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If you’ve been following this blog for some time, you’ve noticed that I have done monthly net worth reviews.

It’s one of the most popular series on this site and I understand why. It’s kind of fun to see how others are progressing with their finances. 

We’re big believers on having monthly money dates and going over your net worth as a couple. 

Today I wanted to share some reason why we do this and along with a couple of reasons why we don’t stress over it obsessively.

Why We Do Net Worth Reviews

The purpose of the net worth reviews is to give us a regular check-in to look at our accounts, see what’s changed, and analyze what went well and what we need to work on.

As a married couple with two kids, we usually have a lot going on and it can be easy to let some things slide (even important things like finances). 

Having it on the schedule has made things much less stressful and we’re more productive. 

  • Net worth reviews give us an opportunity to talk. We have spoken about money before doing these net worth reviews, but having these reviews on a monthly basis has become a part of our schedule.
  • Comparing our budget to actual spending is valuable. These reviews allow us to see if what we planned is reasonable, need to tweak, or if we completely missed the mark.
  • We get to see our progress (or lack of) on our financial goals for the year. It’s  handy tool for checking up on our annual and long term goals.

While we no longer share our monthly numbers on the site, we still track them.

If you’re looking for an easy way to keep on top of your accounts, here are three options we love:

  • Personal Capital: Fantastic tool if you have plenty of accounts, including investments, between the two fo you. 
  • Tiller: Great app for couples who want to have a completely customized budget.
  • Mint: One of the first apps we used for our finances. It was a cinch to get all of our accounts imported.

We’re big believers of going with what works for you and your goals, so try them out and see which one clicks best. 

Why Net Worth Reviews Aren’t Everything

That said, I’ve seen people go the opposite route and obsess over the numbers.

While we’ve been disappointed and thrilled by certain months, we also realize that net worth reviews aren’t end all when it comes to financial reviews.

Here are a few reasons why:

They don’t tell the whole picture. 

Net worth reviews are a great tool at getting a snapshot of your finances. However, they are only a snapshot.

There’s always more behind the numbers you need to consider.

Someone can have some pretty good numbers, but their jobs are not steady (perhaps layoffs are looming).

A family may spend $350/month on groceries, but they may either be getting $500 worth of food (by preparing their own and finding deals) or they’re getting $200 worth of food (by paying more to eat out).

If you look at our past reviews, our net worth has dropped and risen through out a year (due to the home’s new appraisal), but our day to day finances themselves had’t changed.

As many of us have seen with investments, stocks can be volatile in the short run, but over time it grows.

So while we still do net worth reviews, we’re really focused on the long term trend rather than the month to month numbers themselves.

Thoughts on Net Worth

I’d like to hear from you. What about your family? Do you occasionally review your net worth?

How do you calculate it? Do you find knowing your net worth important or not?

This post was originally published May 2012. It has been updated December 2018. 

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my full disclosure for more info.

About Elle Martinez

Elle Martinez helps families at Couple Money achieve financial freedom by sharing tips for reducing debt, increase income, and building net worth. Learn how to live on one income and have fun with the second..

13 comments add your comment

  1. I agree that it’s important to know. We track ours every month. It lets me see where we are in terms of meeting our goals (which we set annually) and get an idea of where we stand.

  2. i think it’s a very important number to know – not the end all be all, but knowing what direction you’re going is key. Like beagles, mine is monthly and used for annual goals.

  3. I love to watch the net worth increase, but we only review it about once every six months to a year. Our focus is on budgeting to pay off long-term debts quicker. While we can see a change month by month, it’s a little disheartening to see the numbers change relatively little on a monthly basis as compared to changing a lot every six months to a year.

  4. I consistently watch my net worth, but I do it through aggregator sites online like mint and personal capital. Especially with personal capital, they will tell me how much money has come in and how much money has left in the last 30 days, which I think is a nice feature.

  5. It is very important to review your net worth. It gets you focused on building it. “Whatever you focus on grows”.

  6. I’m all over it when it comes to tracking our net worth! I have spreadsheets tracking our investment accounts (RRSPs, TFSAs and non-registered investments), which I update bi-weekly. I also have a true “Net Worth” spreadsheet which included all investments and bank balances, in addition to our assets (2 homes and one SUV) minus the mortgages. I update our net worth spreadsheet every 4-6 months.

  7. Debt reduction services are all about helping you to settle debts for less than what you owe. Hi Elle,
    However, you can reduce the overall payable amount by choosing a debt consolidation program. This can be done by negotiating with creditors for lower interest rates on your bills. When your rates are lowered, you pay much less in interest and hence your outstanding debt balance is reduced.

  8. Whatever your situation – whether your net worth is high, low, or even negative – remember that this is a starting point. You’re at the beginning of a new stage in your financial journey, and from here on, everything is looking up.

  9. I look at our net worth at least weekly, but it’s been about 3 years since I’ve discussed it with my wife. She’s not a numbers person, and isn’t really interested. On the one hand, I wish she were involved, but then on the other I feel that when we have discussed it, she has come away feeling that because we have a nice next-egg we don’t have to budget or plan. It’s complicated – easier to avoid the whole topic.

  10. I have to admit I look at it every day. Because we already are financially independent and no longer have 9 to 5 jobs, I don’t even flinch now when I open the Personal Capital app and it says we are down six figures in the last 90 days! Well maybe I flinch a little. That’s just what the market does and we never sell anything, we just keep buying more.

    I have 19 investment accounts linked to PC so it is a big time saver. If there is large scale fraud it would show up there first so it is also a security app. I only started watching my net worth when I began to consider retiring early. I honestly had no idea how much money we had until then. It is a real peace of mind thing once you leave the workforce to see, usually, that even without an income your net worth continues to grow.

    • Great point Steveark – those market fluctuations aren’t for the faint of heart.

      I think as you become more familiar with historical returns, you become more comfortable with looking at the long term instead of focusing in on the short-term noise.