One topic that comes up when Boomer Guys get together to have a few drinks and talk is Net Worth. This topic might come up in your group of guys, and maybe you don’t know your net worth. Maybe you don’t even know (or care) what net worth is. So here’s a few answers, just in case.
Really simple, net worth is the amount of money that represents everything you own, after you subtract every dollar you owe. For instance, Joe, the blow hard stock broker with whom you golf says that his house is worth $5 million. Okay, sure, but if he has a $4.5 million mortgage on that house, the net worth is only $500,000. Simple, right?
So if you want to figure out your own net worth, take out a pencil and paper and in one column, list everything of value that you own. Your main house, a vacation house, stocks and bonds, cash, cars, furniture, antiques, jewelry, furs, etc. Got all that? Good.
Now, in the second column, write the market value of each item in the first column. If you’re working out your net worth just as a ballpark figure, just write the prices as you think they might be. Don’t be too exacting. On the other hand, if you want to be precise, use some online tools. Zillow is popular for house values, but Zillow can be wildly inaccurate. For better results you’ll have to submit your address to a real estate broker within any one of hundreds of “What is My Home Worth” websites. I hate them, but if you’re game, try CNN’s Net Worth Calculator. For cars, I like Kelly Blue Book, and you can also try carprices.com which helps BoomerGuys.com stay online for free.
Don’t forget the expensive clothes and accessories your wife or significant (Hey guy, you have to have community property with the “other” to include him/her in your net worth.) owns. Search Ebay for the same item and in the left column, click “Sold” to see the real price not the asking price. Our site’s affiliate for expensive clothing is Real Real and if you click here, you say, “Thanks BoomerGuys.”
Okay, enough advertising! Once you have both columns filled out, total up the dollar value of all you own. Now you do the same two columns for the money you owe. These are called “liabilities.” The usual big ticket items are Home Mortgage, Car Loans, Student Loans and, let’s be honest, Gambling Debts (ouch!). Total up this amount and then subtract it from the total of all the valuable things you own. Does the result come out to be a positive number? We hope so! If so, that is you Net Worth.
But let’s get real. If you’re a real Boomer Guy, you should be well past the point in life where you’re measuring yourself up to other guys, right? Real net worth after age 49, is more about how happy you are than how much you’re worth. In fact, if you are really happy and you’re flat broke, you’re the richest guy in our book. You certainly have something of such value that makes the rats running around in their cages look broke.
But we still hear you out there, muttering below your breath, “Okay, okay, I’m happy, I’m happy, but where do I stand?”
Well, the U.S. Census Bureau published a report listing the net worth of U.S. citizens in 2011. That’s a good date too, because that date pretty much deletes the real estate boom effect of the years leading up to 2008. So here’s what the report says:
If you’re over age 65 you are smack in the middle of the pack if your net worth is about $170,000. But don’t cheer too soon. That amount will earn you less than $7,300 a year in conservative investments for living expenses. Maybe just enough for a tiny house in the Kentucky back woods!