Our Net Worth: $0 Or $500,000?

The 15 HWW household operates somewhat like a business. Both our passive income and expenditure are tracked somewhat religiously, as seen from these monthly updates. But that’s where all the association with a business ends. After all, there’s no information about the net asset value of this entity, or what is better known as net worth for this household.

The reason why we are not so concerned about our net worth on this blog is obvious (and no, it’s not because I am too lazy to have an additional blog entry every month).

In order to create a sustainable 15 hour work week, it would be most prudent to have already attained financial independence. And our less conservative goal is to be at least 50% there before transitioning into semi-retirement.

Annual Passive Income > Annual Household Expenditure = Financial Independence

As seen from the formula above, net worth doesn’t play a huge and direct role in achieving financial independent. Yeah, it’s not in the equation at all.  😛

Therefore, I have not bored you with any net worth updates for the past one year. Nonetheless, the number geek in me has been tracking our net worth on a quarterly basis for the past few years. And since we have graduated from a negative net worth in my last update, I have decided to bare it all for you below.  😉

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The Net Worth

In a short summary:

Liquid Assets ($80,000) – All the cash deposits and that includes the CIMB StarSaver account and the OCBC 360 account that I have included in my previous passive income update.

Short-Term Liabilities (-$40,000) – Both of our student loans, which amount to ~$15,000. Mrs 15 HWW also liquidated an endowment plan under her name 2 years ago. We pocketed the $25,000 but since the policy was fully paid by her parents, we intend to return it in some other form soon.

Non-Liquid Assets ($250,000) – Besides the stocks we hold, we have also included the Mrs’ AIA policy and both our CPF Ordinary Account balances.

Long-Term Liabilities (-$290,000) – My two siblings have about $20,000 each invested in the 15 HWW bond which provides a 5% annual coupon. Have blogged about this here previously. And obviously, there is my home loan which remains slightly below $250,000.

What I have Not Included

Other CPF Accounts – Our Special and Medisave accounts are not insignificant (especially for Mrs 15 HWW since she has worked full-time for about 6 years already). But they are much less liquid than our non-liquid assets. We will only have access to these monies in 30 years’ time or when we are sick, situations which I either can’t or is unwilling to contemplate.

Value of Our Possessions – With eBay, the proliferation of flea markets and of course, Carousell (promise to blog about it soon), our possessions do have value, and if we sold everything, right down to our underwear, it could bring in tens of thousands. But I do not want to go there, at least not yet. 🙄

The Question Mark: Our HDB Flat

Singapore has one of the highest concentration of millionaires in the world, standing at around 8.8% of the population. And you’re one of them if you have “at least one million US dollars in investable assets (excluding the value of the primary residence). Otherwise, without this exclusion, the % will probably triple or even quadruple.

Since there’s a part of me that would like to be included in this esteemed list (long way to go, I know) one day, I have actually excluded the value of the flat in my spreadsheet. Moreover, under HDB rules, as we have only taken possession of our 5-room flat in Punggol for less than 5 years, we are not allowed to sell it.

Nonetheless, recently, I am more inclined to include the value of the flat in this quarterly tracking. Firstly, if we fall onto hard times and are unable to pay the monthly mortgage installments, HDB will definitely allow us to sell it under exceptional circumstances. Secondly, we are open to down-sizing in like 3 years’ time when the MOP is up, if the situation warrants it. Since this flat is easily valued at $500,000 and above, this amount, instead of $0, could be our real net worth.

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So is the net worth $0 or $500,000? It all boils down to technicalities and actually both numbers reflect the same, current situation that the household is in. So not point harping too long over it.

I am just delighted that even with a nice and comfortable roof over my head, I can be debt-free if I wanted to, although I chose not to for now.

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    12 thoughts on “Our Net Worth: $0 Or $500,000?

    1. Kyith

      your family have accumulated well and are the model family that we all aspire to.

      look at it this way: as part of financial independence, if you leave this country, what can you liquidate. by that the answer is rather simple.

      when it comes to housing the conservative stance is not to include it, but i find it unfair you included the debts but not the value of the home.

      1. My 15 HWW Post author

        Hi Kyith,

        Thanks for your kind words. =p

        We have more to live up to for us to truly become a model family.

        I guess I was lucky to start reading up on all these financial stuff in my late teens. And stumbled on blogs like yours before I started work. Learnt a lot.

        I think your “leaving the country” scenario is a good example and make things much clearer. The Mrs also often lament that the negative net worth was really unfair to us for the past couple of years. Maybe it also made us slightly more frugal and conservative too.

        1. Kyith

          i think its good you went through this. make up a fundamentally sound understanding of things, then move on. else you do what we do sometimes compartmentalize. its not wrong, it motivates us, but sometimes its may blindside us from the pain in some costs that is bleeding like crazy but we jsut compartmentalize to ignore it.

    2. LP

      Hi 15Hww,

      For insurance, I didn’t include any term plan, but I add in the surrender value of whole life plans for calculation of networth.

      I agree with Kyith. If you include the debts, then you should include the market value of your flat. If you ignore the housing debt, then you should ignore the current value of your property too.

      1. My 15 HWW Post author

        Hi LP,

        Yeah, agree on the surrender value of insurance plans. But we don’t have any of those at this point although I did include the Mrs’ ILP.

        So are you more keen on including or excluding the debt and value of your flat in your net worth calculations?

      1. My 15 HWW Post author

        Hi Mr IPO,

        That’s an interesting view.

        By right, a stock experiencing 8% annual capital gains should be as attractive as another stock with 4% dividends and 4% capital gains.

        However, most people value the latter more. Dividends are like “the birds in the hand” since capital gains could be eroded with one piece of bad news?

        But no doubt I would still choose a stock that returns >10% even if it doesn’t give out any dividends. =)

    3. David

      Hi 15HWW,

      Nice post. Your dividend income is a good inspiration to me. How long do you take to reach that level? Care to share? I have not read from your past postings yet. I’ll do that in the next few days/weeks.

      David