Let’s cut to the chase from the get go.
Everything you own of significant value is known as your assets, and all of your debts are called liabilities.
Your net worth is essentially the total figure after you add all of your assets and subtract all of your debts.
So you now know the basics of what your net worth means. But why does this matter?
Because knowing what your net worth is helps you evaluate your current financial status and see progress over time.
More importantly, I believe keeping track of your net worth can make the difference between being motivated to improve it, or staying unaware and uninspired to change it. Those who monitor their net worth and take control of their money will of course become richer than those on the sidelines.
And there’s nothing sweeter than having a net worth high enough to reach financial freedom.
If you’re a college student or a young professional, the earlier you get a jump on this the better. Time and compound interest (interest that makes interest off of itself essentially) are on your side to grow your wealth when you’re young.
So let’s learn more about net worth, how to track it, and how to improve it over time.
What Does Net Worth Specifically Include
We have the basic understanding of adding our assets and subtracting our debts to get to our net worth. But you may be asking what are some specific assets and what are some specific debts or liabilities.
Here’s a list below with the most common assets and debts.
- Stocks/retirement accounts
- Savings account money
- Checking account money
- Art, coins, jewelry, etc. (need to be rare and of value to be a significant asset)
- Student loans
- Credit card debt
- Personal loans
- Car loans
- Home loans (mortgage)
This list should make sense for the most part. But there is one potentially confusing area. You’ll find that a car and a home appear as both an asset and a debt.
This is because if you spend $10,000 on a car, you now have both the asset of the vehicle’s worth plus the debt of a monthly bill.
And once you make all the payments to completely pay off the car loan, then it becomes a 100% asset. Although cars depreciate over time until they’re essentially worth a big old $0.
So spending money on a car may be necessary to commute to work, but it’s not in the same league as buying stock when it comes to assets.
How To Track Your Net Worth
The ancient way of tracking your net worth is to get out a pen and a notebook, draw a line down the middle, and write down all your assets on the left and their value, and all your debts on the right and their value.
Then subtract your debts from your assets to find your net worth. Besides this being a pain, you’d unfortunately have to repeat this process each time you wanted to recalculate because your assets and debts will change over time.
Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?
Or you can scratch this monotonous task and use technology to your advantage. The money management site Mint.com automatically calculates your net worth for you so you can spend your time doing better things.
Mint.com is extremely easy to use and user-friendly. All you need to do is initially connect your bank accounts and credit cards, then Mint will calculate your net worth and update it each day.
There’s also a tab on Mint called ‘Trends’ that I check each month to see how my net worth is changing over time. It’s encouraging when you increase your income, save more, or spend less, and find your net worth rising month after month.
How To Improve Your Net Worth
You now know what makes up your net worth and how to track your wealth. There’s one last subject and it’s the most important: building your net worth.
For simplicity, the two routes to build your net worth are to increase your assets and decrease your liabilities. The five steps below are designed to accomplish both of these tasks.
And if you consistently implement these action steps in your life, you’ll watch your net worth soar to five, six, or seven figures and beyond. That means success and financial freedom is around the corner for those who take action.
1. Increase your income
If your schedule allows it as a student, then I’m certainly a fan of young adults working to make money on the side.
Get an off-campus or on-campus job. Tutor other students for money. Or start a blog and monetize it later.
Even if your income is low, it’s helpful to get in the habit of increasing your net worth before you graduate.
If you’ve graduated and are making a full-time income, then look for ways to make more money: work a side hustle on the weekend, negotiate a salary raise, or find a new, higher-paying job.
A high-income isn’t a necessity to increase your net worth, but some type of income is needed to improve your net worth.
2. Save a high percentage of your income
In my new book Freedom Money, I recommend saving 50% of your income if you have a full-time job. This may seem like a lot, because it is, and saving that much money will be difficult if you’re not used to it.
But by saving a high percentage of your income over time, you give yourself the freedom to retire early or work on something you enjoy. For example, some people who save over 50% of their income from age 22 and on are able to retire at 35 or even 30.
This is easier said than done, but it shows the opportunity is there when you commit to saving money. And the freedom to do what you want makes saving this worth it.
If you’re in college and with student loans, then save 50% of your income and use that to pay off your student debt when you graduate. Or if you’re a college student without loans, save 50% of your income and put it in index funds (point #5 below).
3. Spend less on liabilities and buy more assets
A guaranteed way to improve your net worth is to spend less than you make each month. Each dollar that you spend eating out or buying a new outfit is money subtracted from your net worth. That’s common sense and everyone knows this.
