The Best Ways to Keep Track of Net Worth

Making financial progress involves keeping track of your net worth. Tracking your net worth can give you a much-needed reality check. It allows you to see if you are actually paying down debt or earning money in your retirement account. You can make adjustments to your debt repayment plan or savings plan based on your net worth. When you know your net worth, you can set a financial goal. For example, you can decide to increase your net worth by $5,000 within a year by paying off the last $2,500 of your student loan and by saving an additional $2,500 for retirement. In the digital age, tracking your net worth is less complicated than it once was.

What is Net Worth?

Net worth is the difference between your assets and debts. If you have more debts than assets, you have a negative net worth. For example, if you have a $15,000 student loan, a $10,000 retirement account, $2,000 in cash and $5,000 in credit card debt, your net worth is minus $8,000. Some people review their net worth monthly, after they pay their bills and add to their savings. You can also choose to review your net worth every quarter or on an annual basis.

Online Budgeting Program

Online budgeting programs often track net worth for you. This may be the simplest way to track your net worth, as the program does all the math for you. You grant the program access to your various accounts, such as your bank accounts, loans and investment accounts. The budget program totals the amounts in the each account or the amounts you owe to let you know your net worth from day to day. One drawback of using an online budgeting program is that you have to provide your passwords and personal information.

Spreadsheet

If you prefer to track your net worth yourself, you can use a spreadsheet. To create the spreadsheet, type the name of each account in its own row in the first column. In the corresponding row of the second column, type in the amount in each account or the amount you owe. Use the sum function to calculate your net worth. You need to adjust the amounts in your account on your own from month to month or however frequently you decide to keep track. There is room for error. For example, you may forget to calculate a payment on a loan, throwing your net worth off.

Online Calculator

An online net worth calculator provides an automated way to track your net worth that does not require you to reveal personal information. Typically, online calculators feature boxes that you type the value of various assets or debts into. You press "calculate" to find out your net worth. While you usually cannot save the results, you can take a screen shot of the calculator and save the image for your records. Compare the images from time to time to see how your net worth is changing.

About the Author

Based in Pennsylvania, Emily Weller has been writing professionally since 2007, when she began writing theater reviews Off-Off Broadway productions. Since then, she has written for TheNest, ModernMom and Rhode Island Home and Design magazine, among others. Weller attended CUNY/Brooklyn college and Temple University.