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As you assess your short- and long-term financial goals, it may be helpful to compare the value of your assets to that of your liabilities. That’s where net worth comes in; this value can ultimately help you determine whether you should reduce monthly spending, set up a retirement savings account or adjust your tax withholdings. The two primary types of net worth are total net worth and liquid net worth. In this guide, we define liquid net worth and show you how to calculate it.

A financial professional can offer advice on investing, retirement planning, financial planning and various other areas of finance. Find a financial advisor today. 

What Is Liquid Net Worth?

Liquid net worth is the amount of money you’ve got in cash or cash equivalents after you deducted your liabilities from your liquid assets. It’s quite similar to net worth, but the only difference is that it doesn’t account for non-liquid assets such as real estate or retirement accounts.

Your total net worth, however, is affected by both liquid and non-liquid assets. This means you’ll have to add up the value of all your assets, including vehicles, property, retirement accounts, securities, cash and anything else of monetary value. You’ll then subtract the value of your liabilities from this sum. If your liabilities exceed your assets, you’ll have negative net worth. You’ll have positive net worth if your assets have more monetary value than your liabilities.

Liabilities are financial debts one must pay. These might include student loans, car loans, credit card balances, taxes or mortgages.

What Are Liquid Assets?

Liquid assets represent any cash or assets that can be readily converted to cash. Examples of liquid assets include cash, money market accounts, checking accounts, savings accounts, amounts receivable, stocks, mutual funds, bonds and any other securities that can be quickly turned into cash.

How to Calculate Liquid Net Worth

You can determine your liquid net worth by taking the total sum of your liabilities and subtracting that from the total sum of your liquid assets. However, some liquid assets may come with a liquidity discount, so you’ll want to factor this into equation when calculating your final liquid net worth.

For instance, let’s say you’ve got $20,000 in cash, $150,000 in brokerage accounts and $101,000 in a 401(k) account. If these are your only liquid assets, the total sum of your liquid assets is $271,000. If you only owe $5,000 in credit card debt and $42,000 in student loans, the total sum of  your liabilities is $47,000. Subtract that from $271,000, and your liquid net worth is $224,000.

Bottom Line

Liquid assets are basically cash or cash equivalents that can be easily and efficiently converted into money. You’ll subtract your liabilities from these assets when calculating your liquid net worth. For comparison and budgeting purposes, though, it may also be effective to calculate your net worth. That way, you’ll be able to look at your financial situation from a holistic perspective.

Tips for Growing Your Net Worth

  • If you’ve got negative net worth, or if you’re simply looking to build your total assets, you can take several steps to secure more money. Budgeting is one of those. Consider our review on the top seven ways to boost your net worth.
  • Finding a financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free financial advisor matching tool connects you with up to three local advisors. If you’re ready, get started today.

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/efetova

Rickie Houston CEPF® Rickie Houston writes on a variety of personal finance topics for SmartAsset. His expertise includes retirement and banking. Rickie is a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF®). He graduated from Boston University where he received a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He’s contributed to work published in the Boston Globe and has worked alongside award-winning faculty for the New England Center of Investigative Reporting at Boston University. Rickie also enjoys playing the guitar, traveling abroad and discovering new music. He is originally from Wilmington, North Carolina.
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