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Learning Exercise

Material: Basic Financial Statements
Submitted by: Michele Fritz on Apr 29, 2004
Date Last Modified: Apr 29, 2004
Title: Calculating Your Own Net Worth
Description: This simple exercise allows students who have been exposed to financial terms to gain a deeper understanding by applying those to their own financial situation
Type of Task: Individual, Student-centered, Unsupervised
Time Required 15-45 minutes + time to review tutorial or text
Topics: Overview of Financial Statements; Introduction to Accounting; Balance Sheet.
Course: Introduction to Business; Financial Accounting
Audience: College Lower Division
Prerequisites Skills: Students will need to review the Basic Financial Statements learning object. If you have a textbook which reviews the fundamental accounting statements, such as the Balance Sheet and Income Statement, that would be best.
Learning Objectives: * Comprehension of the various accounts on the balance sheet.
* Deeper understanding of the fundamental accounting equation Assets = Liabilities + Owners Equity.
Technical Notes: Only relevant technical notes are those required to review the tutorial.
Text of Learning Exercise:

Now that you have learned about the balance sheet, you are going to prepare one for your personal financial situation. The major difference between a balance sheet for a firm and that for an individual is that we refer to the residual value, the equity, as "net worth". Net worth is a true measure of wealth that individuals build up over their lives. (Be forewarned, though, that most college students have a negative net worth!)

Take your time to walk through each line item on the balance sheet, and think about whether that line item is applicable for you. Remember, when we are discussing assets, we are thinking about things (of significant value) that you own. When we discuss liabilities, we are thinking about bills and debts that you owe at this point in time.

When calculating the net worth (or equity) part of the balance sheet, just use the fundamental accounting equation: Assets = Liabilities + Equity. Are you surprised with the results?

Bring your personal balance sheet to class for our discussion. Don't worry, you won't have to reveal any secrets about your financial situation.

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