Does The Average Net Worth Of Your Peers Equal Your Own?
Have you ever wondered what the average net worth is of your peers? It’s probably impossible to know for sure unless they show you a spreadsheet and tell you. However, it’s possible to make an estimate based on their income, age, real assets, and spending habits. People always say that you’re the average of your five peers, so it might be good to do some calculations to see if the theory holds true.
I’ve put together a list of five friends and five acquaintances. Their respective net worths are rough estimates based on what I know about their visible assets and how long they’ve worked.
See how they compare to the median 2007 net worth of all US households at around $109,000 based on a Federal Reserve survey.
NET WORTH ESTIMATION OF FIVE PEERS
* Nancy. Age: 40. Job: Investment banker. House value: $3 million. Equity: $1.5 million. Income: $800,000. Savings: $800,000. Two cars: $60,000. Other assets: $1 million. Estimated net worth: $3.5 million. Nancy is a friend I’ve known for 10 years. She has three kids in private school and therefore has a high operating nut.
* Lyndon. Age: 34. Job: Strategy consultant. House value: rents Savings: $400,000. Assets: $600,000. Income: $300,000. Estimated net worth: $1,000,000. Lyndon is a buddy I’ve known since New York City in 1999. He wants to leave his job and be a photographer.
* Greg. Age 34. Job: Unemployed. House value: $1 million. Equity: $400,000. Savings: $1 million. Estimated net worth: $1.4 million. Greg is taking time off after cashing out from his tech firm.
* Linda. Age 32. Job: Sales manager. Income: $120,000. Rents. Savings: $230,000. Small Business: $200,000. Estimated net worth $430,000. Linda is a fellow San Franciscan who is looking to do something new before age 35.
* Peter. Age 33. Job: Construction engineer. House value: $250,000. Equity: -$100,000. Savings: $150,000. Estimated net worth: $100,000. Peter is my tennis buddy who enjoys dating online.
After adding up all five net worth figures and dividing by 5, I get: $1,286,000.
THE NET WORTH OF FIVE ACQUAINTANCES
* Casey. Age 48. Job: Fund manager. House value: $7,000,000. Equity: $5,000,000. Savings: $5,000,000. Vacation house equity: $5,000,000. Other assets: $10,000,000. Estimated net worth: $25,000,000.
* Mustafa. Age 35. Job: Blogger. House value: rents. Operating Income: $70,000. Rental house value: $250,000. Equity: $50,000. Assets: $250,000. Estimated Net worth: $300,000.
* Gustavo. Age 34. Job: MBA student. Rents. Savings: $15,000. Assets: $20,000. Car: $30,000. Debt: $15,000. Estimated net worth: $50,000. Gustavo is another tennis friend of mine.
* Jim. Age 40. Job: Finance. House price: $700,000. Home equity: $0. Savings: $150,000. Assets: $300,000. Car: $50,000. Zero debt. Income: $250,000. Estimated net worth: $600,000. Estimated net worth with inheritance: $2 million.
* Tiffany. Age 27. Job: Personal trainer. Rents. Assets: $8,000. Car: $6,000. Student Loans: $30,000. Estimated net worth: $-15,000.
The average net worth of the following five acquaintances is around $5 million dollars. The net worth average is obviously skewed by my friend Casey. If we take out Casey, the average net worth is $230,000.
NET WORTH CONCLUSION
Net worth is a function of age, income, occupation, luck, and savings rates. Most of my closest friends are in their 30s. A couple of them plan to retire or do something else shortly, leading to a decline in their respective incomes. That said, I suspect all their net worths will continue to increase due to their good savings and spending habits.
I’ve got poor friends and I’ve got rich friends. Tennis and other common interests are what keeps us together. The level of wealth just so happens to be of something fun and interesting to discover. Net worth doesn’t matter between friends. Based on the following examples, the average net worth of my peers is not statistically close to my own.
To Improve Your Net Worth I Recommend:
1) Managing Your Finances Online: Get a handle on your finances by signing up with Personal Capital. They are a free online platform which aggregates all your financial accounts in one place so you can see where you can optimize. Before Personal Capital, I had to log into eight different systems to track 25+ difference accounts (brokerage, multiple banks, 401K, etc) to track my finances. Now, I can just log into Personal Capital to see how my stock accounts are doing and when my CDs are expiring. Personal Capital even tracks your net worth progress so you don’t have to. There is no better tool online that can help you build wealth for free. It only takes a minute to sign up.
2) Refinancing Your Mortgage: If you are a landlord or homeowner and have not refinanced in the past year, I strongly suggest you check online to see what the latest rates are. I always check with Quicken Loans because they are fast, quick, and provide a no obligation real quote based on the input you provide. I recently refinanced to a 5/1 Jumbo ARM for 2.625% in the Summer of 2012 after just refinancing in the fall of 2011 for 3.125% from 3.625%. As a result, I am saving an additional $4,000 a year in interest! Take advantage of current rates at 30 year lows in part due to the Federal Reserve’s easing policy.
3) Checking Your Credit Score: Take a moment to check your free credit score through GoFreeCredit.com, especially if you have not done so in the past year. You need to protect yourself against identity theft and errors in your credit history which will damage your financials and prevent you from getting the lowest interest rate for loans. I had a 100 point hit on my score for two years due to an $8 late payment by my tenants! The score delayed my mortgage refinance and almost derailed the entire process. The average credit score for rejected mortgage loans is 729!
Photo: Occupy SF, 2012, SD.