Let’s see how much money you have and what you buy with it.
Step 3: What are your assets?
An asset is anything you own that you could trade for something else you want. This step asks: if you sold everything you own, how much would you have? There are three types of assets:
A. Cash and cash equivalents
This is money you can get right away. You should note things like interest rates and if it is a joint account with someone.
- Cash on hand
- CDs less than a year before maturity
- Money market accounts
- Savings accounts
- Checking accounts
B. Invested assets
Most of us don’t have these things. If you have a full-time job with a salary, your employer may offer one or more of these, and you may get a report each year showing how much you have. If you don’t know, talk with your boss or the people who handle benefits where you work.
If you have some of these through your job, you need to see if you are fully vested. You may have to be at a company for a while to get all of these benefits. Sometimes you can get a part of it if you leave before you are vested.
I had about $10,000 in a work profit sharing plan, but I was only 40% vested. If I quit and cashed out then, I would only get $4,000, and that would be taxed. If you cashed in an IRA, the government would take over half in taxes. So, when you add up your assets, check if the cash value is less. Again, if you aren’t sure, talk with your boss or the people who handle benefits where you work.
- 401(k) or other retirement plans (pensions, etc.)
- IRAs (individual retirement accounts)
- Profit-sharing plans
- Stock bonus plans or ESOPs (employee stock ownership plans)
- Keogh plan (for self-employed)
- Vested pension benefits
- Life insurance with cash value
- Certificates of Deposit (CDs) more than a year before maturity
- Corporate bonds
- Federal agency investments like Ginny Maes
- Precious metals and gems
- Collectibles bought as investments
- Investment real estate/land
- Limited partnerships
- Municipal bonds
- Ownership interest in a business
- Pending gifts or inheritance
- Real estate investment trusts
- Tax-sheltered annuities
- Unit trusts
- U.S. savings bonds
- U.S. treasury securities
- Other (like loans owed to you, etc.)
C. Use assets
These are things that get used instead of put away to get more value. Basically, it’s everything in your home and any kinds of transportation. Many use assets change in value, so you must find out their fair market value today, and not when you bought them.
- Art and antiques
- Boats and other water vehicles
- Cars and other motor vehicles
- Computer and accessories
- Home furnishings (appliances, furniture, etc.)
- Personal property (clothing, jewelry, etc,)
- Small business equipment
- Vacation property
This is how how much money you have!
Next: Your liabilities