Personal Balance Sheet
In order to make your statements comply with these rules and to give them an air of authority you will have to hire a Certified Public Accountant or C.P.A. and have them compile review or audit your financial statements. What this means is that the C.P.A. takes your statements and then makes some cosmetic changes in order to present them in the form proscribed by US Generally Accepted Accounting Principles or if appropriate one of a number of alternate forms and then issues an opinion on them. The opinion will vary depending upon the type of engagement you hired them to do. The standard opinion for a compilation is "we took this pile of crap and made it pretty but we re not saying that it makes any sense" while the standard opinion for an audit is "sure we took a look and everything seems OK but please don t sue us if we re wrong!" while a review falls between the two.
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.
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In addition the basic formula for accounting is Assets = Liabilities + Equity and any US balance sheet will be organized into exactly three sections with at least two subtotals for assets and for liabilities and equity. Using the basic algebra that we learned in Ms. Arithmatic s 6th grade class we can shrewdly deduce that the two subtotals must be exactly equal. So far no problem because if your balance sheet doesn t balance then you have much bigger problems then simply worrying about understanding your financial records. How Assets Are Valued Great! you re thinking let s start with the assets! Well I love an enthusiastic learner and so I will oblige. To put it very briefly assets are the total of everything your business has that has some sort of value to the business.
If you contributed something other than cash such as real estate machinery or your interest in another business then use the rules for the valuation of assets the lessor of cost or fair market value. Retained earnings is a whole different ball game. Remember what I said back in the beginning about the formula for the balance sheet? That Assets = Liabilites + Equity? Well if you ve filled everything else out you only have retained earnings left and using a little bit of algebra and adding some detail to the preceding formula retained earnings absolutely must equal Assets - Liabilities - Contributed Capital.