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Real fortune

Real fortune
Real fortune
Dr. Wayne Willis

How much are you worth? Not to the one who loves you most, or one who might say you are worth everything or a million dollars or that your worth is incalculable, but your financial worth. Your financial worth can be calculated, almost to the dollar.

Just list your assets and subtract from them your debts. Your assets are everything you own (checking and savings accounts, stocks, bonds, house, car, furniture). Your liabilities are what you owe (credit card balances, house mortgages, car and student loans). This is how to determine your net financial worth.

Once you have that number, how do you stack up against the other eight billion people on the planet?

According to the Credit Suisse Research Institute in Switzerland, most recently making these calculations three years ago, if your net worth is $100,000, you are in the top 9.5% (round up to 10%) of all human beings. If your net worth is $1 million, you are in the top 0.8% (round up to 1%). A net worth of $10,000 puts you in the top 36.1% of earthlings. If you have $4,210 to your name, you are richer than half the world’s people.

So what? What if you suddenly became keenly aware that you are far better off than most people?

I had two knee-jerk reactions to those statistics. First, “Boy, were we ever lucky.” When my wife and I married in 1969, each of us made $6,000 a year and thought we were rich, living well and saving about half of what we made. Neither of us ever has had any ambition to be rich.

Two, rich isn’t “all that.” As Forrest Gump’s philosopher-mother taught him, “There’s only so much fortune a man really needs, and the rest is just for showing off.”