What Is Net Worth and How to Calculate It

Net worth, also known as net wealth, is a crucial financial metric used to assess an individual's or corporation's financial health. It provides a snapshot of their current financial position by evaluating the value of their assets minus the liabilities they owe.

Net Worth
What Is Net Worth

Key Takeaways:

  • Net worth is a quantitative concept that applies to individuals, corporations, sectors, and even countries.
  • In business, net worth is referred to as book value or shareholders' equity.
  • People with substantial net worth are often called high-net-worth individuals (HNWI).
  • Elon Musk currently holds the highest net worth of any individual globally.

Calculating Net Worth:

To calculate net worth, simply subtract all liabilities from assets. Assets encompass anything owned with monetary value, while liabilities refer to obligations that deplete resources, such as loans, accounts payable, and mortgages.

Net worth can be either positive or negative. Positive net worth indicates that assets exceed liabilities, signifying good financial health. Conversely, negative net worth suggests that liabilities surpass assets, which may be a cause for concern.

Improving Net Worth:

Enhancing net worth involves reducing liabilities while maintaining or increasing assets. Alternatively, one can increase assets while keeping liabilities stable or decreasing them.

Net Worth in Business:

In business, net worth is synonymous with book value or shareholders' equity. A company's equity is determined by deducting total liabilities from total assets. Notably, a company's balance sheet highlights historical costs or book values, not current market values.

Net Worth in Personal Finance:

For individuals, net worth is calculated by subtracting liabilities from assets. Liabilities include debts such as mortgages, credit card balances, and loans, as well as other obligations like bills and taxes. Assets encompass savings and checking account balances, the value of securities, real estate, and other possessions.

High-net-worth individuals form the prime market for wealth managers and investment counselors. Investors with a net worth of at least $1 million, excluding their primary residence, are classified as "accredited investors" and allowed to invest in unregistered securities offerings.

Example of Net Worth:

Consider a couple with assets valued at $375,000 and liabilities totaling $110,000. Their net worth would be calculated as $375,000 - $110,000 = $265,000.

Example of Net Worth

Negative Net Worth:

Negative net worth occurs when total debt exceeds total assets. This situation calls for focusing on debt reduction strategies and budgeting to improve financial standing.

Determining a "Good" Net Worth:

A "good" net worth varies for each individual, depending on their circumstances, financial needs, and lifestyle. On average, an individual's net worth in the U.S. was $121,700 in 2019.


Net worth is a valuable indicator of an individual's or business's financial prosperity. Understanding net worth involves considering both assets and liabilities, as increasing assets and reducing debts can lead to a higher net worth.

Resourse: investopedia

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