Breaking Down That Ugly Topic of “Net Worth”

net worth topic


Since I started the blog, the topic of net worth has come up numerous times. I told you what mine was when I started the blog, but I realized that I never actually broke it down piece by piece.

Since I’m trying to be completely open and honest with you all, I decided it was time to do just that.

It also happened to be around the same time that I found this RockStar Finance article listing out a bunch of blogger’s net worths. And, naturally I wanted to be part of the nerd-dom (yes, that’s a word, I just made it up).


So here it is in all it’s glory:

Cash/Savings $3,417.04
Roth IRA $1,012.62
401K $26,481.40
 Total Assets  $30,911.06
Credit Cards $430.66
Student Loan #1 (6.5% interest) $4,377.85
Student Loan #2 (3%) $37,410.46
Car Loan (2.99%) $2,621.95
Sears Card (0%) $1,083.75
Furniture Loan (0%) $4,744.18
Total Liabilities $50,668.85
My Net Worth -$19,757.79


The whole point of your net worth is to essentially show you what you’re worth – that’s pretty depressing for me, since when I subtract my liabilities from my assets, my net worth is NEGATIVE $19,757.79. I’m worth less than zero. Woohoo! 🙂

Considering the amount of debt I have, this is actually not quite as shabby as it could be.

I know there are a few items you are questioning, so I’m going to go over each piece of this with you so you have a better idea of what the heck I’m doing 🙂



Cash amount in bankYou might be wondering why I have so much cash just sitting there, or maybe you’re thinking I should have more.

I am only saving the absolute minimum amount I would need to get by if an emergency were to come up. I would only suggest this while you are actively working to pay off debt. If you are just paying the minimum payments, you sure as heck better be saving enough to cover those expenses should something happen.

Also, an emergency means a lot of different things to different people. If you are in high risk of losing your job and will be out of work in a month, I’d be saving a lot more money in case that next job doesn’t come up right away.

I’m serious about this getting out of debt thing and I feel that around $1,500 is a pretty suitable amount to have saved for my situation. I’m young, generally healthy (knock on wood) and don’t have a ton of things that can break down at a moment’s notice. If I had to completely replace my car, I could find a beater for $1,500 – even the sexy Franken-Caddy could be had for that much 🙂 The $1,500 range might seem low, but it would at least get me around until I saved up money to get something more reliable.

So why do I have $3,400 in cash? Well about $500 is waiting to be taken out for a payment on my student loan, and the rest is being saved for upcoming weddings, car insurance and other yearly bills.

What about the whole “save 6 months of your expenses in case you get laid off” idea? Well, I said screw it. I want to be out of debt before I’m 30 and there is no way to do that without scrapping the whole “save a ton of money” bit.

So what would I do if I did get laid off in the next 3 years before I start accruing savings again? Well, I’m going to have to do what I’ve been doing my whole life and just deal with it. I have experience serving in restaurants and could work a few jobs to make ends meet if it really came down to it. So, I’m not stressing about that just yet.

This is only relevant for my situation. There are so many variables out there that I can’t say this would work for you without knowing what you have going on. Personal finance is first and foremost personal, don’t forget that. 


Roth IRA

I opened a Roth IRA in December. I knew it was time but always thought that I needed $3,000 to do so. I had a little bit of money saved up anyway that I was going to use for the classes I never ended up taking this semester. Since I had the money just sitting there so I used it to open a Roth IRA.

It’s grown $12 since opening it, not too shabby. 🙂 At least it’s earning more than it would have sitting in a bank account. Why did I not just throw the money at my debt? After completing some research for my article about millennials saving for retirement, I really saw the importance of getting money into retirement accounts and leaving it there. 

It’s kind of contradictory to my thought of paying it towards the 6% debt because who knows how much that money will earn in a Roth IRA, while the debt is a guaranteed 6% rate of return. Well, I took a gamble and put it into that account. Having the extra 3 years to grow seems pretty important to me at this point. Also, now that the account is open, I can contribute a little here and there when I have extra money. 

