What Is Your True Net Worth?

December 30, 2016

The way we calculate net worth sells ourselves short.

As we enter the season of giving, receiving, and spending, calculating your bottom line might be of particular interest to you. Most people, when asked this question, only consider their financial holdings. Just like Arianna Huffington, in her book, Thrive, encouraged us to expand our concept of what it means to be successful, we also need to expand our definition of worth. To truly calculate your net worth, you must consider all of your assets. Now, let me be clear, as a coach and a consultant to some of the world’s wealthiest people, I am not simply talking about real estate, jewelry, or other types of material assets. When determining your True Net Worth (TNW), the real asset classes that need to be considered are the 4 Ts: Talent, Trust, Treasure, and Time.

The more you understand these various forms of equity, actively recognize what you have, and strategically plan how to grow these assets, the more you will experience a sense of thriving and fulfillment in your life. The first of these asset classes, Talent, encompasses all of the experiences you have gained during your life, your interests your knowledge and your abilities. For example, Reagan Kazyak created a specialized major in studio art and biomedical engineering at the College of Wooster, in order to use her sculpting talent to design better prosthetics. “I really want to improve the lives of others, especially those who have served our country,” she says. “I love sculpture, and I believe I can use my gifts in this area.” Many of the most successful and admired people in our society have leveraged their talents to become artists, authors, and actors. Part of the equity you hold in the area of talent, you were born with, but much of what you can achieve in this domain must be gained through hard work and stick-to-itiveness. In fact, a strong work ethic, combined with an ability to follow through and to never give up, are also excellent examples of talent.

The Trust category is built on your ability to develop and deepen relationships through caring. Equity in this area is gained through the strength of your relationships, networks, and spheres of influence. Investing in developing your Trust assets is an investment in human connections, generosity, and developing win/win interactions. For example, Jonathan Fields, leveraged his Trust equity to create The Good Life Project, a community of people from all walks of life who have come together to help one another live more meaningful, vital, lives. Depletions in the area of Trust, such as we have been seeing with the US presidential election, result in feelings of scarcity and disempowerment, and at its worst, feelings of hatred and acts of violence.

Treasure equity is what has traditionally been used to determine one’s net-worth. While it includes your financial assets and material holdings, it is not solely comprised of these. Having a better understanding of one’s TNW and what your values and goals in life are, allows you to best use your Treasure as a tool towards accomplishing those goals. Investing your treasure to increase the value of another asset class, such as relationships with others or in building out your own talents, creates a positive net outcome, helping to grow one’s TNW. Your Treasure can also be leveraged to make the world a better place through socially responsible investing and philanthropy.

Talent, Trust, and Treasure are all infinite resources, giving each one of us the ability to continually build equity in these domains, growing our TNW during the course of our lifetime. Unlike the other asset classes though, our Time is finite. No matter how much of the other three we have, none of us can buy more time in our lives, nor do we know how much time we have left. All that we are able to do with this asset is to budget it wisely and try to maximize this ever dwindling resource.

Invitation for action:

  • Take some time to really find your True Net Worth
  • List all of the assets you have in the 4 Ts: Talent, Trust, Treasure, & Time
  • How can you make investments that grow the first 3 Ts and allow you to best spend your Time this holiday season and into 2017?

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