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View Poll Results: Net worth: by person, or household?
Household 129 86.00%
Each individual 15 10.00%
Other, see thread 6 4.00%
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Old 09-09-2020, 10:35 AM   #21
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Net worth is the sum of all assets minus liabilities. I don't know the value of my non-portfolio assets, so I don't calculate it. I calculate value of my portfolio only. I can guess DW's portfolio value or ask her if need be. But she handles her $ and I handle mine.
That's interesting; if you don't mind being specific, what assets do you have that you don't know the value of? I get emails from Zillow telling me the market price on our house has gone up or down, but it hasn't changed significantly at all for a while now. I don't include the value of our vehicles or household goods because the amount they're worth compared to the amount of effort to liquidate them means they probably won't ever be sold, or if they are, it'll be for very little.

I do use Fidelity's "Full View", and have it refresh the balances from all our accounts, including my spouse's. We each have management access on all of each others' accounts, because, for example, I do the Roth backdoor conversion for both of us each month. What's nice is that it includes the Zillow value of the house, and our debts (just credit cards, and the one 0% car loan that's almost gone).
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Old 09-09-2020, 10:38 AM   #22
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I use individual NW because I'm not married to my long time partner, and even if we were we would keep separate finances. Technically I guess it would be considered my household NW as well because we are separate tax households since we are unmarried.
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Old 09-09-2020, 10:39 AM   #23
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I've always calculated NW on an individual basis for myself, but that's because I've been single and living alone for pretty much the entire time I've been wealthy enough to routinely keep track of my NW.

IMHO, it's pretty simple. If you are in a committed, long-term relationship where both people are "all in" together financially, then you should be interested in household NW. Otherwise, individual NW is what matters.
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Old 09-09-2020, 10:54 AM   #24
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I track individual NW, as we keep finances separate.
This was to keep her money "safe" which is what I wanted.
She has a few accounts/bonds where I'm not sure the value, but just estimate.

I add them up together to get our NW.
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Old 09-09-2020, 11:02 AM   #25
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We have been married for 35 years. We use household NW.
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Old 09-09-2020, 11:38 AM   #26
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Are you preparing for divorce?
It happens more often than not.
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Old 09-09-2020, 11:52 AM   #27
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When I calculate NW, which isn't often, it's household. Since I don't plan on selling the house, nor divorcing the hubster... It's not a useful number to me.

Like Ronstar, I calculate the portfolio at least weekly. By portfolio - that means investible assets in investment accounts, retirement accounts, etc.

A few times a year a do an all-in networth... and include things I don't include normally - like the 529's for the kids, the HSA accounts, and the low interest savings accounts, as well as a guesstimate on the real estate. Even then I don't include assets like cars, and other stuff.

But I always do it by household. In a simple view it could be looked at as divided in half for individual. But in reality, in a divorce, it isn't since I have an inherited IRA and larger retirement accounts. (Yes - I'd have to share some of the retirement accounts if divorced.) But no plans to ever get divorced....
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Old 09-09-2020, 11:54 AM   #28
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As do we.
Same here.
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Old 09-09-2020, 11:57 AM   #29
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HH. But really depends on who is asking, and why.

The way "we" see it, we built this together, and we will spend it together.

I think it plays into how we view equity as a married couple as well...some get it confused with equal, or half or whats his and hers is mine etc etc...


