In a lot of ways, you are your own little company: You, Unlimited.
Like a company, you should have a balance sheet that tells you what you're worth. That means your assets minus your debts. The bad news is that this can be a sobering experience. The good news is that it's the first step in moving toward your financial goals, and it will no doubt spur you to trim some costs.
To add up your assets, list the current value of the following:
Some people would also have you list more personal belongings like jewelry and furniture. Feel free to do so. I leave it out because I don't typically see those items as particularly marketable, except in dire situations. And even then, estimating their value assumes you know what you could earn from a yard sale or pawnbroker.
Now, for the darker side of your financial life, debts. For each of the following, list what you currently owe:
For the final answer, simply subtract your liabilities from your assets. The number you're left with is your net worth. Some have the superficial attitude that money is life's scoreboard. Whether you buy into this idea, this figure is your current score. Just remember that the game isn't over.
10 Things You Should Do Before You Invest
- Figure out what you're worth.
- Set your goals and figure out how much they cost.
- Spend less than you make.
- Build an emergency savings fund.
- Pay off your credit card debt.
- Insure yourself against the unexpected.
- Contribute to tax-deferred retirement plans like 401(k)s and IRAs.
- Consider using software to keep track of your money and help with your taxes.
- Be your bank's thriftiest customer.
- Check out your credit report.
Ian McDonald writes daily for TheStreet.com. In keeping with TSC's editorial policy, he doesn't own or short individual stocks. He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. He invites you to send your feedback to
email@example.com, but he cannot give specific financial advice.