Are you wondering how much you're financially worth? Have you been considering increasing your financial worth? Do you have a way to determine your financial health?
If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, keep reading. You need to learn about a financial tool/calculation that's referred to as your 'net worth.'
We're going to discuss everything that you need to know about net worth: what it is, how to calculate it, how it compares to others, and more. Plus, you'll find out how to use a net worth calculator.
What Net Worth Is
Net worth is a measure of financial health and wellbeing. More specifically, it's what you own minus what you owe.
What you own is referred to as your "assets," while what you owe is referred to as your "liabilities." Therefore, Net Worth = Assets - Liabilities.
The easiest way to organize this information is by separating assets from liabilities and creating a list for each.
Personal Balance Sheet
Many people keep track of their net worth by using a personal balance sheet. You can make one of these on a piece of paper, through online software, on an Excel spreadsheet, or anywhere else where you can create a table.
Create one column marked "assets" and another column marked "liabilities." Then, you can list each asset and liability under the corresponding column.
This setup also makes it easier to calculate your final net worth at the bottom of the chart.
We highly recommend doing this online in an automated system like Excel just to make sure that your math is right. However, if you're a whiz with a calculator and you don't mind checking your work, you should be fine to do this exercise however you prefer.
"Assets" is a term for things that you own. Here are some examples of things that you could place in your 'assets' column:
- Cash that you have in your wallet
- Cash that you have in the bank, whether it be in a checking account or a savings account
- Cash you're keeping in investment accounts, such as and RRSP or TFSA, stock market account, bonds, and certificates
- Your current home equity
- Your car's current sale price
- The value of all of your high-sale items, such as jewelry and artwork
List all of your assets out and calculate the total price point for the things that you own.
"Liabilities" is a term for the things that you owe. In other words, these are your financial obligations or debts. Here are a few examples of things that you could put in your 'liabilities' column:
- The current balance of personal loans
- Credit card balances
- The current balance left on your mortgage
- The current balance of student loans
- The current balance left on your car loan
- Child support
- The money you owe to friends
Any amount of money that you owe counts as a liability, even if it's a long-term payment like a personal online loan. This is why we count the amount you paid as an asset and the amount left as a liability.
Interpreting Net Worth
If the net worth that you calculate comes out to be a positive number, this means that you have more assets than you do liabilities. However, if the net worth that you calculate comes out to be a negative number, this means that you have more liabilities than assets.
Neither outcome is necessarily bad. Although, we know that most people would prefer to have a positive net worth.
A positive net worth tells you that you have more money than you owe, or - at least - that you have more financial assets than debts. This means that you could pay off all of your debts if you liquidated what you own.
A negative net worth tells you that you're likely spending more than your current salary can handle. This isn't necessarily the case, but it's most likely the situation that you're in.
Whether it was a lost job or an emergency, you have more in debt than you do in cash, or cash value.
This is only a bad thing if you make it a bad thing. You can use this situation to launch yourself into financial success quite easily.
If you have a negative net worth and take the time and energy required to pay off the debts that you have, you can skyrocket your credit score. Of course, the debts will stay on your credit score for seven years, but your current situation gives you the ability to start fresh and get your financial health in check.
Why Net Worth Is Important
Your net worth is an indication of your financial health. It lets you know how you're doing in black and white.
For those of us who try to talk ourselves into buying things or end up talking down the reality of our debts, a net worth calculation can show us the truth. By looking at your net worth before making large financial decisions, you can determine whether or not the choice that you're about to make is the best choice when it comes to your overall financial health.
For example, some people look at their net worth right before they get started with investing. They may want to buy a house or a car. They can determine whether or not this is a financially-sound choice based on their current net worth.
Another example could be if you want to evaluate the amount of debt that you have to pay off. Maybe you're trying to pay off all of your debts before the next year. Then, you could add up all of your assets and liabilities in order to evaluate how you can meet this goal of paying off your debts.
Arguably, the best part of calculating and keeping up with your net worth is that you can set realistic financial goals.
