Whenever you punch names like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Jack Ma, Serena Williams, Roman Abramovic, Strive Masiyiwa and Patrice Motsepe or other such influential persons; you will notice on their profile there is an amount shown as "Net Worth" denoted mostly in United States dollars. Have you ever wondered what this means? Well this is what the person owns in monetary value i.e. their assets (what they own) less their liabilities (what they owe). Unfortunately if you Google yourself like me, chances are you will not see any net worth against your name. This is because the perception is you don't have much to your name so trying to count or estimate it is worthless. To put it bluntly, you are not worth enough to deserve checking. The key to improve your life is to actively invest in your net worth. Most people don't know how to increase their net worth; here are a few ways to do this.
Get Quality Education
For most people life is just about getting an education, so long they have a degree, they should be fine. Nothing could be further from the truth. Quality of education is determined by the forces of supply and demand. If you are doing a degree or diploma programme for which there are another many people, you are likely to face tough competition in the market. The supply of such a degree far exceeds the demand. So no matter which prestigious university you went to, you have a certificate which is degraded and puts you in a position of weakness when negotiating with potential employers. This is the first determinant of your net worth coming from school. You will accumulate income/wealth at a slower pace than those who have done scarcer degree programmes. However if your goal is to start out on your own the same degree can exponentially increase your net worth.
Continuously Seek Knowledge
It is not enough to have quality education; often it is the beginning of access to acquire wealth. Knowledge is what will move you to the next level. When you combine the degree with knowledge you qualify to be called an experienced person. However knowledge expires and needs to continually be refined and refreshed. The people who studied computer science in 1980 would be useless in 2016 without continued knowledge acquisition. Those who rest on their laurels present a danger to their net worth. Without knowledge acquisition you can be rendered obsolete in the world of skills. I have seen people who did some course then rose within an organisation to a senior or managerial position and never bothered to get more relevant knowledge. Then by some event left the job and has been unemployed ever since that time. Such people would have been left in the history and find a market asking a lot from them before they can be considered. In my life I have made it a goal to learn something new every year which can put me ahead of my peers.
|Count Your Worth|
Count it, Measure it
In life you need to have a balance sheet of yourself. There are many people who are going around looking great to the eye of the beholder yet are a moment away from complete ruin. Most people even professional do not measure their net worth. You need to sit down and write your assets e.g. money saved in fixed deposits, shares, bonds, furniture, jewellery, educational certificates and other personal items then on another page write your liabilities e.g. your vehicle remaining debt, bond balance, credit card balance, student loans. Next put a monetary value to eat item, add all the assets and subtract the liabilities. What remains is your net worth and for most people this will be a negative value which is not a crisis. However after a year there should be an improvement when you are doing things right or the negative will increase if you are doing worse off. People often think they have a good asset in a motor vehicle or a house. However always measure what you can sell the vehicle for today against what you owe the bank for financing. In most cases what you can sell it for is less than what you owe to the bank. The same applies to houses; people have the belief that property is a safe investment. But the hard truth is property values can come down quickly. A posh suburb will decrease in value if next to it an informal settlement is built. So it is possible to be paying a bond for a property that has halved in value in a short time.
Make a Decision About It
After you have measured your net worth; you have an idea of where you are. The person who is increasing their net worth can afford to relax because they are doing great. However if it is stagnant or decreasing then you know it’s a ticking time bomb, either you run away from it or try to diffuse it. In this case running away is not an option. Some people have changed their careers after seeing worrying figures on their net worth. Others sold their cars and started using public transport while some decided to indulge in some side income generating project. Whatever you do about your net worth, make sure it has a positive impact in the long run. I had a revision of my net worth position in 2014 and prayed to God for guidance. From then I wrote down what I want my net worth to be and realised the figure goes up to some millions of dollars. I then saw that working an 8-5 job would not get me to that destination. I did not loathe my job or quit it but I made up my mind to be at least 5 times more productive. This ensured I could finish my job assignments within 3 hours of my working day. The balance of the time I invested it in things that can increase my net worth e.g. I started learning how to code; I registered a business since it is the most feasible thing to grow my net worth to millions, cut down my sleep and leisure activities & I started writing product blue prints for internet and mobile applications. It’s been a while since I made a decision about it and so far I am happy with the input and output I am realising. I am on the verge of opening a consulting business to help those who want to be in business but are unable to connect all the dots.
So What Will You Do?
After reading this article, you might feel challenged, defeated or indifferent. But those who will pause, analyse and make a determination will come out better. There are smart people out there and from my own experience, the doors of successful people are always open to those who wish to follow in their footsteps. I have asked free time from some very influential people & they were happy to hear what I had to say and digest it. One such man was a former Head of South African Police Service IT division; he was a man who has been all over the world representing South Africa. After my presentation he was impressed and encouraged me to continue working. For me it was an endorsement that I was not just wishing upon some blue prints, I was wishing upon valuable things. He gave me the belief and boldness to knock on bigger doors and where I am now my dreams do not seem as crazy as they did in 2013. So choose to act while it is still today; it is never too late even at the age of 70 because my peers often tell me ah Runya you are still younger at 34, I am 42 and cannot do much. I quickly distance myself from such people because they are going nowhere, sitting in the park of life watching others move while they say “what will be, will be”. Choose to carry your cross and continue on the journey, don’t stop until you can Google yourself and Wikipedia says “so and so, Net Worth $X billions or millions because it is possible.