Different types of financial assets

Understanding Financial Assets

Types of financial assets

Whether you’re trying to figure out what you have on hand for a personal "rainy day" fund or to calculate your net worth, you’ll want to count your assets.

What’s an asset?

An asset is anything you own that adds financial value, as opposed to a liability, which is money you owe.

Examples of personal assets include:

How to calculate your net worth with assets

If you’re calculating your net worth, you should tally your assets first. Include any money you have in the bank as well as the value of your investments. Include your property value and the worth of your car if you were to sell it, along with any monthly payments you might receive from a pension or retirement plan.

Then subtract your liabilities, which are debts you owe. That includes the remaining mortgage on your house and the balances on credit cards or student and car loans. 

The amount left is your net worth.

A business can have assets, too, that might include loans made, stock, cash on hand and cash in the bank, as well as accounts receivable. The business’s other assets might include real estate, office property, vehicles, inventory and even books of business (the client base). 

Financial assets

Many people rely on stocks, bonds and mutual funds for savings and investments. Financial assets are considered liquid, as people can typically sell them easily. But they can also lose value over time, such as during a decline in a company’s share price.

Some consider real estate a type of financial asset, but it’s also considered a physical asset. Physical assets are tangible objects, such as property, art or valuable heirlooms, that require upkeep to maintain or increase in value. But like stocks and other financial products, they can also lose value according to the demands in their markets. 

Real estate can provide a nice nest egg and current or future income, but the real estate owner must also pay property taxes and sometimes management fees, maintenance costs and a mortgage. You may owe taxes on gains each year and when you sell. Also, if a rental property sits empty, it doesn’t generate income. 

Types of asset accounts

Asset accounts are held by a bank or investment company. They allow you to deposit and withdraw, depending on the asset’s rules. Here are some of the types of asset accounts:

Increasing your assets can help ensure that you have a secure financial future. It can also give you a cushion if your family faces a crisis or needs money for an unexpected expense.

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