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For most of these kinds of items a company will book their value at whatever was paid for it. While items that depreciate like computers are usually de-valued over a period of time that piece of land will likely appreciate over time and the current value may not be reflected on the balance sheet. This can make the company more valuable than it appears (some value investors refer to these as "asset plays"). For financial companies a ton of assumptions are made on the balance sheet. The actual value of a loan is very difficult to calculate due to variable interest rates risk of default risk of early payment etc. Take that reality and multiply it by the millions of loans a large bank has outstanding and you begin to see why investing in banks is such a difficult and risky endeavor. However since the Magic Formula throws out financial stocks we won t discuss that in much detail here. One other thing to be generally aware of is that both assets and liabilities are categorized as either "current" or "long-term".
They open them up turn to page one and there is your company laid bare open to them. And they ask you questions; "why is this line a negative number how did you arrive at the valuation of that line what are the terms of this liability." Don t you want to be able to confidently look them in the eye and answer those questions? What Makes Up a Balance Sheet Hopefully you have been exposed to some basic accounting and understand the concepts that some numbers in accounting are recorded as debits and some numbers as credits. These numbers are often represented as positive and negative numbers and the balance sheet as its name suggests must balance i.e. the negative and the positive numbers must total zero.
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It is also important to know the value and structure of your assets and liabilities. Your net worth should be a positive number. The older you are the bigger the number should be. That is because you will need this net worth to finance your retirement when you can no longer work to provide income to your budget. The assets in your balance sheet fund your retirement in three ways. They keep costs down. The best example of this is home ownership. If you own your own home you will not have to pay a mortgage payment. That means you need 30% less to live on each month. The second way that assets fund your retirement is that you invest them in income producing assets such as Certificates of Deposit Bonds or dividend producing stocks.