Net Worth Definition

What is Net Worth?



Net worth is the value of all the non-financial and financial assets owned by an individual or institution minus the value of all its outstanding liabilities. Since financial assets minus outstanding liabilities equal net financial assets, net worth can also be conveniently expressed as non-financial assets plus net financial assets.

Net Worth

It can apply to companies, individuals, governments or economic sectors such as the sector of financial corporations or to entire countries


  • Net worth is a quantitative concept that measures the value of an entity and can apply to individuals, corporations, sectors, and even countries.
  • Net worth provides a snapshot of an entity’s current financial position.
  • In business, net worth is also known as book value or shareholders’ equity.
  • People with substantial net worth are called high-net-worth individuals (HNWI).



Understanding Net Worth


Understanding Net Worth Net Worth is determined by taking away all liabilities from resources. A resource is anything claimed that has money related worth, while liabilities are commitments that exhaust assets, like advances, creditor liabilities (AP), and home loans.

Net Worth can be depicted as one or the other positive or negative, with the previous implying that resources surpass liabilities and the last that liabilities surpass resources. Positive and expanding Net Worth shows great monetary wellbeing. Diminishing total assets, then again, is cause for worry as it would flag a decline in resources comparative with liabilities.

The most ideal approach to improve total assets is to either decrease liabilities while resources stay steady or rise, or increment resources while liabilities either stay consistent or fall.

Type of Net Worth


Net Worth

Total assets can be applied to people, organizations, areas, and even nations.

Net Worth in business

In business, Net Worth is otherwise called book worth or investors’ value. The monetary record is otherwise called a total assets proclamation. The worth of an organization’s value approaches the distinction between the worth of complete resources and absolute liabilities. Note that the qualities on an organization’s asset report feature verifiable expenses or book esteems, not current market esteems.


Lenders scrutinize a business’s net worth to determine if it is financially healthy. If total liabilities exceed total assets, a creditor may not be too confident in a company’s ability to repay its loans.


A consistently profitable company will register a rising net worth or book value as long as these earnings are not fully distributed to shareholders as dividends. For a public company, a rising book value will often be accompanied by an increase in the value of its stock price.


Net Worth in personal finance

An individual’s net worth is simply the value that is left after subtracting liabilities from assets.


Examples of liabilities, otherwise known as debt, include mortgages, credit card balances, student loans, and car loans. An individual’s assets, meanwhile, include checking and savings account balances, the value of securities such as stocks or bonds, real property value, the market value of an automobile, et al. Whatever is left after selling all assets and paying off personal debt is the net worth.


 Note that the value of personal net worth includes the current market value of assets and the current debt costs.

People with a substantial net worth are known as high net worth individuals (HNWI), and form the prime market for wealth managers and investment counselors. Investors with a net worth, excluding their primary residence, of at least $1 million—either alone or together with their spouse—are “accredited investors” in the eyes of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and, therefore, permitted to invest in unregistered securities offerings


Net Worth Example

Consider a couple with the following assets:


  • Primary residence valued at $250,000,
  • An investment portfolio with a market value of $100,000,
  • Automobiles and other assets valued at $25,000.
Liabilities include:


An outstanding mortgage balance of $100,000
A car loan of $10,000
The couple’s net worth would, therefore, be calculated as:


[$250,000 + $100,000 + $25,000] – [$100,000 + $10,000] = $265,000


Assume that five years later, the couple’s financial position changes: the residence value is $225,000, investment portfolio $120,000, savings $20,000, automobile and other assets $15,000; mortgage loan balance $80,000, and car loan $0 because it was paid off. Based on these new figures, the net worth five years later would be:


$225,000 + $120,000 + $20,000 + $15,000] – $80,000 = $300,000.

The couple’s net worth has gone up by $35,000, despite the decrease in the value of their residence and car. As we can see above, these declines were more than offset by increases in other assets, in this case the investment portfolio and savings, as well as a drop in liabilities owed.


 To calculate your net worth, use our free Net Worth Tracker, which allows you to calculate, analyze, and record your net worth for free.

Special Considerations

Negative net worth

A negative net worth results if total debt is more than total assets. For instance, if the sum of an individual’s credit card bills, utility bills, outstanding mortgage payments, auto loan bills, and student loans is higher than the total value of their cash and investments, net worth will be negative.


Negative net worth is a sign that an individual or family needs to focus its energy on debt reduction. A tough budget, use of debt reduction strategies such as the debt snowball or debt avalanche, and perhaps negotiation of some debts with creditors can sometimes help people climb out of a negative net worth hole and start building up their resources. Early in life, a negative net worth is not uncommon—student loans mean even the most careful-with-money young people can start out owing more than they own. Family responsibilities or an unexpected illness can also push people into the red.


When nothing else has worked, filing for for bankruptcy protection to eliminate some of the debt and prevent creditors from trying to collect on it might be the most appropriate solution. However, some liabilities—such as child support, alimony, taxes, and often student loans—cannot be discharged. It’s also worth bearing in mind that a bankruptcy will stay on an individual’s credit report for many years.


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