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Most of us are fully aware that our net worth doesn’t remotely come close to that of celebrity billionaires like Oprah Winfrey or Jay-Z.
But have you ever wondered how yours compares to your peers’? We dug up the average net worth numbers from the Federal Reserve Board’s Survey of Consumer Finances report to help you find out.
How is net worth calculated?
Net worth is what you own minus what you owe. You can calculate yours by deducting the value of all your liabilities (such as credit card debt and student loans) from the value of all your assets (including your home and the money in your retirement accounts).
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What is the average net worth?
So how is wealth shaping up across the country? The Federal Reserve Board issues the Survey of Consumer Finances every three years to share information about family incomes, net worth and more. According to the most recent report — released in September 2017 with data collected in 2016 — the overall mean or average net worth of U.S. households is $692,100. Seems high, right? That’s because affluent households drive the average up.
Looking at the median, or the midpoint value, is a more accurate representation of the everyday person. The overall median net worth of U.S. households is $97,300. That might help you breathe a little easier.
Average net worth by age
Net worth totals vary by education, age, income and other factors. We’ll focus on the median and average net worth figures for different age groups:
What is your net worth?
Not sure what your number is? Use our net worth calculator to find it.
Is net worth important?
Net worth is one way to check your financial pulse and spot strengths and weaknesses. However, it isn’t a perfect picture. Just because someone has a high net worth doesn’t mean they have a high standard of living. For example, a person’s home may pad their net worth figure, but they can still be cash poor if they don’t plan to sell it and have no savings.
Just because someone has a high net worth doesn’t mean they have a high standard of living.
Curiosity about others’ net worth can motivate us to set and pursue financial goals. It can also make us feel unnecessarily inferior. It’s important to remember that net worth isn’t a fixed number. It can change — positively or negatively — with time.
How to increase your net worth
Still, wanting to boost your number isn’t a bad thing. There are many tactics you can use to build net worth. Start with a few basic steps:
Choose a debt payoff strategy. Create a plan for shedding burdensome liabilities. We recommend paying down debts with the highest interest rates first, an approach known as the debt avalanche. Another option you may consider is debt consolidation: rolling multiple debts into one payment.
Grow your money. Set up automatic savings, take advantage of competitive account interest rates and explore other ways to build wealth.
Be patient. The trend for most people is that net worth increases as they get older. Do your best to get on the right track and allow time for your efforts to pay off.