it's ours, and we are blessed.
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Old 09-09-2020, 12:00 PM   #30
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Are you preparing for divorce?
Not really, just curious, since we often see people have slightly different takes on what defines net worth. It might take another thread, but I'm also curious what non-monetary assets people might include. For example, I have no idea what the fair market value of our vehicles might be, and I don't think I'd be interested in tracking it. Meanwhile, Fidelity and USAA have ways to include a Zillow valuation or manually enter a market value for your real estate. But we also have a piece of jewelry that was appraised at $10K, which is a nice round number and the value is probably pretty stable, but I don't include that simply because I have no idea how I would sell it even if I wanted to. Plus adding the value of household items feels like a slippery slope.
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Old 09-09-2020, 12:01 PM   #31
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I guess it would be household, but I am not sure of the value even calculating NW. So I've never done it.
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Old 09-09-2020, 12:22 PM   #32
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Not really, just curious, since we often see people have slightly different takes on what defines net worth. It might take another thread, but I'm also curious what non-monetary assets people might include. For example, I have no idea what the fair market value of our vehicles might be, and I don't think I'd be interested in tracking it. Meanwhile, Fidelity and USAA have ways to include a Zillow valuation or manually enter a market value for your real estate. But we also have a piece of jewelry that was appraised at $10K, which is a nice round number and the value is probably pretty stable, but I don't include that simply because I have no idea how I would sell it even if I wanted to. Plus adding the value of household items feels like a slippery slope.
I count financial assets and the house only. All the other stuff we have is not worth a hill of beans to anyone but us. As "The Millionaire Next Door" reminded us long ago, just ask an auctioneer what all your possessions will bring - the answer is pennies on the dollar compared to what you paid. So I don't count any of it.
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Old 09-09-2020, 01:16 PM   #33
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That's interesting; if you don't mind being specific, what assets do you have that you don't know the value of?

2 cars, truck, furniture, atv, bikes, mowers, tools, clothing, etc, etc. Not a lot of value in the grand scope of things, but things that are normally included in ‘net worth’ as taken literally per accounting principles.
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Old 09-09-2020, 01:37 PM   #34
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I guess it would be household, but I am not sure of the value even calculating NW. So I've never done it.
In my opinion, it's useful for people like us feeling superior to those who are up to their ears in loans so that they can have a fancy new car every few years and a fancy house and other things beyond their means that they feel conveys status. It can help remind us of why we don't do that, but generally among those of us here, it's probably not that useful...except that I'm seriously considering relocating in retirement, in which case the house would be sold, and so NW would be at least slightly more relevant than it is now, especially if we decide to rent or just travel for a while while we see what we want to do long-term.
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Old 09-09-2020, 02:30 PM   #35
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I've always calculated NW on an individual basis for myself, but that's because I've been single and living alone for pretty much the entire time I've been wealthy enough to routinely keep track of my NW.
I was single for so long that I still calculate everything with just my NW although it's been 6 years since I remarried.
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Old 09-09-2020, 02:38 PM   #36
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To me, it just depends on how co-mingled your finances are. I always considered my Mom and stepdad to be a single "unit" when it comes to their net worth. Same for both sets of my grandparents.

But, if my uncle comes to live with me in his old age, I wouldn't consider him and I to be a "household" or, for lack of better word, "unit". Even though, if we share the same address, the government might consider us to be one, I guess.
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Old 09-09-2020, 03:04 PM   #37
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My wife and my finances are so co-mingled that I am not sure I could calculate an individual net worth for each of us, unless I calculated household net worth and divided by 2.
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Old 09-09-2020, 03:21 PM   #38
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I was single for so long that I still calculate everything with just my NW although it's been 6 years since I remarried.
I've been single for about 25 years. It just occurred to me that in a recent conversation my GF said if we ever got married or moved in together, she wants to keep finances separate, and have a prenup. I wasn't sure how to approach that, so it sounds just fine to me. So, I'd still be calculating just my NW if we get to that point.
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Old 09-09-2020, 03:49 PM   #39
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DGF and I share all the expenses together and have some joint accounts and some single 401k/IRA accounts.
Since we are not married, it could be theoretically trickier. More of her monies will be used until 70 y.o., then much more of my monies from thereon.
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Household or individual NW?
Old 09-09-2020, 06:22 PM   #40
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Household or individual NW?

We both work and keep net worth separate. We both contribute to joint account to pay for living expenses. We split costs even with a slight income tilt (non-essential purchases made by higher income). Gifts, cars, and high $ personal expenses (jewelry, gaming computer, etc) come from individual accounts.

Part of this is we have different timelines for work. If I want to quit early I need my savings to still cover my contribution. Back when, we both didn’t want the power dynamic of being forced to rely on the other and have tried to be equal partners.

But money has never been an issue between us. I think it would be harder to commingle if one spouse wanted a $80k lux car and another wanted a $15k Camry so they could save the rest.
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