What Net Worth You Should Have
While there isn't an exact value that we can give you for your suggested net worth, there are a few pointers that we can give you.
Of course, it's probably best that your net worth stay in the positive. It isn't a bad thing to have debt, but it is a bad thing if you can't pay off that debt by the time payments are due.
The best way to ensure that you'll be able to pay off debts that you have is by having the money in other places. This can be funds that you have in bank accounts, investments, or other places.
The easier it is to liquidate your money, the easier it is to pay off debts that you have.
The net worth you should have is the net worth that allows you to live the life you want while still living within your means. To find your most comfortable net worth value, you need to think about the amount that you spend each month and the amount that you make each month.
Find a net worth that projects you towards your financial goals while balancing the amount that you make and spend within each month. Change your finances as your situation changes.
If you're interested in comparing your net worth to others that are your age, keep reading.
What Net Worth Other Canadians Have
Sometimes, comparing your wealth to others can help you get a better idea of whether or not you're on the right financial track. As you're looking at the average net worth of other Canadians, we urge you to take your personal situation into account.
Don't get too caught up in comparing your wealth to everyone else's wealth. You may have had medical bills, you may have more children, or you could have another financial burden.
When you're going forward with your financial goals, you should look at your past financial situation. Your past net worth should serve as a basis for your future net worth.
In other words, you are your only competition. If you're worried about the money that everyone else is making, you're going to be miserable.
If you're simply curious and want to compare values, feel free to check out the average net worth data from the Survey of Financial Security here:
- Under 35 Years Old: $62,100 in average net worth
- 35 to 44 Years Old: $214,000 in average net worth
- 45 to 54 Years Old: $290,400 in average net worth
- 55 to 64 Years Old: $505,500 in average net worth
- 65 Years Old and Older: $493,400 in average net worth
If you're interested in the median net worth, we have those listed below. The values come from the same study on Canadian residents.
- Under 35 Years Old: $9,700 in median net worth
- 35 to 44 Years Old: $76,000 in median net worth
- 45 to 54 Years Old: $88,000 in median net worth
- 55 to 64 Years Old: $227,800 in median net worth
- 65 Years Old and Older: $277,000 in median net worth
You should note that the average net worth calculates the total of all net worths and divides that value by the population. The median net worth gives the mid-point of all of the net worths in a population. This means that half of the population has a net worth larger than the median net worth, while the other half of the population has a net worth smaller than the median net worth.
Net Worth Calculator
There are a few different kinds of net worth calculators that you can turn to.
Detailed Net Worth Calculators
If you're a person who likes details, there are net worth calculators that itemize every asset and liability that you have. This helps you find every single asset and liability that you should count towards your net worth. Try it out here.
Plus, listing everything out can help you figure out where your strong and weak points are. You may notice that you're spending heavily on one credit card in particular or you might realize that one of your investment properties has increased in value significantly.
Whatever the details, having this kind of calculator gives you more insight into your financial situation. In turn, you can make more financial goals.
Basic Net Worth Calculators
Other net worth calculators are less specific but still do the job. Many online calculators will simply ask you to input your assets and liabilities so that it can do the subtraction for you.
As long as you pre-calculate your assets and liabilities, you can fair with this kind of simple calculator well.
However, there isn't much information from a simple calculation like this. You won't be able to see how much liquid wealth you have, what kind of debt you have, or other important details.
By laying out all of the details, you're evaluating your financial health under a microscope. In other words, you're getting a closer look at the good things you're doing as well as the areas which can be improved.
By looking at your financial habits overall, you're going to be able to improve your habits and - in turn - improve your net worth and financial health.
If you decide to use a basic net worth calculator like this one, you should take the time to write out the details of your assets and liabilities separately from the calculator so that you can take a look at every detail.
More Financial Information
Calculating your net worth is just one of many important financial practices that you should know about. Using a net worth calculator makes this process even easier.
To learn more about other financial information and tips that you should know, check out the rest of our blog. We share everything you need to know as a Canadian resident.