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Old 09-03-2016, 10:21 PM   #21
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I use nominal values in my net worth. So I include the full value of my tax deferred 401K and IRA even though I will only get to keep ~70-75% on withdrawal.

Similarly, I include the full value of my home in my NW. I yanked >$100K out of other accounts to pay off my mortgage on retirement and would like to think that that transfer didn't change my NW.
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Old 09-03-2016, 10:48 PM   #22
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Financially, what I care about most is the bottom line of my Quicken screen, which lists only investable assets and nothing about the values of my 2 homes. Yes, I know if I need money, I can turn them into cash, well at least one of them, but I am not broke and still want to keep both.

Right now, maintaining the homes is a major expense category. That's how I regard them, as a source of expenses and not as assets.
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Old 09-03-2016, 11:44 PM   #23
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I used to use what we had paid for places - after owning them for decades that became kinda absurd. Then went to what the property tax man calls "True Market Value" - which is maybe close to reality. That lets Quicken give us a net worth figure. I'm painfully aware that if we sell any of the rentals we are liable to realize somewhere around 70-80% of the sale price after sale expenses and Mr. Taxman hit us up, so if I fantasize having no rentals our net worth drops pretty hard. Our Quicken net worth also includes our residences, but I'm aware that we need shelter somewhere, so depending what I'm trying to answer (estate value or cash to get us to our graves) I add or subtract those values.
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Old 09-04-2016, 02:13 AM   #24
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By definition "net worth" = all assets - all liabilities.

Like most people, I fiddle with this to produce the number that is most useful to us, and include the value of our real estate. Home equity is included because, even though we have no plans to sell, if the need ever arose, we could sell it and spend the money to support our lifestyle. We don't include (other) consumption items like the wine I have stored in a bonded warehouse, the value of a life insurance policy or the paintings on the walls.

We tend to use mortgagee values and update at year end (other assets and liabilities are done monthly) and don't account for realisation expenses on any of our assets.

Although not something an accountant would ever approve, for us it strikes the right balance between acting as a useful financial planning tool and not spending more time on the exercise than I have to.
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Old 09-04-2016, 02:29 AM   #25
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Online tools that track your net worth (notably Personal Capital) use market values from Zillow for real estate assets in the net worth calculation.
With 2 rental properties and a primary residence, this serves as a quick easy and consistent reference for these amounts, when calculating my net worth - and most useful to note any relative changes in value. So I use Zillow.
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Old 09-04-2016, 07:34 AM   #26
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Interesting responses. It seems that people are addressing three additional questions in addition to my original one:

Whether to include real estate and other assets in a net worth calculation to begin with: I include real estate because it is significant, and affects the amount of estate tax that will eventually become due. I don't include cars, jewelry, art, furnishings, etc. because even though in total they would amount to a few hundred thousand in liquidation value, they are too hard to value and that isn't a big number relative to the other assets.

What value to use for the real estate: I use values I think are reasonable and achievable if the properties were to be sold. I don't use tax assessor values because those are not good, and I don't use Zillow for the same reason (Zillow currently values my three homes at an aggregate of $1 million more than I do).

Whether to use after-tax values for assets: Since I'm using this primarily for estate tax purposes, I don't need to worry about capital gains or income taxes. If I were using this to look at withdrawal rate, I might be more concerned with taxes.

After reading the answers so far, I think I'm on the right track. Thanks.
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Old 09-04-2016, 07:48 AM   #27
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Interesting responses. It seems that people are addressing three additional questions in addition to my original one:

Whether to include real estate and other assets in a net worth calculation to begin with: I include real estate because it is significant, and affects the amount of estate tax that will eventually become due. I don't include cars, jewelry, art, furnishings, etc. because even though in total they would amount to a few hundred thousand in liquidation value, they are too hard to value and that isn't a big number relative to the other assets.

What value to use for the real estate: I use values I think are reasonable and achievable if the properties were to be sold. I don't use tax assessor values because those are not good, and I don't use Zillow for the same reason (Zillow currently values my three homes at an aggregate of $1 million more than I do).

Whether to use after-tax values for assets: Since I'm using this primarily for estate tax purposes, I don't need to worry about capital gains or income taxes. If I were using this to look at withdrawal rate, I might be more concerned with taxes.