But what people don’t know or fail to act on is that each dollar spent on a frivolous liability is money that could have been used to buy an asset—which will increase in value over time.
So spending $15,000 on a new car sounds like a good idea, until you realize that in 20 years the car will be worth $0.
And you could have put this same $15,000 in an asset—like an index fund—that would turn into $60,000 in 20 years. If you’re decent at math, that’s four times the initial sum.
4. Attack your debt
If you have a negative net worth where your debts outweigh your assets, which is common as a young adult, then attacking your debt is essential. Even if you have a high net worth, paying down debt will help you sleep easier at night with less anxiety.
To do this, use the extra money from saving more and spending less to aggressively pay off your debt. Some powerful approaches to get your debt to zero include:
- Paying biweekly instead of monthly
- Making larger payments than required
- Setting up automatic payments
If you’re looking for loan forgiveness, check out this article on how to fund graduate school. And if you don’t have any debt, your priority is to stay out of debt and work on building your assets to financial freedom.
5. Invest in index funds
You might lose money if you buy individual stocks, expensive mutual funds, or overpay a financial adviser. But history says you’re bound to make money if you invest in a low-cost index fund that mimics the S&P 500.
Over time, index funds have returned around 10% profit. That makes your local bank’s 0.05% saving account interest look like a crime.
To drive my point home about index funds, here’s what Warren Buffett said about it, “By periodically investing in an index fund, the know-nothing investor can actually out-perform most investment professionals.”
If you continue to buy and keep your money in the index fund, this asset can change your net worth and life in a radical manner.
If you’ve calculated what your net worth is, is it higher or lower than you expected? How will you take action to improve your net worth? Any other questions that I didn’t address?
The Definitive Guide To The 5 Hottest Cryptocurrencies Heading Into 2018
Despite naysayers saying that cryptocurrencies will bubble within the year, they continue to defy expectations by enjoying price boosts. Bitcoin, which was priced at $997.69 on January 2017, skyrocketed to $19,343 in December.
The recent publicity towards Bitcoin’s price surge has led to an increase in interest in the other cryptocurrencies as well.
Experts believe this is due to some form of trickle-down effect. Investors who become interested in Bitcoin realize that there are more digital currency investment options.
As a result, the other cryptocurrencies have also experienced price hikes in the past months, although not to the same extent as Bitcoin. Litecoin experienced a 225% price jump just this month, which led financial analysts Mitch Steves and Amit Daryanani to speculate that 2017 is just the beginning of the cryptocurrency boom.
While some experts dismiss the suggestion that cryptocurrencies may eventually replace traditional money, they also acknowledged that their prices will continue to soar in 2018.
A previous Take Your Success article even talked about how crypto coins are making their way into the Christmas stockings of investors. It’s only one of the many proofs of the increasing popularity of cryptocurrency.
Below are the top five cryptocurrencies that have positive 2018 projections from analysts across the world.
Bitcoin remains as the head of the pack when it comes to cryptocurrencies, and analysts say that its rally will not stop in 2018.
Managing director of cryptocurrency trading firm Octagon Strategy Dave Chapman estimates that Bitcoin will go beyond $100,000 before 2018 ends. The expert, who earlier predicted that the digital currency will breach $10,000 in 2017, has an overall positive outlook towards the cryptocurrency. He took the position that Bitcoin is on its way to disrupting traditional financial systems with its ability to allow the immediate transfer of value without any need for middlemen.
Nonetheless, Coinwire reported that Canadian businessman Kevin O’Leary warned investors to take care when investing in Bitcoin. While he acknowledged that Bitcoins are assets, he also said that buying them is a gamble, with investors potentially losing all the money they put into it. He advised those interested in investing in Bitcoin to understand it better first before putting their money in it.
Its high cost – currently on its way to breaching the $20,000 mark – has dissuaded all but the richest investors in purchasing or mining this digital currency. Instead, they have turned to other cryptocurrencies.
Recently, Blockchain CEO Peter Smith announced that central banks are likely to hold Bitcoin and Ether by 2018. If this pushes through, this will be the first time that digital currencies will be bought by such financial institutions. This potential development can spell good news for Ethereum, which is already enjoying a price rally in the past months. Since its inception in 2015, it has enjoyed growth by over 1,200%.
Interestingly enough, Ethereum is not actually marketed as a digital currency, but rather as a smart contract network. According to experts, it is this aspect of Ethereum that explains why Ethereum actually has a more efficient system and covers a broader scope than Bitcoin. In fact, some experts are currently exploring whether the system can be used as a supply-chain efficiency solution.