Also, money directly put into a Roth can be taken out if it was completely necessary. The interest earned cannot be removed, but the principal you put in can be. I would never actually do this unless I was really REALLY struggling to pay basic bills, but it’s an option.

Again, it’s a personal decision that was made, and I feel good about it. 



My 401k balance is something I want to work on. I know I need to be saving more for the future, but my 6% student loan debt seems to be the better place to wager my bet at this point, aside from my Roth contribution :). I will definitely be increasing my contributions once I am out of debt, no doubt about it.

Honestly, I’m lucky that I even have that $26k in there. For the first few years of my (short) working career, I was only contributing to it because the company automatically enrolled me at a 3% paycheck deduction. I never saw the money so I didn’t miss it.

I also didn’t realize what a 401k was or how beneficial it could be. My mom had told me it was a good idea but I never knew why.

It wasn’t until about a year ago that I learned how important saving for retirement was. I always thought that saving for retirement came much later in life, as I’m guessing most people my age do. Once I started learning about how everything worked, I realized that now was the time to be saving. I upped my contributions a little bit and haven’t looked back.

So I’m okay with my $26k in there right now. It’ll grow in time.


Want to figure out your own net worth?

Do it! You can use this free guide to get you started.


Credit Cards

I’m sure you’re thinking, why in the WORLD do you have credit card debt?? It’s never on the debt reports and you said that credit card reward points were evil! And I still stand by that, kind of.

After I knew that I was on the right path to getting out of debt, I started easing myself back into the credit card world. I mean, I have monthly bills to pay and I always pay them on time, so why shouldn’t I be earning some cash back when I’m already spending the money?

Credit cards can be very sketchy, and should be avoided AT ALL COSTS if you are not yet on a set plan and 100% confident in your ability not to pull them out whenever you have the urge to buy something. I’m planning a post on this later which will hopefully help bridge the gap here.

So, the “debt” showing on that part of my net worth is my quick-turnaround debt. I pay it off each month and would never dare to touch a 19% interest rate….EVER again.


Student Loans #1 and #2

I talk about these two pretty regularly on my debt reports each month. I’m paying the most towards Student Loan #1 so I can chop off that higher interest debt. Once that one is gone (hopefully in a few months) I will move on to bigger and better things.


Car Loan

At 2.99% interest, I’m not too worried about this one. Yes, it’s 100 times better not to have a car loan, but the 6.5% interest student loan is much higher on my list of things to focus on than this car loan.

You might have noticed that the car isn’t listed as an asset on my net worth breakdown above. That is because I don’t really value it as an asset. It keeps depreciating, and the whole car business in general bugs me. Buy this new car for $30k and in 5 years you’ll have lost a large % of that money due to the fast depreciation.

So, while it is worth something, it also costs me a lot (via insurance and repairs) so I don’t really see it as something to add to the net worth at this point. 


Sears Card and Furniture Loan

These two annoy me so much but I’m not willing to put any extra effort towards them when they aren’t “technically” costing me more than they would have otherwise. But, they gave me the ability to splurge on things I didn’t need at a time when I didn’t know any better, and that is why they get on my nerves.

I cannot wait to see these two loan periods end so I can never fall for this 0% interest trap again. 


In ending…

That’s everything. I’m in a negative net worth spot and will be for a while. I’m not upset about it anymore. I think of it as my time in jail for the crazy amounts of spending I took part in during my “previous life”. Soon enough, I’ll earn my chance to be a functioning member of the society I want to be a part of….you know, the one that has no debt and spends a heck of a lot less than they earn. 

Call me crazy, I’m cool with that.

If this was helpful, I may start updating this more regularly, so let me know what you think. 


Want to figure out your own net worth?

Feel free to use this guide to get you started.


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I am Chenell Tull and so far, I've had a pretty rough time with my student loan debt. Recently, I've figured out a more productive "get out of debt" plan and the goal is to pay off over $60k in just 36 months. If you want to learn more, subscribe to the mailing list and get FREE updates on my successes and failures on this journey out of debt.