Net Worth Defined and Calculated: What Is My Net Worth?

Net worth is what you own minus what you owe. We walk you through the steps to determine your net worth.
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Written by Max Ramirez
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Co-written by Hal M. Bundrick, CFP®
Senior Writer

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Net worth defined

Net worth is assets minus liabilities. Or, you can think of net worth as everything you own less all that you owe. Find your net worth by using our net worth calculator.

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What is my net worth?

To calculate your net worth, take inventory of what you own, as well as your outstanding debt. And when we say own, we include assets that you may still be paying for, such as a car or a house.

For example, if you have a mortgage on a house with a market value of $200,000 and the balance on your loan is $150,000, you can add $50,000 to your net worth.

Basically, the formula is:

ASSETS minus LIABILITIES equals NET WORTH

what is net worth
And by the way, your income is not included in a net worth calculation. A person can bring home a big paycheck but have a low net worth if they spend most of their money. On the other hand, even people with modest incomes can accumulate significant wealth and a high net worth if they buy appreciating assets and are prudent savers.

Calculating net worth: What are assets and liabilities?

If you’re not sure what assets and liabilities are, here are some guidelines:

Assets: Assets include cash — such as in your checking, savings and retirement accounts — and certain investments, such as stocks and bonds, that you could sell for cash. These are often referred to as liquid assets.

Some fixed assets can count toward your net worth calculation, too, provided you can or would sell them if needed. For example, your home would count toward your net worth if you’re willing to use it for a home equity line of credit or sell it should the need arise.

Liabilities: Any money you owe to another person or entity falls under this category. That includes revolving consumer debts — such as credit card balances — as well as personal, auto, payday and title loan balances. If you’re using your home as an asset, its mortgage counts as a liability as well.

Do you include a 401(k) in a net worth calculation?

All of your retirement accounts are included as assets in your net worth calculation. That includes 401(k)s, IRAs and taxable savings accounts.

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See more financial calculators from NerdWallet and consult our personal finance guide.

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Compare your net worth

The Federal Reserve releases its Survey of Consumer Finances every three years — the most recent report was issued in September 2020 with data from a survey fielded in 2019. Here’s how net worth stacks up by income, age, family size and education, and how it has changed since 2016.

Net worth of U.S. families by income

Income tier

2016

2019

Change 2016-2019

Less than $20,000

$7,100

$9,800

37%

$20,000 to $39,900

$31,500

$44,000

40%

$40,000 to $59,900

$94,200

$92,900

-1%

$60,000 to $79,900

$181,500

$199,100

10%

$80,000 to $89,900

$421,700

$382,300

-9%

$90,000 to $100,000

$1,732,300

$1,589,300

-8%

All families

$103,500

$121,700

18%

Net worth of U.S. families by age

Age tier

2016

2019

Change 2016-2019

Less than 35

$11,700

$13,900

19%

35–44

$63,600

$91,300

44%

45–54

$132,100

$168,600

28%

55–64

$199,200

$212,500

7%

65–74

$237,600

$266,400

12%

75 or more

$281,600

$254,800

-10%

All families

$103,500

$121,700

18%

Net worth of U.S. families by race or ethnicity

Race or ethnicity

2016

2019

Change 2016-2019

White non-Hispanic

$181,900

$188,200

3%

Black or African American non-Hispanic

$18,200

$24,100

33%

Hispanic or Latino

$21,900

$36,200

65%

Other or multiple race

$68,800

$74,500

8%

All families

$103,500

$121,700

18%

Net worth of U.S. families by education

Education

2016

2019

Change 2016-2019

No high school diploma

$24,300

$20,500

-16%

High school diploma

$71,300

$74,000

4%

Some college

$70,200

$88,800

26%

College degree

$310,700

$308,200

-1%

All families

$103,500

$121,700

18%

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