Classified Balance Sheet
It just makes sense that it would be zero. You may have student loans but that is offset by some form of education that will allow you to make more money in the course of your lifetime. The key is that this is the best time to start building your net worth. It allows the principal of compounding value to work its magic on your assets for decades. That saves you a lot of work later in life. However most of us are not that wise and we find ourselves in our 30s and 40s with little or no Net Worth. This means you have less time for compounding to work. So you have to work harder and especially manage your money smarter to prepare for the financial challenges you face going forward. The nice thing is that you have probably made some mistakes that have made you much wiser.
There are 3 tools that folks can use to manage their personal finances. They are a personal life plan a personal budget and a personal balance sheet. When these tools are identified to folks most acknowledge a life plan but do not really have one. Most know and try to have a budget...sort of. However an amazing number of people have no idea what a balance sheet is. So here are the basic things you should know about a balance sheet. Why should I have a balance sheet? A balance sheet is where you keep track of how much you own and how much you owe and the difference between the two. You take the value of your assets (what you own) and subtract the value of your debts (what you owe) to get your net worth. You should know what your net worth is at any given time.
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You should be able to recover much faster than you would have in your undisciplined youth. • If you have a positive net worth that means that you are building assets. Just as important is that you are controlling your debt. This is the key that has probably gotten you to this situation. The key to a positive Balance Sheet is that debt offsets the value of your assets when you look at your personal finances as a complete picture so your debt/equity ratio should be less than one and get smaller and smaller. Debt servicing saps cash flow on your budget that could be used to build assets that can be used to produce income in your retirement years.
To many non-financial people the balance sheet does not make sense in any case so they gravitate to the only report that is an easy read namely the income statement. Assets and liabilities are just too complex to grasp. In the last ten years or so this has changed so much so that readers and users are advised to lend substantially more credence to the balance sheet than the income statement. This "discrimination" exacted on the income statement is so severe that some investors are encouraged to even ignore the income statement as a whole. Why is this so? It could be the fiddling with revenue figures by many now defunct corrupt corporations which reported highly profitable figures whilst these businesses were heavily indebted (liabilities) or technically insolvent. Moreover high revenues are no guarantee against bankruptcy. Historically an income statement was drawn up first and the balance sheet second. The balance sheet became the "rubbish bin" for all items that could not balance the books.