What is Net worth? How to Calculate Your Net Worth?

Net worth is the total value of an individual or institution’s assets, both financial and non-financial, minus any outstanding liabilities or debts. It provides a snapshot of their overall financial standing.

To calculate net worth, one can subtract the total value of liabilities from the total value of assets. Alternatively, net worth can be expressed as the sum of non-financial assets and net financial assets. This concept applies to various entities, including companies, individuals, governments, and specific sectors of the economy.

For individuals, net worth reflects their financial position and can be useful in several ways. It helps in creating budgets, promoting responsible spending, encouraging debt repayment, and facilitating saving and investing decisions. Assessing net worth is also crucial for retirement planning.

Definitions of Net Worth


Equity, also known as net worth in business, represents the value of a company. It is determined by the carrying value of all assets and liabilities as recorded on the financial statements. However, if the values stated on the balance sheet do not accurately reflect the actual market value of these items, the net worth calculation will be inaccurate. When the accumulated losses exceed the shareholder’s equity listed on the balance sheet, the net worth becomes negative.

It’s important to note that net worth does not necessarily indicate the market value of a company if it were to be sold as a going concern. The actual worth of a company may be higher or lower in such a scenario.

When it comes to business loans, the relationship between net worth and debt plays a significant role. Business owners can enhance their net worth by “trading on equity,” which means leveraging the existing equity to generate additional funds or assets.


Net worth, also known as wealth, represents an individual’s overall economic position. It is calculated by subtracting the total value of their liabilities from the total value of their assets. Assets taken into account when determining net worth typically include retirement accounts, investments, a home, and a vehicle.

Liabilities consist of both secured debt, such as a mortgage, and unsecured debt, such as consumer debt or personal loans. However, intangible assets like educational degrees are generally not factored into the calculation of net worth, despite their positive impact on one’s financial status.

Net worth is often used to assess the value of an estate during the probate process for a deceased individual.

In the financial services industry, individuals with significant wealth are categorized as high-net-worth individuals or ultra-high-net-worth individuals, depending on the extent of their wealth.

Understanding a person’s net worth can be valuable for evaluating their current financial situation and can serve as a benchmark for gauging future financial success.


Governments can enhance readability by creating balance sheets that encompass all assets and liabilities. Instead of relying solely on government debt, the net worth of a government can be used as an alternative indicator of its financial strength. To present a clear view of operational costs, many governments employ an accrual-based accounting system, which promotes transparency.

While some governments may opt for cash accounting to project future fiscal events, the accrual-based approach proves more effective in terms of providing a comprehensive understanding of a government’s spending. Numerous prominent governmental organizations depend on reliable and efficient accounting practices to calculate their overall net worth.


To determine a country’s net worth, we consider the combined net worth of its companies, individuals, and government. In the case of the United States, this is referred to as the financial position. In 2014, the financial position of the United States amounted to a significant $123.8 trillion.

Adjust For Inflation

To ensure accurate accounting in an inflationary economy, net assets need to be adjusted accordingly. These adjustments are guided by IAS No. 29 issued by the IASB.

According to this standard, adjustments should be made when an economy experiences hyperinflation. Hyperinflation is officially recognized when the following conditions are met:

  • The population prefers holding wealth in non-monetary assets or stable foreign currency. They immediately invest local currency received to prevent loss of purchasing power.
  • The population disregards local currency amounts and views them in a stable foreign currency. Prices are commonly set in this foreign currency.
  • Sales and credit purchases are made at prices that account for expected loss of purchasing power, even for short deferral periods.
  • Interest rates, wages, and prices are linked to a price index’s development.
  • Cumulative inflation over three years exceeds 100%.

To account for inflation, the asset accounts need to be adjusted based on inflation indices. This adjustment increases the recorded amount to counteract inflation. However, the “Social Capital” account cannot be increased. Instead, the “Capital Adjustment” account is used as a non-capitalized contribution.

How to Calculate Your Tangible Net Worth?

Net worth is a measure of your financial standing, consisting of your financial assets and liabilities. Financial assets include homes, vehicles, various bank accounts, money market accounts, stocks, and bonds. Liabilities encompass loans, mortgages, and accounts payable, which drain your resources.

Tangible net worth, on the other hand, excludes assets that cannot be physically touched. It includes all assets, such as cash, investments, real estate (land and buildings), and personal property (e.g., cars, boats, furniture, jewelry).

Investments, although considered financial assets, are sometimes included in the tangible asset category because they can be converted into cash.

Intangible assets, unlike tangible assets, cannot be held or seen. Examples include goodwill, copyrights, patents, trademarks, and intellectual property.

If you own a small business, its value may increase due to these intangible assets, which can be significant if you decide to sell it. When assessing tangible net worth for a loan application, banks may focus only on tangible assets because they are easier to convert into cash.

You can calculate your tangible net worth using the following formula:

Tangible Net Worth =Total Assets−Liabilities−Intangible Assets

For your tangible net worth to be calculated, you must first determine your total assets, liabilities, and intangible assets:

Total Assets

Total Liabilities

Value of Intangible Assets

Cash and cash equivalents Investments   Real property   Personal property       

Secured liabilities—auto, mortgage, home equity loans, etc. Unsecured liabilities—credit cards, medical, student, and personal loans, etc. Deferred tax liabilities on retirement accounts, etc.

