Disclaimer: I am not a financial adviser. I am not a certified public accountant. I am not an estate planning attorney. If you need financial advice, seek an appropriate professional.
If you’re serious about being clutter-free, you have to declutter your financial world, too, right? As a first step, I recommend completing a net worth spreadsheet–and I even provide a (currently free!) printable for you to use on this site. Click here for more information and to download the printable. Then come back here. (That link opens in a new tab for your convenience.)
At this point, you should be ready to complete your net worth spreadsheet. Start by listing all of the following in the first column:
- Bank accounts: Checking and savings accounts.
- Investments: Certificates of deposit, money market accounts, mutual funds, 401(k) accounts, and even annuities. I do not include my child’s 529 account in my net worth spreadsheet because my husband and I are of the mindset that the funds in that account do not belong to us, regardless of the fact that we deposited the funds.
- Large assets: The worth of houses, vehicles, boats, RV’s, nice jewelry, and other assets with significant value. Collections, while possessing great value to their owner, typically are worth very little and probably should not be listed here, although there are exceptions. For example, a Beanie Baby or NASCAR diecast collection may not be worth anything to anyone but the collector and may bring painfully little if listed on Ebay, while a jadeite collection may bring significant funds if listed on Etsy.
- Home loans: Mortgages, reverse mortgages, and home equity lines of credit.
- Secured loans: Car loans and boat loans.
- Unsecured loans: Vacation loans (yes, they have these nowadays), and promissory notes on which you owe money to family and friends.
- Student loans: Subsidized, unsubsidized, and private.
- Credit cards: Secured and unsecured.
- Gift cards: Yes, pull them all out. If you have e-gift cards or vouchers, make sure you list those, too. For example, I have an e-gift card I purchased from Raise sitting in my personal Gmail inbox.
- Rewards points: If you can put a value on your points, list them.
- Money owed to you: Tax refunds you have not yet received, settled lawsuits you haven’t yet received the funds from,
- Rebates programs: Ibotta, Checkout51, Ebates, UPromise, and other similar accounts.
- Cash. Include the spare change you have in that Mason jar on your desk.
And now comes the more difficult part: Determining the values of all of those assets and debts.
- Log into your banks’ or loan or investment companies’ web sites or call those banks or loan or investment companies for each of your accounts and determine the amount you own or the amount you owe. Remember to get the amounts owed on your mortgage, vehicles, and student loans, too.
- Count your cash and change. You may decide to take your change to your bank or credit union if it has a coin machine; the fee may be worth the time you save.
- If you’re wondering the net worth of your vehicles, you can check out the NADA guides online.
- List the amount you could realistically sell your jewelry and other larger-value assets for. Keep in mind that items are typically worth more to you as an owner than they are to a buyer.
- Grab your gift cards, call the numbers on the backs of them, and determine how much money you have lying around on those.
- Put a value on your rewards points. For example, one of my credit cards offers $50.00 gift cards per 5,000 points, so I value 1,000 points as $10.00.
- Log into each of your rewards programs and determine your balances.
- Remember to check your PayPal account for any funds that have not been transferred.
Don’t estimate any values unless you absolutely have to. As you determine the amounts for the first time, write them in the second column. The second time you complete or update the spreadsheet–next week, next month, next quarter, or whenever you determine that you should have made motivating progress toward your goals–you should include those updated amounts in the third column. Each time, your net worth will appear–calculated for you!–in the bottom row of the spreadsheet. When you complete the spreadsheet a second time, you will be able to determine at a glance how much net worth you have gained by looking at the figure in the last column in the last row.
If you have a lot of accounts, you may need to use multiple sheets. For example, I include a second sheet for gift cards and a third sheet for rebates programs and total those two categories on my primary page. Click here to print another copy of the net worth spreadsheet if needed. (Remember that you must be a subscriber to access my printable.) But later, consider consolidating accounts if you have multiple checking and savings accounts for no good reason; consider consolidating your debt if you carry debt across multiple credit cards. If you have a lot of unused gift cards, consider using them or selling them.
You should update your spreadsheet regularly, but how frequently is your call. I wouldn’t suggest that most people update a net worth spreadsheet weekly because most people won’t see any motivating progress from week to week. I think updating the spreadsheet monthly is a better call–and my printable provides for monthly updates, although you could use it at some interval with no issue. If you are crunched for time or are finding your slow progress depressing, updating it quarterly would probably suffice. I personally think that updating it only yearly provides almost no benefit unless you are debt-free and already have sufficient assets and income for your current and future requirements–in which case I’m not sure you’d be reading this particular post anyway.
Today’s the day. Take an hour out of your life and handle this important task. It might be the check-up you need to motivate yourself onto bigger and better things financially.
Save time, save money, save your sanity! After you complete this task, you will have a clearer picture of your current location on your financial journey, and you will be better informed and motivated to pay off debt or save more money to meet your future goals. As I’m sure you know, a better financial picture means less time and worry spent stressing about money.
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