My recent post about celebrity net worth reminded me that it’s time to update my own net worth spreadsheet to see how my net worth is growing. As I have discussed before, I track my net worth every three months and take a look at how I’m doing towards meeting my goals.
What goes into my net worth? I use my major assets and liabilities.
For assets, I start with my financial accounts. I look at bank accounts, investments, and retirement accounts. For tangible items, I look at the Kelley Blue Book value of my car and the Zillow value of my house. I have opted to not use the value of my work-provided life insurance or any of the various items I own in my house. Why? Well, my life insurance value doesn’t change, and to be honest, it doesn’t have a whole lot of meaning to me while I’m alive. As to my personal possessions, they’re just to place a value on.
I am aware that the KBB and Zillow numbers are just a rough estimate and likely to be wrong, but those are the easiest way that I can figure to pull up these numbers and make a solid comparison to previous months.
For liabilities, I look at my credit cards, my car loan, and my mortgage. Very easy to calculate. I pay off my credit cards every month, so the goal here is simply to keep paying down my other debts. Since I have no plans to leave my house anytime soon and the interest rate on my mortgage is low, I’m simply paying the required monthly payment and putting extra money towards my car loan.
So how is my net worth doing? Over the past quarter, my net worth has increased almost 6.3%. More importantly, much of that change is in my financial accounts, and not just an increase in the estimated value of my home. My investments are doing well and my retirement accounts continue to grow. I’m paying down my debts. Admittedly, some of the money in my savings accounts is money that I’m setting aside to pay some big bills I will have coming up (such as my property tax bill), but it’s still a great feeling to see those numbers moving in the right direction.
Over the past year, my net worth has increased a whopping 15%. A good chunk of that is in my house value on Zillow, so I’m not sure just how accurate that is. But my investments have also grown and I have more money in my cash accounts and CDs. I’ve made a solid dent in my debt.
Over the next year, I want to continue to take things in the right direction. By this time next year, I want to have increased my retirement contributions. That’s the big goal, but to comfortably do so, I need to reduce my expenditures or bring in more income or a combination of the two.
Megan is a 40-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.