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When you think of achieving financial wellness, a few things may come to mind, like your credit score, debt-to-income ratio (DTI), and the value of your emergency fund. Another important factor? Net worth. Keeping track of your net worth is a valuable way to better understand your financial health.
In this article, we’ll explore more about what net worth is and how to calculate it.
Net worth measures the value of your assets minus your loans and financial obligations (otherwise known as liabilities).
Assets are everything a person owns that has monetary value — such as cash, investments, retirement accounts, savings accounts, life insurance policies, savings accounts, and real estate.
Liabilities, on the other hand, include debts or financial obligations — such as mortgages, loans, and credit card debt.
Start by making a list of all your assets and liabilities, including investment portfolios, credit card balances, mortgages, and other debts. Then, use the formula below to calculate your net worth.
Assets - Liabilities = Net worth
Let’s take the above formula and put it into practice with an example. Imagine a couple owns a home valued at $300,000 and a car worth $20,000. They also have $10,000 in savings and $50,000 in their retirement accounts. Their debts include a $200,000 mortgage and $5,000 in credit card balances.
Using the net worth formula, the calculation would look like this:
(300,000 + $20,000 + $10,000 + $50,000) - ($200,000 + $5,000) = $175,000.
The couple’s net worth comes out to $175,000.
Many factors can affect your net worth, including income, age, and education. That said, a person’s net worth often increases as they progress through different stages of life. Typically, debts decrease while income and assets increase.
For example, someone in their 20s may have debt, like student loans, and a lower income with little to no savings. But as they move up in their career and pay down debt, they can increase their net worth.
According to Federal Reserve data from 2019, the average net worth of U.S. households was $748,800. And the overall median net worth was $121,700.1
Here’s what the average and median net worth was for different age groups:
|Age group||Average net worth||Median net worth|
|Less than 35||$76,300||$13,900|
Generally, your net worth increases as you get older but may start to decrease during your late retirement years, as most people live on a fixed income. This is why retirement planning is a good idea to help ensure that you’ll have the resources to support yourself. By tracking net worth over time, you can gain a better understanding of your financial health and make informed decisions about the future.
Learn more about Upwise™, a free app from MetLife that helps you create better financial habits so you can feel more confident about your future.
1 “Changes in U.S. Family Finances from 2016 to 2019: Evidence from the Survey of Evidence from the Survey of Consumer Finances” Federal Reserve
Upwise is a product of MetLife Consumer Services, Inc. (MSC). Upwise is available at no cost to all individuals and regardless of any MetLife relationship or product. Upwise is for educational purposes. Each individual is advised to consult with their own attorney, accountant, and financial professional regarding their specific circumstances. MCS does not provide legal, tax, or investment recommendations or advice.