Figuring out your net worth isn't just for the 1 percenters

You don’t have to drive luxury cars or vacation on a remote island to know your net worth. In fact, it’s a simple equation that says a lot about your financial standing — whatever that may be.

“It’s the first snapshot into an overall look at your finances,” said Michael LaRiviere, a certified financial planner at Essex Financial in Connecticut.

Your net worth is essentially the sum of all of your assets, including cash, retirement accounts, college savings, house, cars, investment properties and valuables such as art and jewelry minus any liabilities, or long-term debt, like a mortgage, student loans, revolving credit card balances and any other personal loans.

Subtract what you owe from what you own to determine your net worth.

“More often than not — especially for those under 40 — the number is going to be negative,” said Daniel Routh, a CFP at Exencial Wealth Advisors in Oklahoma City. “That’s not unusual and not something to be afraid of.”

If your net worth is in the red, you’ll need to work on saving more and spending less. Begin with the rates you are paying on borrowed money and chip away at the highest-interest debt first, especially credit cards, followed by student loans.

Credit card rates are currently at a record high of over 17 percent on average, according to Bankrate. “That’s an immediate place to start,” Routh said.

For student loans, rates run from 5.05 percent for direct loans for undergrads to 6.6 percent for direct unsubsidized loans for graduate and professional students.

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