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May 24, 2007

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Hey, that's nothing to laugh at. Those of us who can't buy a home are moping as our rents keep going up and our net worth stagnates near zero.

MW- I think you should cancel your internet service and put the money toward a savings plan. :)

If your house is paid off, not counting it can be misleading because you don't have to make payments. Then again, are they capitalizing pensions? Wealth can be owned or come as an income stream. Counting it can be subject to interpretation.

I got my internet service when I canceled my daily newspaper - it actually saved me a little money, and I got a lot more value (news, blogs, etc) in the process. Ain't going back to the newspaper!

I think Jennifer Openshaw made a good point when she wrote: "Many Americans have been trapped into thinking they're wealthy."

People get into financial trouble when they start taking out HELOCs against their increased equity, not on whether or not they have the money to pay the higher bills.

A better way to guage wealth is to look at a combination of investible assets, and incomes vs. outflows. It's no good to be a millionaire on paper if you have to take aout a HELOC to pay credit cards and other bills.

I think Jennifer Openshaw made a good point when she wrote: "Many Americans have been trapped into thinking they're wealthy."

People get into financial trouble when they start taking out HELOCs against their increased equity, not on whether or not they have the money to pay the higher bills.

A better way to guage wealth is to look at a combination of investible assets, and incomes vs. outflows. It's no good to be a millionaire on paper if you have to take aout a HELOC to pay credit cards and other bills.

Where I live in northern California, the median home sells for $870K. It's not too hard to be supplement that to be a millionaire. Should that not be counted? I don't think so. I think it's an important asset that could be sold (even if for "only" $700K) and would be a nice nest egg if taken to a place like Texas or North Carolina with lower costs of living.

In my practice I talk with clients about "capital at work" rather than net worth. It's essentially the same as "investable net worth" but I think "capital at work" is more descriptive.

Personally, after seven years in this mortgage and a little help from appreciation our home is worth around $1 mm and our equity in it is about $600k. So I completely understand the psychological wealth effect created by real estate appreciation. But it's a mistake to let it influence saving and spending habits.

I think this definitely cuts both ways. A million dollars in equity my be illiquid, but there are MANY places in this country where a nice home can still be purchased well below that level. I live in Colorado and most places outside of the mountain resort towns have very nice homes in the $250K - $350K range. If you can sell a home, relocate to an area with lower home prices, and net $500K in tax free captial gains, that's quite a windfall.

Accidental millionaires could be attributed to a person when he suddenly acquires vast amounts of wealth due to circumstances or events beyond his expectations. There are varied empirical instances where one could become an accidental millionaire:
1. You married a millionaire, his assets becomes yours except if you agree on the separation of assets before nuptial agreements and contract.
2. You bought a lottery for $ 45 Million and out of the blues , hurrah, you won which makes you an instant and an accidental millionaire because the luck comes similar to an accident;
3. Your father or mother or a kin executed a will donating you chunks of their properties and you now become the heirs of wealth beyond your imaginations. You better be prepared for it or you might be a victim of kidnapping;
4. You bought a land without even realizing it, it's a mine of gold and diamonds thereby making you very rich;
5. You wrote a book out of sheer boredom but the readers found out that you are a prolific writer and your writings becomes an instant success and a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize, hence you become rich accidentaly;
6. The location of your house is found to be in the center determined by economist and industrialist soon to be an urban place or a city, hence your place becomes so lucrative, hence you become an accidental millionaire;
7. You have a daughter or son who has an extraordinary talents and skills, he or she becomes an instant star and has so many engagements and films to attend. Your son or your daughter becomes rich so are you. Indirectly you become an accidental millionaire.
8. You bought several paintings owned by a European painter named Van Gogh never realizing that his paintings are auctioned now by the millions of dollars. You become an accidental millionaire out of love and appreciation for art.
9. The share of stocks that you bought a decade ago amounting to $ 2 per share has appreciated to $ 250 per share and you own 250,000 shares that makes it worth $ 62.5 Million Dollars, you become an outright accidental millionaire.
10. The diamond rings and gold necklaces that you bought a decade ago has appreciated its amount by three hundred percent and it is now worth $ 40 Million Dollars, you become an instant and an accidental millionaire.

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