The title of this blog post is a search engine term that led to my blog. It’s a good question! And one I feel I should attempt to answer in case future googler’s are led here by the same.
Except I don’t know what your net worth “should” be at 30. I don’t even know what mine will be, only what I want it to be.
Up until this year my personal net-worth goal for 30 was $100,000. Now I’m thinking I should aim a little higher. The challenge in setting net worth goals is that it can depend on more than how much you save or how much debt you pay off. Assets like stocks or houses can fluctuate in value — sometimes in a good way, but also sometimes for the worst.
On another note, I’m not sure what net worth you should strive for because I’m generally a huge advocate of not worrying about what everyone else is doing. If you’re looking at everyone else, you’re going to lose sight of yourself.
Finances are generally a pretty quick and easy way to pass judgement on another person’s success and values, even if some of the circumstances were out of their control. For example, it will be easier for someone whose parents paid for their university education to build net worth than it is for me, because they get to start without debt and I started down $20,000. On the other hand, it will be easier for me to build net worth than someone at a lower starting salary or raising a young family, because I’m single with a good income. But when you just take a quick glance at someone’s net worth, generally you’ll absorb only the number and not the circumstances: “wow! up $250,000 already!” or “negative $50,000? Are you kidding?” — even though the first might just be riding an inheritance and the second is a medical student.
I found the statistics of the relationship between net worth and profession in The Millionaire Next Door very interesting. I suggest you check out the book if you haven’t already. Basically it puts net worth in the context of earning power, and consequently people that society perceives as “rich” are actually usually pretty horrible at building wealth (ie. doctors) and others with average jobs can be very good at building wealth (ie. teachers).
I think long-term net worth goals have to be a mix of what’s realistic and what you’re willing to work for. At this point, I still don’t have a clear idea where my career is headed, but I do understand my spending and saving habits. I know I’ll come out on the the other side of $100,000 but by how much will depend on the decisions I make in the next 4 years:
- when will I buy a car? What kind?
- how many international vacations will I go on? Will they be frugal or luxurious?
- what kind of home will I buy?
- will I have children? If so, how many?
- will I get married? How much will I spend on the wedding?
My advice is to not worry about what your net worth should be and just try to make it as high as you can. You’re not saving for anyone but yourself. It is your financial security, your financial future, your financial life on the line — no one else’s. Only concentrate on what you can do, and forget everyone else.