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Your net worth provides a big-picture snapshot of your overall financial health, and tracking it can help you understand how financially stable you really are.
While there are certainly individual circumstances to consider (family inheritances, race or ethnicity, housing status, educational background), where you live can also have an impact on your net worth.
Your geographic location plays a part in things like the value of your house, while your state's cost of living, median wage and taxes impact how much you can afford to save and invest — all factors that contribute to your net worth number.
Investing and budgeting app Empower (formerly Personal Capital) aggregated net worth data from its 2.8 million users who had connected retirement accounts, and it found that there are vast differences in median net worth from state to state. While the five states with the highest net worth aren't all concentrated in the same region of the U.S, we noticed that most of the states with the lowest net worth fell in the Southeast.
For the purposes of this article, we looked at Empower's data of users' median net worth rather than their average. A spokesperson with Empower tells us that the app's dashboard users vary from low to high net worth. Since the very high net worth users can skew the averages, the median is more representative of everyday Americans.
Below, Select looks at the five states with the highest and lowest net worth from Empower's user data.
Here are the top fives states, according to Empower's May 2021 data:
- Washington: median net worth of $209,847
- Alaska: $159,098
- Minnesota: $149,803
- Colorado: $146,769
- Virginia: $144,660
Of these five states, two (Alaska and Virginia) ranked as having the highest average retirement savings in data collected by Empower. Since retirement accounts count as an asset that you own, they are included in calculating your net worth. A higher retirement balance can help you have a higher net worth.
Here are the bottom fives states, according to Empower's latest May 2021 data.
- Arkansas: median net worth of $36,309
- North Dakota: $30,523
- Louisiana: $29,289
- West Virginia: $24,719
- Mississippi: $17,337
Of these five states, two (North Dakota and Mississippi) ranked as having the lowest average retirement savings, according to data from Empower. Though retirement accounts are just one of many factors in your net worth calculation, they play a crucial role in ensuring your financial stability in the long term.
Make sure you are setting aside money for your retirement fund by contributing to your employer's 401(k) plan if offered, or by setting up an IRA account. To make it easy, we already did the work for you of narrowing down the best IRA options. The good news? You don't have to be an expert investor to participate.
Robo-advisor Betterment makes it easy to be hands off with your investments. The Betterment IRA allows users to open an account with no minimum deposit. Betterment will create a custom portfolio based on your needs, taking into account your financial goals, timeline and risk tolerance. Users can assign specific short- and long-term investing goals to each portfolio and invest using different strategies.
Minimum deposit and balance
Minimum deposit and balance requirements may vary depending on the investment vehicle selected. For example, Betterment doesn't require clients to maintain a minimum investment account balance, but there is a ACH deposit minimum of $10. Premium Investing requires a $100,000 minimum balance.
Fees may vary depending on the investment vehicle selected, account balances, etc. Click here for details.
Stocks, bonds, ETFs and cash
Betterment offers retirement and other education materials
Terms apply. Does not apply to crypto asset portfolios.
Calculating your net worth is easy: simply add up your assets, which is what you own, and subtract from it your liabilities, or what you owe.
Examples of assets include any cash you have in bank accounts, retirement accounts, your investments, your home, vehicles and even valuable jewelry or artwork. Liabilities include your debt on credit cards, a car, student loans and your mortgage.
You can use free online resources like Empower's net worth calculator to get a quick estimate of where you stand. Empower also offers a secure net worth tool at no cost so you can track your net worth in real time. Users will be asked to link their bank accounts, investments and retirement accounts.
And if you want to keep an eye on your finances and net worth all in one place, you may want to consider signing up for the app. Users of Empower rave about its dashboard interface and other helpful tools, like a free retirement planner. Here is Select's full review on Empower.
App is free, but users have option to add investment management services for 0.89% of their money (for accounts under $1 million)
A budgeting app and investment tool that tracks both your spending and your wealth
Categorizes your expenses
Yes, but users can modify
Links to accounts
Yes, bank and credit cards, as well as IRAs, 401(k)s, mortgages and loans
Offered in both the App Store (for iOS) and on Google Play (for Android)
Data encryption, fraud protection and strong user authentication