You’ve likely seen comments on our site recently from the “Financial Samurai”, and wondered, “Is that spam?” It’s okay. We wondered the same thing, and we’ve dug a little deeper and found him to be legit. We were tipped off to one of his posts that uses Zillow to back up his claim that “Net Worth Is Rubbish. We’re not so concerned with the look into net worth, rather than the fact that ” in a span of 3 months, [his] primary [San Francisco] residence gained a whopping $300,000!” Gotta love those Zillow Zestimates.
These values mean NOTHING. Zillow or an appraiser can say a property is worth whatever they want, but unless they’re willing to write you a check, don’t bank on it. Yes, I admit I feel a little bit more buoyant now that the stock markets are on fire, and the property market has rebounded a little bit. However, until I have no mortgage on my rental property [both properties of which are in San Francisco], I don’t include this as an asset even though it generates positive cash flow.
Strike your private equity, rental property, furniture, and bunny rabbit from your net worth calculation. Your illiquid assets are only worth as much as someone will pay for them. Even though we are out of the recession (Tim Geithner told me), and are back to the go go days (hard to get restaurant reservations on the fly anymore), don’t trust for a second your assets are worth as much as some appraiser or website says. Write your assets off, and revisit them once you’ve liquidated.
–Financial Samurai [website]