Net Worth. Everyone keeps talking about it, no one thinks they have enough and everyone is worried that everyone ELSE has more.

Frankly, you shouldn’t care about anyone’s net worth other than your own, and stick to the golden rule of: Save as much as you can of your own money.

However, you still want to know what the benchmarks are, right?

(I do too)

Here’s a summary of all the different ways you can benchmark your net worth in terms of age and income:

  • Classic ‘Millionaire Next Door’ Calculation
  • Realistic Classic: Taking into account your student debt
  • Net Worth Calculators by Age or Income
  • Net Worth IQ
  • Other Bloggers

Classic ‘Millionaire Next Door’ Calculation

One of my all-time favourite personal finance books (actually, one of the only ones I’ve kept, read multiple times and refer to constantly) is The Millionaire Next Door by Stanley & Danko.

In it, it says to figure out whether or not you are at the target net worth for your age & income, the formula is as follows:

Multiply your age times your realized pretax annual household income from all sources except inheritances. Divide by ten. This, less any inherited wealth, is what your net worth should be.

It looks like this:

(Age x Annual Pre-Tax Income) / 10

WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH THIS CALCULATION:

It’s a great way to quickly calculate your net worth, but it has two major flaws:

  1. Doesn’t take into account your student debt (if any)
  2. Doesn’t take into account that you may switch jobs a lot with different salaries

Example:

  • Age = 25
  • Annual Pre-Tax Income = $30,000

Net Worth = ( 25 x $30,000 ) / 10

Net Worth = + $75,000

Sounds unrealistic right? It is. At 25, I think I was still in the negatives for my net worth!

Can you imagine trying to reach $75,000 at that age? Gah.

 Realistic Classic: Taking into account your student debt

What’s the deal with this calculation:

This one has been floating around the PF blogosphere for a while now, and is no secret to anyone.
It’s based on the formula above, but takes into account that you will have student debt to account for your net worth growth, which is the case for the majority of people out there.

 

((Age – 27) x Annual Pre-Tax Income) / 5

Example:

  • Age = 25
  • Annual Pre-Tax Income = $30,000

Net Worth = ( 25 – 27 ) x $30,000 / 5

Net Worth = - $12,000

Ah. MUCH more realistic, don’t you think? A person at 25 with student debt, would have a negative net worth instead of a positive one.

 Net Worth Calculators by Age or Income

You can also find a slew of net worth calculators out there, taking averages of people around the U.S., and showing you where you stand in terms of others at your age, or at your income level.

The problem with those calculators is that it doesn’t take into account the combination of your age AND income. It’s just one or the other.

The most common one out there is CNN Money but it only gives you net worth by income or by age.

EXAMPLE:

  • Age = 25
  • Annual Pre-Tax Income = $30,000
CNN-Money-Net-Worth-by-Age-and-Income
See the gap? It can go from $8525 to $34,375, but it doesn’t tell you whether or not YOU, aged 25 earning $30,000 in pre-tax income, are below, at or over the average of others like you. It’s an idea of where you should be, but not a great one.

 Net Worth IQ

The last database online you can go for your net worth calculation is Net Worth IQ.

I have a problem using the site because as a freelancer, I don’t have steady income.

What I do have, is an approximation of my average income in the past 5 years, but that’s beside the point.

I’d take anything written here with a grain of salt, because there’s a good amount of truth in there, but some people will lie as well which will skew the numbers.

You will find 25 year-olds with millions in assets, and others are wondering how the heck that is possible, and others that look more realistic.

Yes, I absolutely realize this is slightly hypocritical as I too, am Anonymous with an unusual (but not impossible) income for my age, but I’d like to think I have a bit more credibility than those profiles as I am writing a blog as well.

Other Bloggers

There are other bloggers like myself who post net worth updates every month or every quarter, and are real people talking about their money, even though they’re Anonymous.

 So what to do?

Forget the others. Find out some net worth benchmarks just out of curiousity’s sake (as I did), and then focus on yourself and your net worth.

Besides, you can’t control anything else :)

Why bother getting mad or depressed about someone else having more money? It’s not your money anyway, you can only take control from today onwards, what you do with your cash.

Look to other people as inspiration instad.

 

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