Liquid Net Worth: Definition and Calculation

January 24, 2023

Liquid net worth is a crucial component of personal finance and financial planning. It refers to the total value of your assets that can be easily converted into cash, such as savings accounts, checking accounts and investments that can be sold quickly without significant loss of value.

Understanding your liquid net worth can help you create a budget, set financial goals and make informed decisions about spending and saving. This article will explain what liquid net worth is, how to calculate it, and its importance in personal finance and financial planning.

What is Liquid Net Worth?

Liquid net worth refers to the amount of money an individual or company has available after subtracting all liabilities from liquid assets.

Cash, publicly traded stocks, mutual funds and bonds are all liquid assets because they can quickly and easily be converted to cash. On the other hand, illiquid assets such as real estate investments or private business ownership tend to take longer to convert to cash.

Liquid net worth is a measure of an individual or company’s financial health and ability to meet short-term financial obligations.

Total Net Worth vs. Liquid Net Worth

Your total net worth includes the value of all your assets and liabilities, including non-liquid assets.

Liquid net worth matters because it measures how easily you can cover living expenses, short-term liabilities and emergencies. However, it doesn’t account for your entire financial strength and balance sheet.

What Are Liquid Assets?

Liquid assets are cash or assets that can easily be converted to cash. They include items such as:

  • Cash or cash equivalents, such as checking accounts and savings accounts, money market accounts, and Treasury Bills
  • Publicly traded stocks, bonds and mutual funds in brokerage accounts
  • Certificates of deposit (CDs)
  • Foreign currency

These assets can be easily sold or converted into cash quickly while holding onto their market value. They are considered liquid because they can be quickly and easily converted into cash without significant loss of value.

On the other hand, non-liquid assets are items such as real estate, retirement accounts such as IRAs, private business ownership, and collectibles, which are not easily or quickly converted into cash. These assets may take longer to sell and may also be subject to a significant loss of value when they are sold.

Why Are Liquid Assets Important?

Liquid assets are important for several main reasons:

  1. Financial security: Having a sufficient amount of liquid assets can provide financial security and peace of mind. It can help ensure that you have enough money to meet unexpected expenses or emergencies, such as medical bills or job loss.
  2. Short-term financial goals: Liquid assets can also be used to meet short-term financial goals, such as saving for a down payment on a house or building an emergency fund.
  3. Flexibility: Liquid assets can be quickly and easily converted into cash, which can be used to invest in new opportunities, pay off debt or meet other financial needs.
  4. Diversification: Holding liquid and illiquid assets, such as both stocks and real estate, can help diversify your investment portfolio and reduce risk.
  5. Creditworthiness: Lenders often consider liquid assets as a factor when evaluating creditworthiness, as it is an indicator of a borrower’s ability to repay the loan.

Overall, liquid assets are important for maintaining financial stability, achieving short-term goals, and providing flexibility.

Illiquid assets can be a large aspect of your overall net worth, as non-liquid assets tend to be long-term stores of value and capital appreciation. Many alternative investments are illiquid but can be some of the strongest portfolio diversifiers. 

Contemporary Art has been known to provide a low or no correlation with the S&P 500 Index and other alternative assets, making it a hedge against the market volatility that may affect equities, bonds, and real estate. This means that investments in Contemporary Art are less likely to be affected by fluctuations in the market.

Furthermore, Contemporary Art can be a valuable long-term investment, as the value of art often increases over time. During times of high inflation and economic downturns, it has been observed that Contemporary Art outperforms other safe-haven assets like gold and real estate.

How to Calculate Your Liquid Net Worth

Liquid net worth calculation begins with determining the value of your assets and the value of any liabilities you may have. The formula is:

Liquid Net Worth = Value of Liquid Assets – Liabilities

  1. Value of liquid assets: The first step is determining your liquid assets’ value. This includes cash and cash equivalents, such as checking and savings accounts, money market funds, and Treasury Bills. It also includes publicly traded stocks, ETFs, bonds, mutual funds and any other assets that can be easily and quickly converted into cash. Add up the value of all of these assets to determine the total value of your liquid assets.
  2. Liabilities: Next, determine the total amount of your liabilities. This includes any outstanding debts, such as credit card balances, loans and mortgages.
  3. Subtract liabilities from the value of liquid assets: Finally, subtract the total value of your liabilities from the total value of your liquid assets. The result is your liquid net worth.

For example, let’s say you have $50,000 in checking and savings accounts, $25,000 in stocks and bonds, and $10,000 in a money market fund.

Your total liquid assets would be $50,000 + $25,000 + $10,000 = $85,000. If you have $20,000 in credit card debt and a $15,000 car loan, your total liabilities would be $20,000 + $15,000 = $35,000. Your liquid net worth would be $85,000 – $35,000 = $50,000

It’s important to note that it’s a snapshot of a moment in time, and with time it will change as the value of assets and liabilities fluctuate.

Measuring Corporate Liquid Net Worth

There are two key metrics for gauging liquid net worth for businesses: the quick ratio and the current ratio.

The quick ratio measures how well a company can meet its short-term liabilities with cash on hand.

The current ratio compares a company’s current assets to the debts it will have to pay within the year. This is calculated by dividing a company’s total assets by its short-term liabilities.

How to Help Improve Your Liquid Net Worth

A good financial goal is to have 3 to 6 months of living expenses in liquid assets. This way, you have an amount of cash high enough to handle an emergency or cover living expenses if needed.

There are several ways to improve your liquid net worth, including:

  1. Increasing your income: This can be done by getting a higher-paying job, starting a side hustle, or finding additional sources of income.
  2. Reducing your expenses: Look for ways to reduce your monthly expenses, such as cutting back on unnecessary subscriptions or shopping for better deals on everyday items.
  3. Investing: Investing in assets such as stocks, real estate, or a business can help grow your liquid net worth over time. It’s important to remember that different investments can have a variety of liquidity levels, meaning long-term, illiquid investments are not useful for improving your liquid net worth. They can, however, be useful for building your total net worth and improving your financial health. 
  4. Paying off debt: High-interest debt can eat away at your net worth, so paying off credit card balances, student loans, and other debt can help improve your overall financial situation. Debt can snowball, especially if you have high-interest-rate debt such as personal loans or credit cards. Over the long term, high debt can diminish your total net worth and make it more difficult to save money and plan for retirement savings.

It’s important to remember that improving your liquid net worth is a process that takes time and effort, but by making smart financial decisions, you can build a solid foundation for your future.

If your total net worth is low, or even if you have a negative net worth, working with a financial advisor may be helpful to get you on a better path.

The Bottom Line

Understanding your liquid net worth is an important aspect of personal finance and financial planning. It helps you to see the amount of money you have readily available for expenses, investments, and savings.

Determining your liquid net worth can also aid in setting financial goals, creating a budget, and making informed decisions about spending and saving.

By regularly monitoring and tracking your liquid net worth, you can gain a better understanding of your financial situation and make adjustments as needed to achieve your financial goals.

The information in this article is provided solely for educational purposes. This information should not be construed as investment advice or form the basis of an investment decision. 

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