When you want to calculate your net worth, should you include the cash value in your whole life insurance policies and money in your CPF accounts (OA, SA, MA)? - Seedly
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Anonymous

Asked on 31 May 2020

When you want to calculate your net worth, should you include the cash value in your whole life insurance policies and money in your CPF accounts (OA, SA, MA)?

Am trying to monitor the growth of my networth. Should these be included as well apart from house, cash on hand, stocks and bonds? What else should be included in networth?

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Hi anon,

Yes, I would include it.

Your net worth is a measure of what and how much assets are in your name, and that will become available for distribution if you are no longer around. Naturally, some items will not be touchable, such as CPF MA, but monies there will be given to your next of kin if you are gone. So, you may include it. You might want to consider segmenting your net worth into liquid and illiquid if you wanted a more detailed breakdown.

Some ideas for what can fall under your net worth, as well as categorization:

  • Liquid net worth would include cash and near cash assets such as bank monies and FDs.

  • Invested assets would include your bonds, stocks, investment property, etc. This is where the whole life cash value may come into the picture, as that is the amount available to you if you liquidate it. Investment items like art works and watches can also count.

  • CPF can be a category on its own

  • Personal assets would be a little more illiquid but still count towards your net worth, such as residential property or the value of your vehicle

  • Remember to net off liabilities such as mortgage and loans.

As always, remember to make a CPF nomination and a will to ensure distribution of your estate according to your wishes. Documenting your net worth will be helpful in completing your schedule of assets for a will, so that your loved ones know what you have.

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Tay WenHao
Tay WenHao
Top Contributor

Top Contributor (Jun)

Level 7. Grand Master
Answered on 01 Jun 2020

I actually feel that it depends on which life stages you are at right now. Though many of the comments here would include CPF and whole life insurances to their net worth, I beg to differ.

For myself, I am only 22 this year. It would take me at least another 33 years to 'touch' my CPF. Although yes, I can use it earlier to buy housing etc. But still, if I were to sell the house, I need to 'return' the money.

I would be more interested to calculate the growth in my savings, investments, etc. Which would help me in my finacial planning better.

However, if you are calculating your net worth to plan for retirement, yes. Since you can withdraw your CPF from 55 onwards / 65 onwards for monthly payout, you can include that in your calculations to see how much you need to save now to prepare for retirement.

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Definitely, there are quite a number of things you could fund using your CPF. Although you can't really withdraw it till you're much older, your home is an asset that is funded heavily with your CPF OA funds. Additionally, you may use part of it to invest in it for potentially better returns.

I've heard of someone who invested his CPF money and it fully paid off his $400k HDB flat. Investing it at higher returns can also allow you to stagger payments by selling off your investments back into the CPF account to pay for your monthly mortgage (eg. In the event you or your wife had just given birth and are not actively working during that period; assuming both parents previously working)

Whole life insurance policies cash value can also be utilised for many purposes.

You may loan from the policy cash value anytime you want for unexpected life events or emergency needs (eg. Family member hospitalised / retrenched). Or the cash value can also form part of your retirement should you feel you no longer need the coverage.

Do remember to make your CPF nominations as well as they're not included in your will.

Your networth should include all of your assets less outstanding liabilites.

The value of the house you live in, your car. Anything that can be liquidated into cash can form part of your networth as long as it has value (even if you sell it at a loss).

Some people put art pieces, luxury bags or watches in it as well since there's a market for all these goods.

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Sharon
Sharon
Level 6. Master
Answered on 31 May 2020

Yes you should include them. I track mine using Investment Moats' excel sheet, which can be found here:

https://investmentmoats.com/wealth-building-2/dont-track-your-expenses-or-budget-first-plot-your-net-worth-instead/

You can even include monies from your wallet, monies in different currencies, monies in accounts like PayPal, or even shares that your employer give you. Besides these, you'll also need to account for the debts (liabilities) you have e.g. personal loan, mortgage loan.

It will give you a full picture every month. I must say it's kind of satisfying to track it and watch your money grow! Or to see your debt reduces! Jia you!

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Anything that could be liquidated or monetized should be included. This would include your CPF as well as they can be monetized later on as you reach retirement.

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Yes, they should be included in calculating your net worth. This is because they are assets.

I share quality content on estate planning and financial planning here.

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