In 2014, I became enlightened. I discovered the world of personal finance, and I haven’t been the same person since. I read blogs, newspapers, magazines, online articles, and consumed everything related to personal finance. There were so many concepts that were foreign to me, especially net worth. I thought to myself, How do I find my net worth and what exactly is it?
Your net worth is your assets minus your liabilities–in other words, the total monetary value of everything you own minus (-) the total amount you owe on everything you own.
Use a Spreadsheet to Calculate Your Net Worth
Calculating my net worth seemed simple enough. I was okay with Excel, because I had to use it at work, so I decided to track all my assets and liabilities.
Note: I’m rounding my math up or down to keep things simple.
- Properties (Assets): + $350,000
- Properties (Liabilities): – $250,000
My wife and I did not (and still do not) have any credit card debt. I learned a painful lesson on carrying too much credit card debt in the mid-90’s.
Paying interest on credit card balances is a cardinal sin of personal finance, so I pay credit card balances off every month and earn points back too! 🙂
- Credit Card Debt (Liabilities): $0
My wife’s car at the time (before we got a brand new car :() was free and clear. I owed approximately $2000. I looked up their values on Kelly Blue Book.
- Automobiles (Assets): + $42,000
- Automobiles (Liabilities): – $2,000
I looked up every single one of my account balances, looked up values of all my assets online, entered them all into my spreadsheet.
Note: This is a simple recreation of my very basic net worth calculator for illustration only. Click on the spreadsheet to scroll up and down
I actually kept this up for a few months … and hated every second of it!
There had to be a better way to automate everything. At the time, I was using Mint to keep track of all my accounts, but there were definitely some limitations with Mint.
How Do I Find My Net Worth Using Personal Capital?
I decided to try Personal Capital because of all the positive and unbiased 😉 reviews online. Personal Capital has a ton of features that are very useful:
• View all accounts in one place. I manage 22 accounts, so this is a lifesaver!
• Automatically tracks cash flow, income flow, and expense flow. No more spreadsheets for me!
• View all upcoming bills in one place. I set up calendar alerts on Google Calendar for all my recurring bills that I have to manually pay (credit card payments), but this is a great place to stay on top of bills.
• Manually add assets that do not have accounts such as car values, jewelry, etc… The only limitation to this feature is that I have to manually update the values as things tend to depreciate over time.
• View all investments and performance in one place. Additionally, people with a net worth over $100,000 can receive advisory services for fairly reasonable fees (less than 0.9%) compared to many other full-service asset management companies.
The Retirement Fee Analyzer, alone, is reason enough to maintain your investment accounts on Personal Capital. I’m able to quickly see what my expense fees are which, if left unmanaged, can add up to tens of thousands of lost investment income over the years.
• View all transactions by category (All, Cash, Investment, Credit, Loan, Mortgage) in one place rather than just one account at a time.
• Automatically calculates and display overall net worth or by category.
I originally signed up for Personal Capital three years ago. After using it for only a few months, I closed it because USAA (I’m the greatest fan of USAA) also enabled users to view all accounts in one place. Additionally, I wanted to keep things simple and didn’t want to manage both my USAA and Personal Capital accounts.
After a few years, I’ve realized that even my beloved USAA has some limitations, so I signed up for Personal Capital again and appreciate all of its features even more.
Many personal finance bloggers like to track everything by spreadsheet for various reasons. Some just like the process of collecting and analyzing data. For me, I would rather save my limited daily cognitive allowance for other things like writing. This is why I love Personal Capital and USAA.
Knowing your net worth is a foundation to building wealth. One of my goals is to reach a million dollar net worth by the time I’m 50. However, I realize that my net worth means little if I don’t have cash flow. I love my job and when it ends, I’ll pursue another job that is fulfilling and financially rewarding.
How do you track your net worth?
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