After reading the answers so far, I think I'm on the right track. Thanks.
Right, for estate purposes I include a full asset list annually in a letter to my attorney. I provide a swag number for non RE, hard assets but it isn't a lot in terms of value. This is the only time I rack up a full asset list - to give him a listing in case it changes how he views our estate plan.
This year we are selling a rental property in another state so that will change the listing for him. It will also bump our retirement portfolio by the net proceeds.
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Old 09-04-2016, 08:34 AM   #28
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I'll keep track of my net worth, including my home equity ,but do not use it in RE type calculations. The home equity kind of fits into the "money needed as a last resort" scenario. A bit divided on this as living in Orange County CA it is not unusual to have a pretty big chunk tied up in real estate just owning your own home.
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Old 09-04-2016, 10:03 AM   #29
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For me Net Worth is just a number for fun. This number is not used for any of my financial calculations. I include the full value of my personal residence and assign a ballpark amount for cars, jewelry and all other personal property.
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Old 09-04-2016, 10:40 AM   #30
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For me Net Worth is just a number for fun. This number is not used for any of my financial calculations. I include the full value of my personal residence and assign a ballpark amount for cars, jewelry and all other personal property.

Ditto, though i do occasionally fantasize (sp?) that it is my cash out, go off grid, nomadic, walkabout, live in a tent money.


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Old 09-04-2016, 01:00 PM   #31
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Like many here, I regularly calculate a net worth number, and I include the value of residential real estate. I have been giving those (realistic) values a 5% haircut to reflect Realtor commissions. Now I'm questioning whether that makes sense. Other items, like equities, are shown without commissions taken out, although they would be much less than 5%. Also, the Realtor commissions would only be a portion of closing costs. Am I overthinking this?
While I include our home in periodic NW estimates, because home value is a SWAG and because it's a small % of the total (We don't live in close to a McMansion home or in a high priced RE area), considering realtor commissions is pretty meaningless to me.
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Old 09-04-2016, 03:48 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by COcheesehead View Post
I do it without commissions because the commission isn't "due" yet.
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Originally Posted by pb4uski View Post
Agreed, in personal financial statements real estate would be presented at estimated fair value, but excluding the commission. If you list it and it sells, then the commission is owed and recorded,
From SOP 82-1 under the general guidelines for determining estimated current value of assets:

Quote:
Costs of disposal, such as commissions, if material, should be considered in determining estimated current values.
Also, specifically regarding what to consider for real estate valuation (emphasis added):

Quote:
Appraisals based on estimates of selling prices and selling costs obtained from independent real estate agents or brokers familiar with similar properties in similar locations.
Doesn't matter whether or not it's "owed." Under SOP 82-1, assets and liabilities are essentially presented at cash liquidation value. Same reason you are supposed to make provision for estimated income taxes due on tax-deferred investments, etc. I suspect very few people do that; and that's a much bigger deal than real estate commissions.

Personally, my net worth calculation includes the value of the personal residence. I even include a portion of the value in my retirement income planning since we plan to downsize at some point. But I don't make any deduction for anticipated selling costs, nor do I reduce tax-deferred assets for estimated income taxes. I also don't include cars and other personal effects as it's all immaterial.
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Old 09-04-2016, 06:49 PM   #33
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I use Quickbooks to manage my personal finances. The tax basis of my house appears on my personal balance sheet. This is the purchase price + acquisition costs + capital improvements. I'm hoping to die in this house (not soon), but if I do ever have to sell, the tax basis will be right at my fingertips and exceptionally well documented - not bad!

