Net Worth Comparison Tools: Stay Ahead of the Financial Curve

net worth toolBy Kelly Hodges     We all know that tracking net worth is critical to sound financial health. The computation and exercise are easy to do and the take-aways endless. It’s rewarding to follow the number over time and see it go up as a result of hard work. And it’s equally important to know when the number goes down, so adjustments and decisions can be made accordingly. But the best part of tracking your net worth is that it lends itself to personal comparison over time. For instance, how much was my net worth 10 years ago? How much is my net worth today? And, more important, how much will my net worth be 10 years from now?

While personal net worth comparison is worthwhile, sometimes we get an inkling to see how our net worth stacks up against others. Not surprising, there are multiple venues to conduct such a comparison online. At CNN Money, there is a calculator to compare your net worth to others based on age and income. Based on figures from Nielsen Claritas, this calculator gives an instant benchmark to see where your net worth measures up to others in your demographic. This calculator also allows users to peruse the general net worth statistics for the US. Eye opening observations can be made while browsing the data, including the fact that the average net worth for a 34 year old is a meager $8525.

Another option for comparing your net worth to the net worth of others is NetWorthIQ. Described as a “social personal finance manager,” you can create an anonymous account to track your net worth and compare it with the net worth of other users. Categories available to compare include age, income, occupation, education, and state of residence, which is a broader range than CNN Money offers.  The potential drawback of this site is that you are only being compared to other users on NetWorthIQ, so this may self-selects for people who have an interest in personal finance and not accurately reflect averages of population at large. Regardless, it’s an interesting experiment to see where you lie on the spectrum of site users, and for those particularly driven by competition it may provide additional incentive to “beat” other users in the quest for the highest net worth.

Using net worth comparison sites can be an eye opening experience for those who have not done it before. Whether you find yourself way ahead of the pack or lagging behind, remember that the most important comparison you can make is to yourself, and ensuring that the you of tomorrow is more financially sound than the you of today.

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Any opinions expressed herein are solely those of the author, and do not in any way represent the views or opinions of her employer or any other person or entity.