start Your Financial Journey with a Net Worth Statement

If you want to improve your financial life, you must know where you are starting. The net worth statement provides a snapshot of where you are financially based on your past financial decisions. Do not make the mistake that many folks make by measuring themselves based on their income or how much in the way of “stuff” they have. It’s not how much you make or have; it’s how much you end up keeping after each paycheck comes in!

Complete your net worth statement one time each and every year, preferably around the same time of the year. Take your time and identify the value of each asset you have on one particular day and how much you owe on each liability on that date, as well. Place those numbers on the net worth example that you can find on this website below.

Take your assets, and subtract your liabilities. This is your net worth. Don’t freak out if it is negative. My first one was negative, too. Chill out, and don’t beat yourself up about it. The key is to get some real numbers down on paper and see where you are. This is your starting point. This is also the time to take responsibility for your situation. You are the answer to a better life!

Increase Your Net Worth

Go back and fill these numbers in on your financial plan. Start making your short- and long-term goals for the coming year. This is where you attempt to increase your appreciating assets (stocks, bonds, and real estate), while decreasing your liabilities (pay off debt at an accelerated rate while considering opportunity cost all along the way). Here is a simple solution that will work for most of you.

Put as much money as you can per month in stock index funds inside retirement accounts like 401(k)s, 403(b)s, 457s, TSPs and Roth IRAs. At the same time, pay extra on any debt where you are paying 6% or more in interest. This double whammy approach will speed up your wealth building approach as you watch that net worth go up, up and away.

What else can you do? Go get yourself a side hustle and take all of that money you earn and invest it and/or pay down debt. The more that you can save and invest the better. Be sure to minimize your taxes as well through this process when investing outside of retirement accounts. Owning low fee index funds and ETFs in a brokerage for years will get you long term capital gains. Those gains could be tax free if you are strategic!

Tax free? If you withdraw money from a brokerage and all or almost all of those gains are long term, you will pay 0% tax if you find yourself in the 10 or 12% federal income tax brackets. This can be a very effective strategy for retirement whether that is at 35 or 65. When your earned income is low, staying in those low tax brackets should be relatively easy. As you pay less tax, the net worth continues to grow!

Hold yourself accountable every year, as you strive to increase your net worth from the previous year. If you are on the right course, you will see your net worth go up in most years (there will be a few years where it may go down as your stocks, bonds and/or real estate take their occasional nosedive in their respective markets). You can do this!!!!!!

Use the following spreadsheet as an example of a net worth statement. Download to your computer or other device and off you go!

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Stuff the lawyer wants me to say: Investing outside a bank or a credit union is not FDIC insured. You may lose the value in the investments you select. All information provided here is for informational purposes only. It is not an offer to buy or sell any of the securities, insurance products, or other products named. Translated: I am not selling anything! Educate yourself, research the information that you learned and finally make the right decisions that will benefit you and your family going forward.

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