One of the oddest things that has happened as I’ve grown my platform over at Her First $100K is getting recognized in public. It’s still few and far between, but every month, I have more and more encounters with people who follow us on social media or find us through Financial Feminist.
I was somewhat prepared for this –– I knew it was likely to happen as I started doing more media, especially after a year of incredible growth on TikTok. What I was not prepared for were the google searches.
You know that fun game where celebrities peel back their top google searches, things like “Timothee Chalamet age” or “Timothee Chalamet relationship status” or “Timothee Chalamet cardboard cutouts”…? OK, maybe those are just me. The celebrities in question usually giggle at the silly things people google about them and move to the next. Now I know how that feels –– and people google some really interesting things about me.
There’s the usual –– age, height, husband (yeah, I roll my eyes at this one), but it was truly wild to see “Tori Dunlap Net Worth” pop up in the search results. Now, before you go clicking over to Google, there’s no way for anyone to actually know my net worth –– it’s all algorithms and speculation, but that’s not my point.
I’ve always kept tabs on my net worth, but there seems to be a misconception that you should really only pay attention to things like net worth when you’re already rich –– and the opposite couldn’t be more true.
Figuring out your net worth
First up, how do you actually figure out your net worth? Fortunately, the formula is as easy as addition and subtraction. Start with your assets –– things like the money in your savings accounts, investment accounts, and then anything physical you own like cars or property and add their values up.
Next up, liabilities. Calculate any loans, debts, or outstanding balances you owe and add those up. Subtract your liabilities from your assets, and viola! You have your net worth.
If your number is lower than you expected, don’t panic! With the amount of debt most Americans have, net worth numbers are often different than what we expect. Recent statistics on net worth show that the median net worth for 18 to 24-year-olds is $8,206, and for 25 to 29-year-olds is even lower at just over $7,000. Slightly older generations, like middle and elder millennials, are between $35,000 – $50,000 in a 15 year age range.
Read More: What is the Average Net Worth by Age?
External factors matter
Remember, the statistics above are median ranges –– which means some have much higher net worths and some much lower. Your net worth is largely impacted by the financial systems at play. For example, millennials are waiting statistically longer to buy homes and have faced a recession and stagnating wages, which has led to disparities in net worth between generations.
Other factors, like the gender and racial pay gaps, the investment gap, the student debt crisis, affect the ability of people to build wealth, which in turn affects their net worth. It’s essential to keep this in mind as we see others around us who may face different obstacles.
Paint by numbers for your finances
Your net worth might not be the most fun thing to look at, especially if you have debt or you’re just starting on your savings journey –– but it’s so important to know where you stand financially so you can build the foundations for your ideal financial future.
Think of your net worth like a paint-by-numbers for your finances –– you may not have all the colors, but you can still see the broader picture and the path to getting there. Some of us start with colors already filled in, and some start without paint in the first place. Either way, you now know what steps you need to take.
Get Started: Calculate Your Net Worth
Knowing your net worth can help you set clearer goals
When I was saving my first $100,000, tracking my net worth through the Personal Capital app was pivotal in helping me stay motivated –– especially on the hard days. Because I could see all of my accounts in one place, I was able to see where I could set bigger goals and where I had room to adjust in other areas of my budget to either maximize my savings or loosen the reins when I needed to give myself a little extra grace.
When you know your net worth, you’re able to plan better for the future. Want to save up a 20% downpayment for a house? Your net worth will tell you how close you are to that goal and where you might be able to make adjustments to get it faster.
Your net worth shows you how you prioritize
It’s important to remember that you do not see all the liquid (aka cash) when you’re looking at your net worth. Some of your net worth may be in assets that can either appreciate or depreciate in value as the years go on. A good example is anyone who bought a home before 2020 –– you’re likely to have seen that particular asset increase in value substantially! An example of a depreciating asset might be something like a car, which loses value as it ages in most circumstances.
When you look at the whole net worth pie, you’ll be able to clearly distinguish where most of your money is going –– is it in investments or your home? How does that align with your goals for the future? Are you hoping to contribute more this year towards retirement? Where in your current asset portfolio could you make this adjustment?
Knowing your net worth is the starting point to building the financial future you hope to have. Using Personal Capital to see all of your assets and liabilities in one place will help you get the clearest picture, so you can start moving forward.