The Finance Doc’s Net Worth

Despite being an avid saver since my 20s, I have never been curious enough to determine my net worth. In hindsight, this was likely due to me knowing in the back of my mind that my net worth number was far away from my financial independence number. However, as I have become more analytical in other aspects of my life, I have found truth in the proverb, “What gets measured, gets managed”. It can apply to anything from business performance to weight management. Essentially, by measuring performance metrics, you hold yourself accountable to deviations and meticulous monitoring can keep you on-track to reach your ultimate goal. Although this site primarily seeks to emphasize ways to obtain, keep and grow savings, it would be beneficial for the readers to observe accumulation of wealth as a model and to serve as an inspiration to follow suit. By tracking my net worth, I would hold myself accountable to my audience for the provided savings advice.

To get a brief perspective on how my net worth was achieved to date, read more about how I saved $75k over 5 years of graduate school earning $25k/year. The remainder has been accumulated and grown over 4+ years since. My initial net worth analysis was made on July 9th and the progress will be updated monthly thereafter.

My Net Worth Calculation

To calculate one’s net worth, one must determine the difference between one’s assets (cash, stocks, bonds, property, investments, art, precious metals, etc.) and liabilities (all outstanding debt, loans, future claims against one’s assets, etc.). For my own calculation, I have avoided including basic and smaller possessions that certainly contribute my overall net worth (i.e. the furniture in my house) but are insignificant and are unlikely to be disposed without a replacement.

My net worth calculation is done on a liquidation basis. What this means is that certain balances are adjusted as if I were to liquidate the asset. For example, although a given house can sell for $100k, its true liquidation value is closer to $94k after taking into account transfer taxes and realtor fees.

My balance sheet is fairly straightforward and is made up of the following:

Assets

  • Savings Accounts – This is the combined balance on all of the accounts (excludes rental deposits). This balance is expected to vary somewhat month-to-month (for an in-depth look at how these are organized, read about how I manage my savings).
  • Taxable Brokerage – Longer-term savings vehicle for me, primarily invested in mutual funds and ETFs. I do not intend to maintain a significant balance here in the near future given my perspective on current investment landscape vs. alternate use of my cash.
  • Roth IRA – My go-to investment account; after-tax investing at its finest. Greater than half of the balance is made up of the principal and can be withdrawn penalty-free at any time.
  • 401k/Rollover IRA – This is the combined balance on tax-deferred investment accounts that has been adjusted on a liquidation basis (this is based on the assumption that if I were to liquidate it prior to turning 59 1/2 years old due to a hardship, the likely estimated tax on the withdrawal would be in the 15% range, while avoiding the 10% penalty). Only vested balances are included.
  • Real Estate – Estimated value of current real estate holdings (90% of the average of Zillow and Redfin estimates appears to give a reasonable selling price – would be interested in hearing other recommendations to determine a non-comp estimate) adjusted on a liquidated basis (94% of the estimated selling prices).
  • Car – Private party estimate from Edmunds, calculated once a year and depreciated at 15% a year every month thereafter. Every car I have owned I have sold to another party and expect to do the same with my current vehicle (so no liquidation adjustments in this category).

Liabilities

  • Student Loans – Still paying off pesky undergraduate loans. Rate is locked in at 3.5% for another 9 years, but will likely be paid off without a few years.
  • Mortgages – Combined balance on mortgages for real estate holdings. Highest interest rate is set at a rather high 4.875% (refinancing is not an option due to low balance and other reasons) but acceptable over the long-run. My perception of an outstanding long-term mortgage balance is having an equivalent net short position against the 10-year treasury (since the 30-year fixed mortgage is offset from the 10-year treasury rate and banks that own my mortgage list it as an asset on their books as a “long-term bond” equivalent). Given the recent Fed tightening, this is a good position to hold during this part of the business cycle.

    My Net Worth

Net Worth as of 07/09/17

Overall, my net worth came out to slightly below $325k. Will keep you guys updated on the progress next month!