Do you count your car as part of your net worth?

One of the perennial PF questions.  I love for showing you your net worth, but it is pretty flexible about letting you decide what is part of your net worth.  When I first reached my current level of PF zeal about a year ago, I threw all “assets” onto Mint and was thrilled that my net worth was only -$4000.  If you deal with positive numbers, “only” sounds like a bad thing.  When you are ensconced in negative numbers, “only” seems pretty good.

Anyway, my car was (and still is) part of this assessment.  However, people have pointed out to me that a car really shouldn’t be part of your net worth, because it is sort of illiquid in the sense that you couldn’t just go sell it and be without a car.  Plus, where does it end?  Do you count your laptop as part of your net worth?  What about your Xbox, or jewelry?  Right?

I have countered that thinking by pointing out that your car with a Kelley Blue Book value of $10,000 is most likely worth $10k to you if you wanted to buy another car.  It would reduce the new car cost by $10k through trade-in or private sale, like cash.  Plus, re: illiquidity you could say the same of a house (minus mortgage debt), that you generally can’t sell your house without buying another residence of some sort.  And many people count their houses as part of net worth.

But I have also come across PF enthusiasts who are way more limited than cars or property, and count only passive income-bearing assets.  So no cars, no primary residence, no checking account, no savings account.  Only 401k, IRA, other interest-generating accounts, and possibly rental residence income.  Interesting.

So overall I’m considering removing my car from my Mint account, but am considering this passive income-only approach.  The PF gurus seems to emphasize having only enough savings for an emergency fund and investing all the rest.  So theoretically over the long term, the savings wouldn’t factor in highly anyway.

Happy hump day!

4 thoughts on “Do you count your car as part of your net worth?

  1. “you couldn’t just go sell it and be without a car”
    Couldn’t you though? Ride a bike, use public transportation… you have options, they just might not be as convenient.

    • True, and I have been reading about people (especially on who have done that. I know it’s wussypants but I don’t think I can really do that. But the people who have are loving the money in their pockets and extra savings from gas, insurance, etc.

  2. I’ve been tracking both (full net worth, and just net worth from passive investments). The size of your ‘stash is the more important value, but I think there’s some good information in tracking the market value of your house and car alongside your retirement account, taxable accounts, checking and savings, etc.

    • Hey MA! Well actually I was referring to your “$100k invested” blog when I talked about “income producing-only net worth.” I should have mentioned it. It’s an interesting idea, and I have already seen so many books and other blogs say that your house should not be considered one of the assets contributing to your net worth.

      But it’s good to track the tangibles. I run a Kelley Blue Book assessment of my car every June.

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