How does your net worth rank? How does your asset allocation compare to national averages? We explain how this metric works and how it can help you develop a strategy for your overall financial health.
A top 1%, top 5%, etc. ranking is based on how your net worth compares to typical ranges of those in your age range or income bracket.
Your personal net worth is a picture of your entire financial situation at a particular moment in time. As fascinating as “celebrity net worth” search results might seem, they are most useful as a constrained portrait of your household finances, because net worth only accounts for liquid assets in the moment, without consideration for cash flow or the natural fluctuations of your personal finances.
The definition of net worth is the combined value of your assets, minus the value of your liabilities — otherwise known as the debt you owe to other people or organizations.
However, an accurate calculation of your net worth is incredibly valuable when you begin to craft a financial strategy for your future. This number is fundamental for the beginning of your financial planning.
Knowing the inherent limitations of personal net worth, some people are looking for a more comprehensive understanding of their financial situation. Harness Wealth is designed to do exactly that. We help you find expert financial advisory, tax, and trust and estate firms that can help you build practical strategies around everything a static metric like net worth leaves out: variable income, fluctuating cash flow, managing tax liability, overall progress toward your personal financial goals, and other fluid measures.
Net worth is a straightforward, simple measurement of financial health. That said, it requires accurate estimates of your assets and liabilities to generate a useful measurement.
Your assets are everything you own that has monetary value, from the cash in your pocket to the clothing in your closet. Liquid assets are cash, or any asset that can readily be converted to cash, such as stocks. Illiquid assets are the things that can’t be easily converted to cash; things that need to be sold and therefore risk losing value. Here’s a list of things you should be entering:
- Cash: The combined value of your checking and savings accounts and any certificates of deposit (CDs).
- Investment accounts: The current market value of any stocks, bonds, mutual funds, or any other investments.
- Retirement accounts: The current market value of your retirement savings accounts, such as a 401(k) or IRA.
- Real estate: The current market value of your home, any rental property you own, or other ownership in a residential or commercial property.
- Personal property: The current, estimated market value of notable items you own, such as vehicles, artwork, furniture, jewelry, or collectibles.
Your liabilities are all of the debts you are obliged to pay. For example, if you have a mortgage, you need to include the outstanding value of that mortgage — but you can include the full value of the home in your assets. Common liabilities include:
- Mortgage on your primary residence or rental properties
- Student loans
- Personal loans
- Credit card debt
If you’re curious how your personal net worth compares to other people the same age or in the same income bracket as you, this chart can help visualize that. Select your age group below to see the distribution of wealth for households in that group.
Interested in knowing what it takes to be in the top one percent, or even the top tenth of a percent, of the population? Use the dropdown to compare yourself to a representative sample of the high net worth segment of the population.
As you can see in the chart by selecting different age groups, the median net worth tends to grow with age. This makes sense: early in your career, you are likely to have lower savings and higher liabilities like student loans. Then, in the middle of your career, you may start a family, purchase a home, and grow your retirement savings. As you near retirement, your personal net worth will ideally be close to the nest egg you’ll need to cover your living expenses in retirement — or you may even be fortunate enough to pass your wealth to the next generation of your family.
Understanding who people consider to be wealthy is a complicated and subjective matter, but according to Charles Schwab’s Modern Wealth Index, a representative panel of 1,000 Americans think that it takes a personal net worth of $2.4 million to be considered wealthy. Yet according to the Federal Reserve, fewer than 5% of households meet that standard, which is already 24 times the national median net worth, which is $97,290.
Who are the top one percent by net worth?
We hear a lot about “the one percent” as a reference to wealth. But what does that mean, and who is included in that segment? If we’re talking about net worth, then the top one percent means having a household net worth of $10.35 million.
Net Worth Based Accredited Investors
In order to invest in non-registered investments like private equity, venture capital, and hedge funds, one must be an “Accredited Investor.” And the most common way to qualify for that title is with a personal net worth of at least $1,000,000 without including primary home equity. Alternatively, individuals with an income of at least $200,000 or households with a joint income of at least $300,000, over the past two years, are also qualified.
Remember, your personal net worth is just a snapshot of your finances, and doesn’t offer a comprehensive assessment of your financial situation. You should be keeping an eye on other financial metrics alongside your net worth. Your personal financing planning needs to include budget analysis and factor for short- and long-term goals, like buying property or saving for retirement.
Most importantly, there is no substitute for speaking with a skilled financial advisor to help you navigate your unique position. To find a thoroughly-vetted match, get started here.
This tool calculates your personal net worth and your position within a range of percentiles based on your age. It is only as accurate as the estimated assets and liabilities you provide. The tool also highlights which of your assets make up the bulk of your personal net worth, and how that asset allocation compares to other households with a similar net worth. We use data from the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances in 2016, and developed our own proprietary classification of ages and ranges of net worth in order to calculate the percentiles and averages.