Creating a personal balance sheet will help you increase your financial awareness tremendously. I truly believe that what get’s measured gets managed, so when you paint your financial picture you will manage your finances better. Let’s look today at what a personal balance sheet will look like.
What Is A Balance Sheet?
A balance sheet is one of the financial statements business have to produce to report their finances. It’s simply a list of all of your assets and liabilities.
The combined value of your assets should match the combined sum of your liabilities, otherwise we can’t speak of a balance sheet. The balance sheet could indicate whether the financials of an organisation are healthy or not.
A healthy business has more assets than loans. The difference is called equity. When businesses make profit, their equity position on the balance sheet increases.
In personal finance, we don’t talk about equity, but about your net worth, or the difference between what you own and what you owe. If your assets increase in value and your loans decrease in value, your net worth increases.
But Why Should I Have A Personal Balance Sheet?
The reason you should create a personal balance sheet is simple. What gets measured gets managed, and you want to manage your finances. Otherwise, what are you doing here?
One of the things I work very hard for is increasing my net worth. The balance sheet shows you what your net worth is made off.
By making this visible, it gets easier for me to know where my money is located. And by knowing that, I know which knobs to turn to make my financial situation better.
How to Create a Personal Balance Sheet
Creating a balance sheet is simple. I like to put two columns next to each other and call them Assets and Liabilities. In the assets column you put everything you own. In the liabilities you put where that value is coming from (so not just loans, but loans and your net worth).
Assets are things you own and want to sell. Examples of financial assets are your bank accounts, stocks, and peer to peer lending.
On your balance sheet you should also include things of value you can sell (reasonably quickly). I put my real estate and my car on the balance sheet. I revalue my real estate once per year. The car depreciates every month by 200 euros (currently).
I do not put my laptop, television, mobile phone and other stuff on my balance sheet. These are items that I bought and fully depreciated immediately. I won’t sell them anytime soon, and definitely not for a substantial amount of money.
My personal balance sheet example contains the following asset categories and assets:
- Checking Accounts
- Saving Accounts
- Fixed Rate Deposits
- Other Cash
- Brokerage Accounts
- Investment Real Estate
- Peer To Peer Lending
- Other Investments
- Personal Residence
- Retirement Accounts
- Other Assets
- Other “Other Assets”
Liabilities are the money source of your balance sheet. Everything you own (in the assets column) is created with some form of funding. That funding can be your own, or someone else’s money.
Under liabilities we put both those sources. We start with writing down all of our loans. The difference between your loans and assets is then your net worth and voila, the balance sheet is balanced again.
I’ve put in the following liabilities in my personal balance sheet example:
- Personal Residence
- Investment Real Estate
- Other Liabilities
- Credit Card Balance
- Student Loans
- Personal Loans
- Auto Loans
- Other Loans
My Personal Balance Sheet Example
This is what my personal balance sheet looks like at the moment of writing this article:
In here I’ve put some numbers that I could pull out of my administration very easily. In cash I have my on-budget accounts, which include reservations for future expenses as well as my emergency fund.
My full investment breakdown can be seen on my investment portfolio page. My retirement accounts are pre-tax accounts that I can put pre-tax income in (with a low limit though) and that can grow tax-free until I get within five years of my official retirement age.
Under liabilities I’ve listed my mortgage, student loans, and credit card balance (I don’t carry a balance, I pay this off every month).
You can download an empty version of the Excel template here for your own use. The only thing I ask in return is… nothing! That’s right, I have created this article and this spreadsheet for free!
If you want your net worth to increase, you can do that by increasing the value of your investments. If you want to do that, please consider using DeGiro:
What does your personal balance sheet look like?