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Succes Online Financial Education Newsletter

 

Money Management International Improving Lives Through Financial Education
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How to calculate your net worth

MMI Copywriter

By Kim McGrigg, MMI Community Manager

As you work toward achieving your financial goals, it is a good idea to measure your progress. Calculating your net worth is as simple as comparing what you owe (called liabilities) and what you own (called assets).  

Liabilities are the debts that you owe to someone else such as a mortgage, an auto loan, credit card debt, student loan, or other types of loans. The sum of all of the money you owe equals your total liabilities.

Assets are defined as physical property, such as a home or a car; monetary property, such as mutual funds or certificates of deposit; or intangible rights, such as money owed to you by someone else. The sum of all of the money you own equals your total assets.

The difference between your assets and your liabilities is your net worth.

Don't be discouraged if your net worth is negative – keep in mind that this should be an accurate depiction of your financial situation.  You can start to increase your net worth by decreasing your liabilities, increasing your assets, or by doing both!

If this is the first time you have calculated your net worth, consider it as a benchmark that can be compared to your net worth next year and in future years. Annual net worth statements allow you to track your financial progress and help you to determine if the financial decisions you made throughout the year had a positive or negative effect on your net worth.

For help with calculating your net worth, use the simple Net Worth Worksheet found under Tools for Success on the website FinancialLiteracyMonth.com.

You might also enjoy:

How to rent when you have bad credit
How to determine how much you can afford to spend on a home
How to manage money when you are self-employed
How to stop debt collection calls 

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Budgeting advice for college-bound students and parents

 

With the cost of college tuition skyrocketing and the average college graduate’s student loan debt tipping the scales at more than $20,000, there are some crucial financial lessons students should learn before they set foot on campus.

As an increasing number of college-bound students are expected to foot the bill for the cost of obtaining a higher education, it is more important than ever for students to learn proper money management skills in order to build a solid financial future.

Lesson No. 1: Keep lines of communication open. Will you be expected to get a job while you are in school? Will mom and dad be pitching in to cover the cost of your books? What about those football season tickets? These are all questions that need to be addressed. The financial expectations of both the student and the parents need to align in order to develop a solid plan.

Lesson No. 2: Be realistic. The best way to prepare your finances for higher education is to first school yourself on the basics of budgeting. Simple expenses such as doing laundry and going out to eat can add up quickly, so don’t forget to factor those into your budget. Your budget should also contain some personal savings amounts for emergencies, unplanned expenses, and any other savings goals you may have.

Lesson No. 3: Track your spending for the first semester. You may be surprised how quickly small expenses can add up. For example, grabbing a cup of coffee and bagel each morning before class can end up setting you back more than $100 a month. Tracking your spending will help you refine your budget so you can see where your money is actually going. Then, take the time to focus on your “problem areas” and think of some alternative solutions that will help you cut costs.

Lesson No. 4: Set goals. Whether you’re saving for a Spring Break trip or a new pair of jeans, setting goals will help keep you motivated. Make a list of short-term, mid-term and long-term personal financial goals, and then prioritize your list based on importance. As you progress, if you find that you aren’t meeting your goals, you can always revisit your budget to see if there are any areas where you can cut expenses.

Lesson No. 5: Consider consequences. Although this applies to all aspects of student life, it’s especially important when you’re making big financial decisions. Opening up a credit card when you’re young may seem harmless, but if you’re irresponsible with your spending, you could end up with a low credit score and high debt, which could affect your ability to rent an apartment, buy a car, or even get a job.

If you need help creating a budget, the counselors at Money Management International (MMI) can help. MMI offers free budget and debt counseling to those who need help with budgeting, money management skills, and credit issues. Visit MoneyManagement.org for more information.


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Update your account balances online. When you receive your monthly statement from your creditors, login to your MMI account and update your balances. It is important that we have the most accurate balance information possible on file. 

If you would like more information about signing up for a Debt Management Plan through Money Management International, visit MoneyManagement.org.


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About Money Management International

Money Management International (MMI) is a nonprofit, full-service credit counseling agency, providing confidential financial guidance, financial education, counseling, and debt management assistance to consumers since 1958. MMI helps consumers trim their expenses, develop a spending plan, and repay debts. Counseling is available by appointment in branch offices and 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by telephone and Internet. Services are available in English or Spanish. To learn more, call
866.530.9869 or visit MoneyManagement.org.

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