How to build a simple net worth tracker
Updated: Dec 19, 2020
If you have ever applied for a mortgage you know that they force you to collect all your finances in one place, they evaluate your ability to pay back the loan, and you do/don't get a mortgage. My own experience trying to get a mortgage prompted me to build a simple net worth tracker. This was a super basic excel doc that tracked any debts I had and compared them vs any assets.
What is net worth?
Before we get too far let's define net worth. To be quite technical net worth is the value of your assets, minus the total of all liabilities. Another way to think about it is by adding up all the big things you own (car, house, bank account) and subtract all the things you owe (car loan, mortgage, credit card bill) and what is left over is your net worth.
Why track net worth?
Tracking net worth is actually pretty easy and it gives you a single number to compare over time. What is great about net worth is that it accounts for all the major money centers you have in your life. Not just cash, or student loan debt, or your mortgage, it accounts for each of these, rolls them all in to one place and gives you a broad sense of how you are doing. I love this metric because it doesn't force me to track every daily expense. If I want a latte, I don't have to worry if it will break my budget, at the end of the month if our net worth is on the rise, then I'm all set. While I have made it slightly more complex than that over time, at its basics net worth is just a few big numbers all rolled up into one another.
How to build a simple net worth tracker
Here is what that first version looked like:
While this was a manual process I preferred it that way. Every time I opened the tracker and updated Debt vs Assets to calculate our current net worth I had a chance to reflect. This allowed us to identify a few things 1) are we on track to hit our goals 2) if we aren't what needs to change to get back on track. When I first started tracking I would make these updates at least once a month, typically around the 7th-10th after most of the bills were paid.
I feel confident in saying that regular tracking (definitely not daily, but twice a month) is a great way to ensure you stay on track towards your goals. There are a lot of experts out there that would have you track your expenses and income daily. I've tried that before and it's just too time consuming and didn't allow me to focus on other things in life. I was obsessed with the daily totals and couldn't focus on eating right, exercising, and knowing that over time, with some hard work our net worth was going to grow.
If you are interested in building your own net worth tracker I've included some really basic instructions below. Otherwise you can download the simple tracker I built and linked below. I utilized the terminology above (Assets, Debt, Net Worth) to make things consistent from the article to the tracker. If you have questions about how to utilize the tracker you can add a comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to helping The Saving Dude community track their net worth and watch it grow.
Steps to build your own simple net worth tracker
Getting yourself ready for a thoughtful, targeted strategy for tracking your net worth and the inputs associated with it should begin in either Mircosoft Excel or Google Sheets. That is entirely your preference as they have basically the same functionality. I have chosen to go with Excel as that was the most readily available software when I began my journey. Therefore, I’ll refer to some of the formulas and functions I built there, and again, most that them can easily be copied into Sheets.
After you have your document opened and saved (I save mine under the “Net Tracker” name for easy identification) you can begin tracking down all the pertinent information. Here is a quick list of the items I track:
Cash - checking and savings combined in my case
Current value of my vehicle
As for debt:
Standard credit cards
Store credit cards
From there, you add up the two separate categories, subtract debt from assets and you have your present net worth. Here are the formulas I have included in the image above
In cell C4:
This formula adds up everything from the first cell I reference, C2, through the last cell I reference C3
In cell G5:
This formula adds up everything from the first cell I reference, G2, through the last cell I reference G4
In cell J2:
This formula takes your assets and subtracts your debt to get your simple net worth.
Thank you for taking the time to walk through a simple net worth calculation. It would be an honor if you were to follow me. If you have topics you'd be interested in learning more about let me know.
Other Blog Posts you Might Like:
Want to grow your net worth with a money making blog? Check out my step-by-step guide!
Want to learn about refinancing? Check out the basics
Like the net worth calculations above? Try out the mortgage calculator
Want to find a new way to make some extra cash? Check out the Side Hustle Guide