A lot of people measure their success by their financial goals. For some people, these goals might be buying a first car or a first house. Others may think in terms of how much money their business is making. Another good way to determine how well you are doing financially is to figure out your net worth.
Net worth is the value of all the financial and non-financial assets owned by an individual minus the value of all of that person’s outstanding liabilities.
It’s a very accurate way to determine how much you’re worth. However, when considering net worth, it’s also important to consider age and location. This will affect how far the money you have will take you.
This article will take a look at net worth so you can figure out what it means in your personal situation.
How Do You Determine Net Worth?
To start, let’s look at what you need to do to determine your net worth.
Basically, you take all your assets and add them together. Assets include any real estate you own, any cars you own and all the money in your bank accounts (including checking, savings, retirement and others).
Then add your liabilities. Liabilities include all debts owed on mortgages, credit cards and loans like auto loans and student loans.
Now subtract the total amount of your liabilities from the total number of assets. (Hopefully this won’t result in a negative number!) Now you can find your net worth.
To make it easy, there is a net worth calculator available online.
Factors that Affect Net Worth
It is important to keep in mind that your net worth may be more or less impressive depending on your age and where you live. For instance, if you make your first million at the age of 35, that’s very unusual.
If you make your first million at the age of 65, that’s also quite an accomplishment, but it won’t be as impressive because it took you more time to reach your goal.
The place you live will also factor in. For instance, if you live in an expensive city, like say, Beverly Hills, a million dollars won’t take you very far.
If you live in a smaller town, like say, Greenville, South Carolina, you can live on that money for years.
Suggested Net Worth by Age
Let’s start by looking at suggested net worth by age. Here are some figures for head of household based on median and average statistics.
- Less than 35: Median $11,100, Average: $76,200
- 35-44: Median: $59,800 Average: $288,700
- 45-54: Median: $124,200 Average: 727,500
- 55-64: Median: $187,300 Average: $1,167,400
- 65-74: Median: $224,100 Average: $1,066,000
- 75+: Median: $264,800 Average: $1,067,000
Net Worth by Zip Code
Now let’s look at how that measures up by zip code. We’ll start by looking at some of the more expensive cities.
New York’s real estate has been booming in the last few years. While what you can expect to pay varies depending on where in the city you live and the type of unit you live in, statistics say you can expect to pay close to $2499 for a two bedroom apartment. In 2018, houses were averaging $403,900. But this isn’t the only expense you’ll be dealing with.
Utilities can cost $150 a month. A monthly transit pass is $127 but if you choose to own a car, it will cost you about $606 to park never mind what you’re paying for gas and insurance. Food costs over $400 per person a month and if you can still afford to go out, entertainment can cost anywhere from $15 to $200 a night.
So how much is the net worth in New York City? For downtown areas of Manhattan, in 2017 it ranked around $489,669.
San Francisco is another city known for being very expensive. Renting a one bedroom can cost you $3500 while median monthly payments across all homes comes in at $4300.
Like New York, SF utilities can also cost around $150 a month. Groceries are around $430 a month. If you use public transportation, travel can cost $160 a month. Car insurance rates range at around $2257 a year and let’s not even think about gas and maintenance.
San Francisco average net worth in 2017 was $662,474.
The laid-back spirit of Hawaii may come through in a lot of ways, but not so much when it comes to living expenses. The amount you shell out every month can be stressful enough to make up for those serene beaches and ocean breezes.
The amount you pay to live in Hawaii will vary depending on where on the island you live but Honolulu is centrally located, and expenses can be pretty outrageous.
Apartments generally range from $800 to $2000 although a really nice apartment can cost you as much as $3000. The median price of a single-family home was $835,000 in 2019 and a condo could cost as much as $461,500.
Utilities cost close to $170. A car is the main source of transportation on the island and gas, insurance and maintenance are not cheap. If you want to deal with the bus, it costs $2.50 a ticket. And if you don’t have parking, that can easily cost you $100 to $200 a month. Food is also quite expensive.
The average net worth for Honolulu in 2017 was $27,905.
Now let’s take a look at how much it costs to live in some more affordable cities.
Wichita Falls, TX
Wichita Falls is named as being among the most affordable cities to live in in the United States. Renting an apartment could be as little as $500 a month while median house prices range under $100,000.
Groceries are exceptionally inexpensive, utilities are $150 a month and you can expect to pay around $45 for transportation.
The average net worth in Wichita Falls was $132,652 in 2017.
Huntsville has appeared at the top of a few listings as one of the cheapest cities in the United States. Rents start at under $600 and median home values are $153,200. Utilities are around $120 a month, a monthly transportation pass is just $20. The cost of food is also relatively inexpensive.
The average net worth in Huntsville in 2017 was $1,085,015.
Fort Wayne, IN
Fort Wayne is a great city for Midwest living. Apartment rents start close to $800 if you’re centrally located and $600 if you live on the outskirts. The median home price is $153,437. Utilities cost around $175 a month and a monthly transportation pass is $45. Food prices are around average.
The average net worth in Fort Wayne was $72,727 in 2017.
The Bottom Line On Net Worth, Age, and Location
For the most part, net worth will be lower in less expensive cities, with Huntsville being an unusual exception. However, not only will your net worth take you farther in an inexpensive city, it will also be more difficult to increase net worth in expensive cities due to all the debts you’re likely to incur. Of course, salaries are also higher in more expensive cities, but the general consensus is that your money will go farther in a city with lower living rates.
Now that you know average net worth based on age and location, how do you stack up?
Some additional sources where I gathered some research from:
- WikiPedia: Net Worth
- Nerd Wallet: Find Your Net Worth
- Nerd Wallet: Average Net Worth by Age: How Does Yours Compare?
- Smart Asset: What Is the True Cost of Living in New York City?
- Investopedia: How Much Money Do You Need to Live in San Francisco?
- Real Hawaii: The Cost of Living in Hawaii in 2020
- Numbeo: Cost of Living in Wichita Falls
- Numbeo: Cost of Living in Huntsville
- Numbeo: Cost of Living in Fort Wayne