As others have said, the net worth is just a number, and I prefer for the number to underestimate true net worth to discourage irresponsible spending. So, I don't mind that the current market value of my house probably exceeds the tax basis by a substantial amount.
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Old 09-04-2016, 07:05 PM   #34
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To be fair, you should include that portion of SOP 82-1 (more recently codified in ASC 274) in its entirety, as follows:

Quote:
Real Estate (Including Leaseholds)
.24 Investments in real estate (including leaseholds) should be presented in personal financial statements at their estimated current values. Information that may be used in determining their estimated current values includes—
  • a. Sales of similar property in similar circumstances.
  • b. The discounted amounts of projected cash receipts and payments relating to the property or the net realizable value of the property, based on planned courses of action, including leaseholds whose current rental value exceeds the rent in the lease.
  • c. Appraisals based on estimates of selling prices and selling costs obtained from independent real estate agents or brokers familiar with similar properties in similar locations.
  • d. Appraisals used to obtain financing.
  • e. Assessed value for property taxes, including consideration of the basis for such assessments and their relationship to market values in the area.
Also, SOP 82-1, paragraph 12 indicates:
Quote:
Personal financial statements should present assets at their estimated current values and liabilities at their estimated current amounts. The estimated current value of an asset in personal financial statements is the amount at which the item could be exchanged between a buyer and seller, each of whom is well informed and willing, and neither of whom is compelled to buy or sell. Costs of disposal, such as commissions, if material, should be considered in determining estimated current values.
So the guidance says selling costs should be considered if material. In most cases, certainly mine, it would not be material to my personal financial statements as real estate is ~22% of our net worth so even 6% selling costs would only be 1.4% of our net worth. In fact in our case it might well be misleading as only one of three properties that we have owned and sold have involved an agent so we have had no selling costs in 2 out of 3 sales.

While I'll concede the guidance is conflicting, it is also very old... older than my CPA DD.... given the Board's recent thinking on fair value, they would not be net of selling costs as the Board would likely feel that to do so would be implicitly recording a liability before the underlying obligation has occurred. In areas that they have focused on more recently like equity securities, the recorded value is not net of selling costs for the same reasons.
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Old 09-04-2016, 07:53 PM   #35
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...So the guidance says selling costs should be considered if material. In most cases, certainly mine, it would not be material to my personal financial statements as real estate is ~22% of our net worth so even 6% selling costs would only be 1.4% of our net worth. In fact in our case it might well be misleading as only one of three properties that we have owned and sold have involved an agent so we have had no selling costs in 2 out of 3 sales.

While I'll concede the guidance is conflicting, it is also very old... older than my CPA DD.... given the Board's recent thinking on fair value, they would not be net of selling costs as the Board would likely feel that to do so would be implicitly recording a liability before the underlying obligation has occurred. In areas that they have focused on more recently like equity securities, the recorded value is not net of selling costs for the same reasons.
I agree that real estate commissions will be immaterial in many cases. That's why I don't consider it in my own net worth calculation. I just wanted to point out that your stated position (same as COcheesehead) was inconsistent with current professional guidance. It sounds like you don't disagree with that; you just contend that it's usually immaterial, the guidance is old, and the Board would likely take a different position today based on recent trends on other issues. That's fair, but I highly doubt that "Personal Financial Statements" are on anybody's radar screen. So the current guidance, old as it may be, "is what it is."

I'd be more curious about your take on the requirement that tax-deferred assets should be stated net of estimated income tax, as if they were liquidated as of the statement date. To me, that's a bit aggressive, given the opportunities for Roth conversions, 10% penalties pre-59.5, etc.
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Old 09-04-2016, 08:36 PM   #36
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As others are I think alluding too, it depends on the purpose. Eg: Just for a pure networth perspective or is it for estate planning?
And as others have mentioned, RE is pretty hard to assess IMO.
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Old 09-04-2016, 09:19 PM   #37
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Way over thinking this.
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Old 09-04-2016, 09:28 PM   #38
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If I know how much I'll be worth when I'm dead, I feel better about it. So every penny counts.
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Old 09-05-2016, 05:35 AM   #39
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I do about a 10% reduction from what I think the real estate is worth since most people overvalue their own stuff.
I think there's too much variability in RE prices to narrow it down to the level of figuring in a 5-6% commission.

In our neck of the woods houses are selling for 15-20% over the agent's set asking price; lots of bidding wars taking place. (SIL is a RE broker)
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Old 09-06-2016, 09:34 AM   #40
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Just sold my home @4.25% commission. I didn't initially subtract that from net worth numbers though I don't get that exact. Some add commission to asking price to try to recoup. At the end of the day the fee is not going to change my lifestyle. Broadly speaking my home equity definitely helps me sleep at night.
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