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When working to improve your finances, there is something to be said for keeping track of the big picture. Keeping track of your long-term progress is one of the best ways to stay motivated. When it comes to tracking long-term financial progress, one indicator of your progress is net worth. Today, I’ll tell you about the five best net worth trackers and how using a net worth calculator can help you build wealth.
What is Net Worth?
Before diving into some of the best net worth tracking apps, let’s cover the definition of net worth. Net worth is a measure of assets minus liabilities. What are assets and liabilities?
Assets are things you own, while liabilities are things you owe.
Your house, stocks, bonds, and cash are all assets. Mortgages, student loans, and credit card debt are all liabilities.
When you add up all of your assets and subtract all of your liabilities, you’ll get your net worth.
Over time, your goal is to increase assets and decrease liabilities, making your net worth, the difference between the assets and liabilities, grow.
How to Calculate Net Worth
Now that you know what net worth is on a conceptual level, let’s talk real world.
First, what should you include in a net worth calculation? While some may disagree with me, I believe you should include everything. Assets like your car, even though they depreciate, should be included in your net worth.
Here’s a list of typical assets and liabilities to include in your net worth calculation.
- Cash Accounts (Checking + Savings Accounts)
- Liquid Assets (Certificates of Deposit, Savings Bonds, etc.)
- Stocks & Bonds (including those in your IRA, 401(k), or taxable brokerage accounts)
- Real Estate (property you own, REITs, etc.)
- Student Loans
- Credit Card Debt
Add up all your assets, then subtract all your liabilities to calculate your net worth.
While the above is the definition of total net worth, you may also hear the term liquid net worth. Liquid net worth is quite similar, except it excludes non-liquid assets like real estate from the calculation.
Why Track Net Worth
While calculating net worth is pretty easy, you may be wondering, should I track my net worth? The answer is a resounding yes.
Here’s why. Net worth is a measure of financial progress, and it can help you stay motivated, particularly as you think about the long-term.
I am going to compare budgeting and tracking net worth to losing weight.
If you want to lose weight, you know you should eat well and exercise. Eating well and exercising is like budgeting because these daily decisions lead to longer-term results. If you want to save more and spend less, you must make choices about spending in real-time using a budget.
While budgeting is a real-time tool, it doesn’t tracker long-term progress. When you want to lose weight, how do you track your progress? A scale. What’s the equivalent tool in personal finance? Net worth tracking. Net worth tracking is how you measure long-term progress.
Healthy eating/exercising is to budgeting as stepping on the scale is to tracking net worth.
While some will argue that net worth doesn’t matter, I have to disagree. Sure, the absolute number may not be tangible, but it is quite useful in helping you see if you’re moving towards your financial goals.
Use budgeting to make decisions in real-time and net worth tracking as a measure of progress. It will help you stay on track.
How to Track Net Worth
You now know what net worth is and why it’s so important. So, let’s talk about tracking it.
If you’re wondering how to track net worth, there are many different ways to go about it. While you could do it manually, there are many net worth tracking apps to make the process easier.
Before I jump into the best net worth trackers, I want to answer one more question.
How often should you track net worth? While you can track net worth as often as you’d like, I suggest doing so once a month.
When you look at your net worth each month, you’ll be able to see whether it increased or decreased from the previous month. If it dropped from the previous month, you now have a clue that perhaps you should adjust your budget for the upcoming month.
So, without further ado, let’s dive into the best net worth trackers.
1. Best for Free, Automated Net Worth Tracking: Personal Capital
This first tracker is what I consider to be the best app to track net worth: Personal Capital. Personal Capital is the solution that I use to track my net worth. Here’s why.
Personal Capital is highly automated. You can sync your asset and liability accounts (bank accounts, brokerage accounts, mortgages, etc.) to see your net worth in near real-time.
This automation makes Personal Capital the easiest solution on the list because it requires no effort from you once you link your bank accounts.
In addition to automatically syncing your accounts, Personal Capital has some other cool features to make net worth tracking easier. For example, Personal Capital integrates with Zillow so you can automatically update the value of your house for purposes of net worth tracking.
And the best part of all? Personal Capital is free! This makes it my choice for the best free net worth app.
Sign up for Personal Capital or check out our review if you want to learn more.
Personal Capital is a comprehensive suite of financial tools that helps you track your net worth, make sure you stay on track for retirement, and much more! The best part about Personal Capital is it offers a FREE way to track your investment and cash accounts and plan your financial future! Check out this review to learn more!
2. Best for Budget Integration: YNAB (You Need A Budget)
While Personal Capital is the easiest (and perhaps best) net worth tracker, maybe you want to integrate your net worth tracking with your budget.
In this case, my favorite budget – net worth tracking integration is YNAB (You Need A Budget).
YNAB is my favorite budgeting app (and the one I use). Its zero-based budgeting principles make it easy to track your spending and stay on track. Within YNAB, there is an integrated net worth tracking solution. Here’s how it works.
Link all of your accounts, assets, and liabilities. Then, YNAB generates reports showing your net worth. The biggest downside to YNAB’s net worth tracking is that you must manually update your investment accounts’ balances.
