Net Worth Tracking: The Number One Tool For Real Financial Success (FREE Spreadsheet)

Tracking net worth was hugely important in helping me save $100,000 by age 25. To get a free copy of the custom spreadsheet I used to hit my goal, just sign up to the Deep Dish newsletter (if you’re an existing subscriber, it’s already in your inbox). To learn more about net worth tracking, read on!

Net worth featured image

Smoke and mirrors

Two dudes pull into a parking lot. Dude number one climbs out of a late-model European sports car, looking sharp in an Armani suit and designer sunglasses. Dude number two swings his battered Birkenstock-clad feet out of a beat-up Toyota Corolla. Which of the two is more financially successful?

At face value, dude number one wins hands-down.

Now, here’s what you don’t see: Flashy bro is three payments behind on the car, which is about to be repossessed. The fine garments were also bought on credit. His shades hide his red-rimmed eyes, swollen from crying because his girlfriend left him after one money fight too many. The whole precarious house of (credit) cards is about to come tumbling down.

Here’s what you don’t see about scruffy sandals dude: He doesn’t owe anyone a dime, is a self-made millionaire, and retired young. His Birkenstocks are worn out from all the excellent adventures he takes with his beautiful family.

‘Keeping up with the Jones’ is all smoke and mirrors, which is why it’s such a deadly game to play. The latest and greatest gadget, glamorous holidays, carefully curated social media feeds – none of it means jack shit. It’s often the people most desperate to appear successful who are actually miserable and drowning in debt.

The great bullshit detector

Net worth slices through all the pretenses. The definition is simple: It’s everything you own, minus everything you owe.

This number strips away the preening, the posturing, and the peacocking, laying bare your real money situation. There’s nowhere to hide.

Growing your net worth over time – by reducing debt and building up assets – is the only meaningful definition of financial success.

How to calculate net worth

Open up the spreadsheet I sent you, or grab a pen and paper. First you want to list everything you own of value. That means cash, bank account balances, investments, retirement accounts, houses, vehicles and any other possessions worth mentioning.

Net worth tracking 'assets' screenshot from spreadsheet.
The positive side of the ledger might look something like this.

(If you’re not sure how to go about valuing these, hover your cursor over each category in the spreadsheet for specific advice.)

Now for the not-so-fun bit: Time to dredge up all the red ink. Dig out credit card statements, your student loan debt, mortgage balance, car payments, overdrafts, unpaid library fines, and the $50 you still owe your cousin from last Christmas.

Net worth tracking 'debts' screenshot from spreadsheet.
Here’s an example of the less savoury side of the equation.

You should now have two subtotals. Subtract the debts from the assets, and you’ve got your net worth.

DON’T PANIC!

Be warned – calculating your net worth for the first time will probably suck. When I first ran the numbers, I realised I had less than a cent to my name. It was like having a bucket of ice water dumped over my head; shocking at first, but ultimately invigorating.

A Clockwork Orange: Alex has his eyes clamped open.
Net worth clamps open your eyelids, forcing you to examine your financial situation in all its gory detail.

This might be just the sort of wake-up call needed to get your shit together.

If you’re in the red, it’s important not to panic or get disheartened and quit. As long as your net worth starts moving in the right direction, you’re on your way. Clawing your way from being $100k in the hole to debt freedom is just as impressive as going from debt freedom to six figures.

Consistency is key

The management maxim ‘What gets measured, gets done’ is sort of cheesy, but I like it. If something is important to me, I measure and track the shit out of it, whether it’s calories, weights on a barbell, savings, or anything else.

Once you’ve calculated net worth once, it’s easy to update the numbers. Create a recurring event in your calendar that prompts you to check in regularly (maybe every month or quarter) to make sure you’re on the right track.

If you’re falling behind, give yourself a hearty kick in the butt and vow to do better (Check The Ultimate Guide to Slashing Your Spending for inspiration on areas that might need pruning).

Net worth tracking spreadsheet screenshot of the 'overview' page.
If you’re doing well, you’ll be rewarded with watching this graph march its way up to the heavens.

Net worth is not self-worth

This should go without saying, but sometimes people get it twisted. Your net worth has no correlation with your value as a human being (if it did, ‘billionaire’ wouldn’t be synonymous with ‘puppy-eating tyrant’).

Comparing your net worth with others is interesting, but not super helpful. The only person you should be competing against is yourself, so let’s try not to replace one dick-measuring contest with another.

With that being said: If you’re one of the few people who understand the importance of net worth tracking, you’re automatically ahead of the pack.

Keep that number moving in the right direction, ignore all the other bullshit, and financial success is all but guaranteed.

GOOD LUCK!

Thumbs up group photo
Remember, the entire team here at Deep Dish is rooting for you.
TIPS FOR USING THE SPREADSHEET
  • You don’t need any special software. There are two versions available; one for Excel and one for Google Sheets.
  • Once you’ve opened the sheet, navigate to the ‘getting started’ tab on the bottom right for instructions.
  • Big ups to my sister who did all the technical stuff with, like, equations and shit. If you need any Excel work done, fire me an email and I’ll pass your details on to her.

Any questions on net worth tracking? If you already track your net worth, how’s it going? Let me know in the comments!

Leave a Reply

13 Comments on "Net Worth Tracking: The Number One Tool For Real Financial Success (FREE Spreadsheet)"

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AaronZeroto100 (@AaronPA007)

Amazing. Cheers for this!

Richard Meadows
Richard Meadows

No worries Aaron!

JBurns
JBurns

With you use the ASB net worth calculator they include insurances – life cover and so on. Why are these not included in your definition?

Richard Meadows
Richard Meadows

Hey dude, the bank probably includes those because it’s in the business of selling them! Insurance policies are not an asset for net worth purposes- you might have a million bucks of liability cover, but it doesn’t make you a millionaire. Insurance falls more into the category of ‘annoying but necessary’ spending. You could include the surrender value if there’s some sort of payout for cancelling the policy before it matures, but other than that I wouldn’t worry about it.

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[…] sure to check out ‘Net Worth Tracking: The Number One Tool For Real Financial Success‘ to learn more, and grab yourself a free copy of my […]

Helen
Helen

Can I just say – best team shot ever. Bet you lot have loads of fun : )

Helen
Helen

Oh and thanks for the spreadsheet – I’m definitely going to give it a go

Richard Meadows
Richard Meadows

Oh, you bet!
Cheers Helen, hope the spreadsheet serves you well.

Susan
Susan

Love the spreadsheet, thanks a lot!

Richard Meadows
Richard Meadows

No worries Susan, glad you’re enjoying it!

Rachel

Love reading your posts (I also love that you don’t spam….less is more). I have been meaning to calculate this for a long time. That student loan just isn’t getting any smaller….. plus I live overseas so that interest keeps racking up. I have some serious motivation to bring my networth into the positive !! Thanks for the tools =)

Richard Meadows
Richard Meadows

Hey Rachel, sorry, just saw your comment – your kind words are much appreciated. All the best with slaying that student loan, let me know how you get on! 🙂

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