Many Fortune 500 companies support Ethereum, which gives an indication of the cryptocurrency’s status as a sound investment choice.
Bitcoin might have the highest price compared tp other cryptocurrencies in 2017, but it’s actually Litecoin – which is being marketed as the silver to Bitcoin’s gold – that experienced a more dramatic surge. Fortune reported that Litecoin rose by 7,291%, as opposed to Bitcoin’s 1,731%.
Ironically, Litecoin’s creator Charles Lee maintains that he developed the digital currency to complement and not compete with Bitcoin. Still, more investors are now shifting to Litecoin because it is easier to mine and offers faster transactions.
Unlike Bitcoin which is focused on hefty transactions, Litecoin is packaged as a platform that can manage a large volume of small transactions quickly and efficiently. A Litecoin transaction can be completed roughly within 2.5 minutes, as opposed to Bitcoin, which processes transactions at around 10 minutes. Litecoin’s lower price, compared to Bitcoin, also makes this more accessible to budding cryptocurrency investors.
IOTA recently made headlines when its price surged by over 90%. The spike happened after an announcement of its partnership with major tech firms such as Microsoft and Samsung on a marketplace that allows them to sell data.
The developers of IOTA claim that it is the first platform anchored on the Internet of Things. It stands out from other cryptocurrencies because it does not rely on the traditional blockchain network. Instead, it uses an alternative system, a ‘blockless’ digital ledger called Tangle. In theory, it has no limit for scaling, as opposed to cryptocurrencies operating on a blockchain network.
Furthermore, it does not require users to pay additional fees when making transactions. IOTA effectively created an incentive system for data sharing, all while ensuring data integrity.
Investors can enter trading with IOTA via Bitfinex.
Ripple is considered by many experts to be the spiritual successor of Bitcoin, and it has already gathered its own share of supporters. It’s even accepted today as a payment platform for digital transactions. In the first half of 2017, its price surged by almost 4,000%. At the time of writing, Ripple is currently trading at $2.40 per unit. This is far past the benchmark of $0.75 which was considered as the threshold for the cryptocurrency to gain traction.
If the positive trend becomes more consistent, Ripple might get the support of more big firms as well. Oracle Times declared that it is likely to become the cryptocurrency of choice for Amazon, as well as other Internet-based retailers. This is because of Ripple’s faster transaction times and lower costs compared to Bitcoin.
Global financial retailers are more interested in stability than investment for the sake of its customers. This is precisely the reason why they tend to lean towards cryptocurrencies with lower volatility levels.
Disclosure: The author has invested in these cryptocurrencies. Also, this article is meant for information purposes only and is not investment advice. Seek a licensed professional if you’re looking for investment advice.
Bitcoin And Cryptocurrency Investor’s Shopping List
Are you shopping for the perfect gift for the cryptocurrency investor on your Christmas list? Look no farther. This is the ultimate guide for you.
From decked out Christmas party gear to adding to a lucky someone’s investment portfolio, the person who you’re buying for will be thrilled with each and every one of these present ideas.
I know as an investor in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies myself, I would be pumped if I opened any one of these gifts.
Also there are presents on this list that range all across the price spectrum from thousands of dollars to a few dollars—and a free bonus gift at the end.
I made sure that individuals with any budget could find something for who they’re buying for or themselves.
Let’s get into my top 10 shopping list for cryptocurrency enthusiasts.
Cryptocurrency Investor’s Shopping List
1. A cryptocurrency itself
Almost every cryptocurrency is exploding in value right now. What better gift than to add to their portfolio by buying a specific coin (or part of a coin) for them?
You can buy it, wait until December 25th, and then send the money to them. They’ll wake up with a nice surprise and a higher net worth thanks to your generosity.
And who knows, if the price of Bitcoin and Ethereum continue to rise then you may have gifted them something that becomes worth 20 times more than what you bought it for down the road. Name another gift that can do that.
If you’re looking to buy your first cryptocurrency, head over to Coinbase and sign up there.
As much as I love the crypto world and believe in it—considering I could see one Bitcoin reaching $100,000—the major downside is the threat of losing all of your money.
The way the ledger technology works is once the cryptocurrency leaves your account, there’s no way of getting it back. Sometimes that’s fine because you’re sending money to someone or transferring to another account of yours.
But the scary part is if you get hacked, there’s essentially no way to recover the funds. You’re out of luck and in total misery.
However, the odds of your personal account being hacked go down significantly if you store your money offline in a wallet. Here’s where the Ledger Nano S helps out.
It’s a hardware wallet that allows you to store your Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other alternative coins. To use it, just hook up the device through a USB outlet to your computer and then you can send and receive cryptocurrencies.
