Many people are tracking their net worth monthly to see how they are doing. Are they up or down? How did their investments do? When will they hit the millionaire mark? In my perspective, we can be overly concerned with our net worth statement while losing sight of our real value (our self-worth and even our future earnings). If we pay too much attention to the dollar and cents, we forget to make the right decisions and investments to secure our future.
I suggest people calculate their net worth statement to see how they feel about what they see. For many who are in debt, it is a starting point to creating a plan for getting out of debt. For others, knowing what our net worth is serves as the starting point in creating a financial plan for the future (especially for retirement).
However, a net worth statement does not tell the whole story. If we look at the stock market, stocks can have an intrinsic value (market value) considerably more than their net worth (assets less liabilities). The difference is their potential value based on how their past investments will pay off in the future via name recognition or new technologies/products.
A company looks at their net worth as a status of where they are at a certain point of time. However, they look more towards their future. Have they made the right investments that will pay off? Are their product offerings in line with what the market is demanding? What are their potential future earnings? Are they improving how others view them?
A person’s net worth does not tell us if they have properly invested in themselves (e.g. education) or if the debts are good or bad. The question is what are we doing now that can not be measured on a net worth statement?
• Are we investing in continual education to improve our financial future?
• Are we protecting our name for the future by offering a quality product/service instead of compromising quality now just to make a buck?
• Are we working a job that we love to protect our future income stream?
• Are we being innovative where we are bringing ideas to our employer to increase future employment opportunities?
Keeping an eye on our net worth is important because it can signal problems if we have too much debt or have fallen behind with saving for retirement. However, sometimes an eye on our intrinsic value is more important than the numbers and cents of our net worth.
We forget that we are more valuable than just what is behind our net worth. If we get caught in trying to maximize our net worth, we can put our intrinsic value in jeopardy by selling our soul to make a buck. We have seen many companies come and go because they lost their honor with the public (e.g. Enron). It is important to be socially responsible because that is what people remember and what is rewarded long-term. Life isn’t about our net worth rather about who we are (self-worth). If we lose our self-worth, our net-worth doesn’t really matter because our soul is already sold to the devil.
And in the end, no one will remember us for our net worth rather by the impact that we had on others. Our tombstone will not say that our net worth was $xxx,xxx, rather it will say something of the type of person will be remembered for.
So remember our value is more than a number on a piece of paper. Look at how you can increase your value more than what is at your net worth:
• What do you want to offer people?
• What skills do you possess (or want to get) to help others?
• How are you of value to others?
• How do you want to be remembered after your time here is done?