Goodwill Patents   Trademarks   Intellectual property   Other IP        

Calculating your net worth can be done individually or jointly with your spouse or partner. To make the process easier, gather all your bank statements and credit card statements and keep them in one place.

Initially, calculating your net worth may take some time as you familiarize yourself with the methodology and asset valuation. However, once you understand the process, it will become quicker. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you through it.

Calculating Assets

This is the first step in determining the value of your assets. When reviewing your assets, start with the most liquid, your cash and cash equivalents, including

  • Certificates of deposit
  • Checking and savings accounts
  • Money market accounts
  • Physical cash
  • Treasury bills

Next, determine the current market value of investments. These include

  • Annuities
  • Bonds
  • Life insurance cash value
  • Mutual funds
  • Pensions
  • Retirement plans—IRA, 401(k), 403(b)
  • Stocks
  • Other investments

Real and personal property—tangible assets are next on the list. Any property that’s permanently attached to the land, such as a house, falls under real estate. Everything else is personal property. Included are:

  • Collectibles—antiques, art, coins, etc.
  • Household furnishings
  • Home technology
  • Jewelry
  • Primary residence
  • Rental properties
  • Vacation or second home
  • Vehicles: cars, boats, motorcycles

Add them all up – the cash/cash equivalents, investments, and real or personal property. The total represents your assets.

Calculating Liabilities

Liabilities are relatively easy to quantify, since they represent all of your outstanding debts, and you probably receive statements or reminders regarding them on a regular basis. These statements reflect actual numbers, not estimates, and show exactly how much you owe.

To begin, determine how much you owe in secured debts, including

  • Car loan(s)
  • Home equity loan
  • Margin loans
  • Mortgage
  • Rental real estate mortgage
  • Second mortgage
  • Vacation, or second home mortgage

Continue by calculating the amount of unsecured debt you owe, including

  • Credit card debt
  • Medical bills 
  • Personal loans
  • Student loans
  • Other debt and outstanding bills

Add secured and unsecured debt. Your total liability will be the sum of secured and unsecured debt.

A Net Worth Spreadsheet

To determine your tangible net worth, you need to consider the value of all your assets and the size of your liabilities. You can use the following formula: Tangible Net Worth = Total Assets – Total Liabilities – Intangible Assets.

To keep track of your financial situation, you can use a net worth spreadsheet. This spreadsheet includes your total income, expenses, and savings. It also calculates your margin (income minus expenses) and your monthly savings rate (savings divided by income). Using this tool, you can easily see where your money is going and identify areas for improvement in the coming month.

Simply enter the respective totals for each category directly into the spreadsheet, or use a calculator to figure them out.

Here’s a step-by-step on how to set the spreadsheet up:

  • Choose the “Net Worth” sheet. Fill in the empty cells left of “Your accounts here” with the names of your accounts or assets/liabilities. You can add more than one account in a row by right-clicking one of the columns and selecting “Insert 1 left” (or right).
  • Include your first few data points. Editing the graph is only possible after you have made an entry.
  • Select the “Graph” sheet and click on the “Edit chart” button in the top row. Navigate to “Vertical axis” by selecting “Customize”.

The maximum number should correspond to your net worth goal. It may be necessary to navigate to “Gridlines” and select a gridline number that doesn’t make your intervals look wonky depending on the number. If you don’t want a y-axis, make the text of the vertical axis white.

Keeping an eye on your net worth can help you determine if your expenses do not match your income or if you have accumulated too much debt. Negative net worth means you have more debt than assets. It’s a sign that you are spending more than you are taking in, or that you are getting into debt faster than you are making money.

Tips for Calculating Net Worth

Maintaining organized records offers numerous advantages and streamlines the process of calculating your net worth. By storing your crucial financial statements in a filing cabinet or on your computer, you’ll be able to locate them swiftly. This is an opportune moment to arrange your records systematically.

Moreover, consider keeping all your net worth statements in a designated “net worth” file, either in your filing cabinet or on your computer. This enables easy comparison between statements. With this approach, you won’t have to search for each piece of information required for calculating your net worth on a regular basis, making the task more effortless and enjoyable.

Final Words

When determining your net worth, intangible assets such as copyrights, goodwill, intellectual property, patents, and trademarks are subtracted from your tangible net worth. For most individuals, the standard net worth calculation (assets minus liabilities) is sufficient. However, if you have intangible assets, you may need to calculate your tangible net worth to qualify for an individual or small business loan.

Even if you decide to use online calculators or apps, it’s a good idea to calculate your net worth at least once on your own. This way, you can make the most of the calculations.

Instead of relying on pencil, paper, and a calculator, you can use spreadsheet programs like Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets to perform the calculations for you. This reduces the chances of making mistakes.

When determining the values of your assets, it’s crucial to be accurate. Many individuals and businesses consult qualified professionals to assess the value of their intangible assets.

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