Balance Sheet Liabilities Balance Sheet Definition Examples Assets Liabilities Equity Balance Sheet Example From A Model
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If you want the exact answer to just about every accounting question then it is there for you for free but in techno-accountant babble at asc.fasb.org. However most of you don t want to do all that work you want a quick and easy rule of thumb that works 90% of the time without you having to leave this article and that is exactly what you will get. The key here is conservatism we are much more worried about overvaluing an asset then we are at undervaluing. Therefore the rule of thumb is that assets are valued at the lessor of cost (what you paid for it) or fair market value (what you could get if you sold it right now).
There may be an offsetting liability. For a house it would be the mortgage or any other debt secured against the home. For a car it would be a car loan. The difference between the value of the house or car and what is owed is the equity in that particular investment. This is like a net worth for that particular asset. There are appreciating assets and depreciating assets. A home is generally an appreciating asset over the long term. In recent times we have learned that in the short term a home can lose its value rather quickly. However most housing markets recover in the long term and a home should appreciate over time.
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A mortgage where you pay the principal down a little each month as the property is increasing in value is good debt. That is because you add to your net worth in two ways; first you pay off the debt and the second way is that the asset that secures the mortgage (your home) increases in value while you pay off the mortgage. Both deliver increased value to your net worth. Balance sheet goals There is only one goal that you need to focus on for your balance sheet. You need to own more than you owe. The normal pattern is that the older you get the larger your net worth becomes. There are two basic dynamics that contribute to this trend. One is the miracle of compound interest. The longer that assets are allowed to compound in savings and investment products the larger the annual contribution is to your personal net worth.