How Do You Calculate Your Net Worth? 3 Methods That Test Your Family Legacy

If you’ve ever had to deal with the Internal Revenue Service and they asked you how much your net worth was—we typically attempt to make everything appear to be worth as little as possible. We will apply minority and lack of marketability discounts, utilize low appraisals, apply book value etc. – attempting to minimize our worth. If on the other hand, it is our banker who is asking, we amazingly become worth considerably more as we attempt to paint the most optimistic, best-case scenario.

May I suggest that as Christian believers, we need to answer this question in a different way. If we want to most accurately calculate how much we are really worth, we need to utilize three entirely different types of “valuation methods”. In this post, I will cover those three methods.

1. Valuation Method #1: We need to value our Life Worth rather than our Net Worth?

In my book, The Caterpillar That Roared, I told the story of a caterpillar that had a goal to reach the top of the grapevine. He struggled and moved slowly each inch and climbed over many other caterpillars to get to the top. Then slowly he was able to pull himself up to, after all the months, see what was at the top. Do you know what he found? “Nothing. There was absolutely nothing there.” How tragic.

Jesus told us, “…a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions. (Luke 12:15, NIV). He adds in the parable of the sower, “…the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word…” (Mark 4:19, NIV). If you are valuing your net worth more than your life worth, you are indeed climbing up the wrong ladder.

So what is your life worth? “But God demonstrates His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8, NASB). This glorious truth makes us exceedingly valuable.

Using Valuation Method #1, what are you really worth?

2. Valuation Method #2: We need to value our Internal Acquisitions rather than our External Acquisitions.

Are we seeking to internally acquire the mind and heart of Christ? Is that of more value than all of the riches in the world? “…But as for you, O man of God, flee these things (external acquisitions). Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness” (internal acquisitions) (1 Timothy 6:11, ESV).

The story of the Emperor’s New Clothes demonstrates this principle. The Emperor is conned into thinking his new clothes are so fine that idiots and fools are unable to even see it. He convinces himself that he can see the new clothes and then parades down the street in his underwear. The very thing he was trying to avoid is the very thing he ended up proving—he was indeed a fool.

If we calculate our worth by our external value instead of our internal value, we too can become a fool in God’s eyes.

Using Valuation Method #2, what are you really worth?

3. Valuation Method #3: We need to value our Eternal Assets rather than our Temporal Assets?

How much would you be worth if you died today? When we calculate what we are worth, are we looking at what we have here and now or what we will have then and there for eternity? Eternity is a very, very long period of time compared to the short years we spend on this earth. Jesus says, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth…(temporal assets), but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven…” (eternal assets) (Matthew 6:19-20, NASB)

God’s valuation methods are true and accurate and by utilizing them as our standard measure of worth, we can be sure that in God’s economy, we can be indeed rich in both this life and the next, regardless of what our current balance sheet may show. Isn’t that the Family Legacy that matters?

Using Valuation Method #3, what are you really worth?

What methods do you want your children and grandchildren to measure with? How can you set an example today that will stick with them long after you are gone?


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joe-sturnioloBy Joe Sturniolo
Christian Family Legacy and Wealth Planning
Joe believes that stronger families are the vehicle God uses to bring
about significant impact for His Kingdom.

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