Tracking Net Worth

A good first step to changing something is to quantify and track it. Calculate your net worth and get into the habit of periodically recalculating it.

Keep track of each of your accounts and update them regularly. Personally, I like a plain old spreadsheet. I manually add a row with the day's date, enter a few numbers in a few columns, and (ideally) watch the graph trend up.

I generally add a row to my spreadsheet whenever my finances change by more than a few hundred dollars or so. In practice, that's every two weeks on payday. More than that seems excessive to me (and plenty of people would argue that that's already too often) but so long as you're recalculating your total at least every quarter you'll probably be fine. If you use this manual strategy, I'd suggest adding a calendar reminder to ensure that you don't forget.

If you'd prefer a more automated solution, Mint is good at tracking and automatically categorizing your purchases, and Personal Capital is an excellent tool for tracking investments.

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