Most people in the industry consider this one of the safest methods for securing your funds.
Assuming you already have or are going to purchase the Nano Ledger S, that doesn’t protect you from losing this device in a home break-in or a fire. So what’s the solution? A fire-proof safety deposit box.
The safe box I linked to is 10 pounds of steel, fire proof, and gun proof. Talk about a beast! Plus it’s small enough to carry and not a gigantic box where you need to recruit a small army to move it.
Put your Nano Ledger S in that box and sleep safer at night.
P.S. This gift is only needed if you’re protecting more than a few thousands of dollars worth of cryptocurrency. For example, if the safe costs more than or close to the amount of money you have invested, you’re getting ahead of yourself and you should hold off on buying the safe.
While a real Bitcoin will currently cost you nearly $20,000—a year of college or a new car—I personally think it’d be cool to receive a physical Bitcoin with no money attached to it, just to have.
Seeing this physical coin on my desk would inspire me to make more money, save more money, and invest more into Bitcoin because I’m very bullish on it going forward. I’m a big believer in the power of symbols.
Obviously there’s not any money attached to it, like there can be with legitimate physical Bitcoins, but it’s still fun as long as you don’t try to sell it for $20,000 only to get arrested for fraud.
And this physical coin on your desk would serve as a nice reminder to hold onto that investment and don’t sell. Hodl!
5. The Internet of Money book
The author, Andreas M. Antonopoulos, is one of the world’s thought leaders on Bitcoin and the cryptocurrency space. But he’s not in it to confuse the average investor with fancy jargon only a miner would understand.
He breaks down the complex ideas behind the blockchain into digestible bites of information for the reader to consume and pass along to others.
If I remember correctly, I believe in one of his speeches that Antonopoulos said he put his entire net worth into Bitcoin (but I may be wrong).
Anyway, the author is a genius and you’ll inch closer to becoming an expert in this space by getting your knowledge on through reading this book.
6. Digital Gold book
Buying for someone who wants to know where Bitcoin originated and how it’s trying to be the financial currency for the Internet age? Author Nathaniel Popper tells the story of Bitcoin and the people who are trying to reinvent the way the world thinks of and uses currency.
It’s a fascinating read that’s full of useful information for anyone who is remotely interested in this subject. Plus the insight from Bitcoin millionaires is fantastic.
You can’t go wrong with Digital Gold!
And if the person you’re buying for isn’t a reader, then buy them the audiobook. It’s just as good.
7. Bitcoin socks
Bitcoin socks are what the person you’re shopping for needs to spice up their outfit. Their shirt, pants, and shoe combination can be boring, but your socks are where you show you have a personality.
Seriously, these black Bitcoin socks would go together with a black pants and black shoe combination while spicing up your vibe in a good way.
And I’m betting the person who wears these socks will get compliments left and right. So, maybe your gift is the reason a stranger strikes up a conversation and becomes their best friend or significant other. You never know.
8. Cryptocurrency t-shirt swag
People who want others to know they’re fashionable wear Supreme. But my kind of people who want others to know they’ve invested in Bitcoin and are holding until it hits the moon wear cryptocurrency swag.
There are beautiful shirts reading “I accept Bitcoin”, “HODL”, and “You had me at blockchain”.
You can find a t-shirt for just about any cryptocurrency that’s your favorite like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Ripple, Iota, etc, and then there’s individual shirts that apply more to investors or miners.
The point being is Amazon has the cryptocurrency swag for the person you’re shopping for, no doubt about it.
Ugly Christmas sweaters are now a necessity to any wardrobe with these types of parties becoming a mainstream theme for almost any work, neighborhood, or extracurricular event around this time of year.
This sweater is also the perfect conversation starter that will get people talking about the blockchain, investing, and the future. If you’re buying for yourself or a friend and want some conversational assistance at a party, this is for you.
Get yours today because we all know that Bitcoin is way hotter right now than Santa ever was.
Thank God for giving us humans coffee. It’s my everything in the morning.
But why have a boring coffee mug if you can have a Bitcoin-themed one? This mug says “KEEP CALM AND HODL” which is perfect for Bitcoin investors.
Again, I believe visual symbols are important. So if you can start your work day or weekend with a warm cup of coffee that reminds you to hold onto your investment and don’t sell it, odds are you’re going to be far richer in the future.
There are also other cryptocurrency-themed mugs, so take a look and treat your friend or yourself to one.
*11. Bonus gift
For everyone who has invested in Bitcoin and has once considering selling, give them or yourself the gift of visiting this website: shouldisellmybitcoins.com.