However, if you’re a regular user of YNAB, this doesn’t take more than a few minutes a month, and it can help keep you engaged with your budget.
YNAB net worth tracking doesn’t offer the robust reports of Personal Capital, but if you’re looking for something simplistic, it does the trick.
I use both YNAB and Personal Capital. YNAB is my go-to choice for budgeting. While I also track my net worth in YNAB, I prefer to use Personal Capital for net worth tracking because it offers more detailed reporting.
You can learn more about how YNAB stacks up to its peers in this article about YNAB alternatives.
3. Best for Spreadsheet Net Worth Tracking: Tiller Money
Personal Capital and YNAB are some of the best net worth trackers, but if you’re a spreadsheet person, they’re probably not the solution for you.
If you want to track your net worth using Google Sheets or Excel rather than an app, Tiller Money is the way to go.
Tiller is a solution that helps you automate the download of financial data into your favorite spreadsheet software. It takes the most painful part of using spreadsheets for personal finances, manually adding transactions, and automates it.
When you set up Tiller, you’ll download a template spreadsheet that includes net worth tracking.
If you want to use a spreadsheet net worth tracker, give Tiller a try! Or, check out this Tiller Money Review to learn more.
Tiller is the most popular spreadsheet budgeting solution! You can automatically download financial data to your favorite spreadsheet and then use Tiller’s templates to make tracking your financial life easy! Check out this review to learn more!
4. Best for Total Customizability: PocketSmith
An increasingly popular personal finance solution is PocketSmith. PocketSmith stands out because it allows you to customize your financial tracking based on your unique situation. In particular, it has a robust set of tools to view historical, present, and forecast financial data.
One area where PocketSmith excels is net worth tracking. You can set up reports of what you own vs. what you owe, allowing you to track financial performance across accounts.
Check out this PocketSmith review to learn more.
5. Best for Simplicity: Mint
While I think the options highlighted above are the best net worth trackers, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Mint. So many people use Mint already that using it for net worth tracking is simple.
With Mint’s Trends tool, you can view net worth over time. If you’re already using Mint, this is an easy way to add free net worth tracking to your workflow. However, if you’re not already a Mint user, I think there are better alternatives.
How Does Your Net Worth Stack Up?
Now that you know about some of the best net worth trackers, you may be asking yourself, what is a good net worth by age?
Well, the answer to this question is complicated and depends on your goals. However, I want to give you a couple of data points to help you understand if you’re on track.
First, the Federal Reserve Board’s Survey of Consumer Finances tracks the net worth of Americans.
Below is a summary of the median net worth by age to give you a measuring stick.
|Age Category||Median Net Worth|
|Less than 35||$13,900|
|35 – 44||$91,300|
|45 – 54||$168,600|
|55 – 64||$212,500|
|65 – 74||$266,400|
|75 or more||$254,800|
However, you’re not the average American. You’re a financial blog reader! So, perhaps you’re ahead of the curve.
I think there is a better way to define net worth goals by age.
Below are some common targets of how much you should have saved at every age. For this purpose, I suggest you only include investments such as retirement accounts, brokerage accounts, etc. The reason is that some assets, like equity in your home, aren’t as useful for retirement goals, and the below guidelines were developed primarily based on retirement goals.
- By the time you hit age 30, aim to have saved ½ your salary
- Before age 40, aim to have saved 2x your salary
- Once you hit age 50, you’ll want to have at least 4x your salary socked away
- And finally, by age 60, aim for 6x your salary
Apps to Grow Your Net Worth
Since you now know the best net worth trackers and have perhaps set some long-term financial goals, I want to share a few apps that can help you grow your net worth.
Acorns is a spare change investment app. While you won’t save tons using it, it is one of the easiest ways to save more without conscious effort.
Stash is another popular micro-investing app that can help you grow your wealth. Where it stands out, however, is that it is more flexible, allowing you to choose the investments that best fit your needs. Again, it’s an easy way to get started investing more.
You can learn how Acorns and Stash stack up in this comparison.
3. M1 Finance
Finally, M1 Finance offers my favorite full-featured brokerage account. With it, you can invest in countless different assets, all with no trade commissions. Plus, M1 provides a robo-advisory-like service that can help you build a custom portfolio based on your investment goals and risk tolerance.
Read my review of M1 Finance to see if it can help you start growing your net worth.
Best Net Worth Trackers: Summary
While there are many net worth calculators, such as those available online, the best net worth calculator is the one you’ll use.
To find the best net worth tracker for your purposes, think about how you track your finances today. To recap, here are my picks for the best net worth trackers. Find the solution that is the best fit based on how you manage your finances.
- Best for Free, Automated Net Worth Tracking: Personal Capital
- Best for Budget Integration: YNAB (You Need A Budget)
- Best for Spreadsheet Net Worth Tracking: Tiller Money
- Best for Total Customizability: PocketSmith
- Best for Simplicity: Mint
Remember, tracking your net worth is all about visualizing your financial progress and using it as a motivator to stay on track. So, check out one of these net worth trackers today to start growing your net worth!