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Knowing your net worth based on your age is a good measure of whether or not you’re on track regarding overall financial stability.
Considering the factors used to determine your net worth - assets and liabilities - the key isn’t where you’re at but where you’re heading. Today, you will learn what makes up a person’s net worth, the average net worth by age, and how to increase your net worth.
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- The average family’s mean net worth in the United States based on data from 2019 is approximately $750,000
- According to Pew Research, immigrant families in the United States make $59,000 per year, and 32% have a Bachelor’s degree or higher. This is relevant because, according to Lexington Law, those with college degrees have an average net worth ($1,516,910) nearly five times higher than those who graduated high school ($304,590).
First, What Is Net Worth?
Your net worth is simple to understand and calculate. Net worth is simply your assets minus your liabilities.
Assets often include:
- Money in checking, savings accounts
- Real estate worth
- Investment accounts
- Other assets such as fine jewelry, boats, valuable art, etc.
Liabilities often include:
- Debt from car loans, personal loans, credit cards, student loans
- Mortgage debt
- Other debt
Once you total your assets and liabilities, you simply subtract your liabilities from your assets. The result is your net worth, which is important for financial awareness and planning purposes.
Many factors contribute to your net worth, such as someone who is the first generation in America versus someone who had ancestors born in the United States in the 1700s. However, creating that awareness will ultimately help you track your net worth and implement new ways of managing your finances in the long run.
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Here is why it is essential to know...
Net Worth - Why It Is Important to Know:
Though it might be uncomfortable at first, knowing your net worth is essential for increasing your financial longevity. Similar to how our weight can help guide our fitness, your net worth is a good indicator of whether you’re on track (or not) financially.
Your net worth isn’t your worth as a human, which is important to always keep in mind. Instead, it can be a strong indicator for the direction you’re heading financially in the long run!
However, your net worth is a strong indicator of your financial position in your current state of life, using the average net worth by age comparison. You can get a general sense of where you should be.
For example, if you have a low or even negative net worth, your focus might be on paying off debt and working on your credit score vs. investing in the market and purchasing real estate. While it isn’t the only financial road map, your net worth is a great way to give yourself that financial checkup!
Average Net Worth by Age:
|Age of head of family||Median net worth||Average net worth|
|Less than 35||$13,900||$76,300|
Inside the Numbers:
These factors that can determine your net worth by age should always be considered and include:
- Education Status: Even with all the hate on student loans, it goes without saying that someone with a college degree on average will outperform someone without one in terms of net worth goes. The average adult with at least a Bachelor’s degree
- Marital Status: Ever heard of a SINK and a DINK? A single income, no kids person vs. a dual income, no kids couple will have a lower net worth on average. Why? Research shows that sharing responsibilities for living can help individuals avoid taking out more debt while contributing to savings.
- Family Status: On average, couples have a higher net worth than singles, but couples without kids have the highest. This is primarily due to the associated costs of having and paying for kids. From least to greatest average net worth, singles with kids are the lowest, whereas dual income, no kid couples are the highest.
- Home Ownership Status: Owning a home vs. renting directly correlates with net worth. The median net worth for a renter is just over $6,000, whereas the median net worth for a homeowner is over a quarter million at $254,000.
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Measuring net worth by the mean average of others is a slightly less inaccurate way of calculating net worth because it factors in the extremely high-income earners, which can skew the data. Instead, it is also important to consider the median net worth, which is more applicable to the average net worth by age.
How to Increase Your Net Worth:
While there are countless ways to increase your net worth, there are only two true ways to do so:
- Increase assets
- Decrease liabilities
Below you will see the top options for increasing your net worth, which all happen to fall into one of the two categories above.
Pay Off Your Debt
Whether it is student loans or credit card debt, do your best to pay it off if you have debt. Remember your net worth is your assets minus your liabilities. Naturally, if you don’t have any liabilities (debt) or pay down your liabilities, you increase your net worth!
Paying off debt is easy; simply start by paying off your smallest amount owed and work your way up the list using the popular debt snowball method. Don’t make paying off debt any more stressful than it has to be. Just think of an additional amount of money you can contribute each paycheck to one specific debt in addition to your minimum payment. An extra $200 a month towards debt is $2,400 a year you can pay off in addition to the standard payment!
Sticking with the theme of things, investing is one of the top ways to increase your net worth, and that doesn’t mean you have to be a serial stock investor. Simply using a work-sponsored 401K or opening up an IRA (Individual Retirement Account) is a hands-off investment approach.
On average, a dollar invested doubles every ten years, as the saying goes, so don’t think you have to be an expert to invest; simply use conservative retirement investing to start. There are some simple tips to invest such as:
- Automating your investments where they are taken from your check
- Use a 401K or pretax retirement account that is equal to getting the most out of your money before taxes
- If you want to invest in the market, consider a conservative approach such as mutual or index funds
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Consider a Home Purchase
While it might not be in the cards for you right now, perhaps one of the best ways to grow your net worth is to have a little patience through the real estate process by purchasing a home.
Typically, you will need enough of the proper prerequisites to qualify for lending, but owning a home is an excellent way to increase your net worth once you procure a loan. Building equity in a home is a “Passive” form of increasing your net worth.
You will often need to have the correct debt to income ratio, credit score, and down payment to purchase your first home or condo, but that starts with knowing where you’re at and getting better from there using your net worth as an indicator.
The Verdict -
It doesn’t matter who you are. When you understand how your net worth is calculated, you can increase it. Your unique path might look different if you’re a student on a visa vs. a dual income, no kids family with high earning careers.
However, no matter which way you slice it, here are some parting tips to recognizing your net worth by age:
- Awareness around where you are currently at with your net worth and knowing where you should be provides you with a better financial gameplan
- Once you have a solid awareness of your net worth and where it should be for your age, take the appropriate approaches to advance further your net worth, which could mean:
Remember, your net worth isn’t YOUR WORTH, but the awareness around your finances makes it vital to know!