This amazing page always has a new GIF tells the answer we all need to hear. Brilliant!
Disclosure: The author does own Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in his portfolio. The above references an opinion and is for information purposes only. It is not intended to be investment advice. Seek a duly licensed professional for investment advice.
Should I Wait To Buy Bitcoin And Ethereum?
When cryptocurrency prices spike, you may question if you should wait to buy Bitcoin or Ethereum at a lower price later. Buying low is only wise after all.
Of course I don’t disagree with the reasoning behind the “buy low, sell high” thinking.
However, the methodology can be difficult if not impossible to accomplish with some investments in real life. And following that philosophy will cost you big opportunities to make money investing in Bitcoin, Ethereum, or other assets.
Let me explain the problem behind this philosophy—because once you understand you’ll become a better investor with more money to show for your efforts than you do now.
The Problem With Waiting To Buy Bitcoin And Ethereum
For people who believe in the cryptocurrency technology and are convinced they’re going to make money investing in the long term, what’s the logic in waiting to buy Bitcoin, Ethereum, or any other asset?
It’s simple: the thought process is by waiting to buy at a later time they can get Bitcoin at a cheaper price and make more money years from the date you purchased.
In a vacuum that strategy is unbeatable. However the market doesn’t work that way! In reality this strategy is very often botched.
Because every day you wait to buy Bitcoin, you run the risk of not buying lower—which you intend—but buying higher—the complete opposite of your plan.
Many times the price is never lower in the future than what it is currently. So buying high, could still mean buying lower than any price point you’re ever going to get going forward. Got it?
It doesn’t make sense to miss out on gains because you’re waiting for the perfect storm when the price of Bitcoin drops 50% in a day—that’s extremely unlikely and by no means guaranteed to happen.
With potentially revolutionary assets like this, my opinion is it’s better to get in the game as soon as possible, even if the price is at an all-time high and you feel like johnny-come-lately.
Think about this: The price of Bitcoin was once at an all-time high of $10, so if you never invested then because you were waiting until it went down to $8 then you cost yourself millions of dollars as one Bitcoin is trading for over $8,000 today.
I didn’t forget about the visual learners out there. Take a look at this price chart to look at every investor that got hammered assuming they waited for Bitcoin to go down when instead it shot up to the moon almost every month since 2013.
There are only a few months, from 2013 on, in that chart where you’d have been better off to not buy Bitcoin and instead buy it the next month. The super majority of months show that it’s crazy talk to wait to buy this hot cryptocurrency.
And this logic is exactly why it makes the most sense to invest with a strategy called dollar-cost averaging.
Use Dollar-Cost Averaging To Build Your Position
Dollar-cost averaging is an investment strategy that recommends you buy a fixed dollar amount of an asset at the same time every month.
For example, someone using dollar-cost averaging to invest in this coin would set aside $300 to purchase Bitcoin on the 15th of every month for (at least) 12 months—no matter the current cost of one Bitcoin.
By doing this, the individual purchases more Bitcoin (or shares) when the prices are low and fewer Bitcoin (or shares) when the price is high. But their dollar amount invested stays the same following this philosophy—and they’re guaranteed to own some of the asset instead of wait on the sidelines.
The difference is simply you’re just gradually investing over months and years instead of investing a huge sum of money one day. And based on the past, performance increases when you invest with dollar-cast averaging.
The reason this technique works well is it’s impossible to time the market.
No one knows when Bitcoin, Ethereum, or stock prices are going to go up or down at any given moment. There’s too many moving parts and random things that can affect the price to accurately predict price movements.
And dollar-cost averaging ensures you don’t buy high and takes your emotions out of investing since all you have to do is stick to a set plan. Even better, set up an automatic investment the day after you get your paycheck to relieve you of the manual labor.
This is a winning investing strategy you should absolutely adapt to maximize your profits.
While most people are either waiting too long to invest in these cryptocurrencies or buying them at their peaks, you’ll be using dollar cost-averaging to rake in more profits.
Keep at this and you’ll go from a percentage of a coin to owning a full coin, and then maybe owning 3, 5, or 10 coins plus over time.
If cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum are not your thing, I’d encourage you to execute on this dollar-cost averaging strategy to buy index funds in the stock market. The strategy works just as well here.
And it’s not only a smart strategy in this space, but when wanting to increase your position in any asset—painting, real estate, coin collections, car collections, etc.
Best of luck in your investments and journey to financial freedom!
The above references an opinion and is for information purposes only. It is not intended to be investment advice. Seek a duly licensed professional for investment advice.