Do you have a negative wealth?

“According to the New York Federal Reserve, 14% of the U.S. population lives in households that have ‘negative' wealth."Do you have a negative wealth?

In plain terms, these are households who owe more money than they have the ability to pay, which means they don’t just have zero net worth, they are upside down.

But what does a negative wealth household look like?

VisualCapitalists, a firm that provides graphic illustration on financial topics, compares the data on negative wealth households with the data on their positive counterparts. There are some obvious and stark contrasts.

“Households that are deep in the red have the majority of their wealth in the family car – automobiles make up 45% of the value of their total assets - while housing makes up 20% of their assets by value.

For positive wealth households, it is the reverse: 40% of wealth is in the home, and 15% in vehicles.”

There is an obvious challenge here. Houses have the ability to appreciate in value while cars typically only depreciate.

Another key point: the composition of debt is also very telling. Negative wealth households have a whopping 47% of debt in student loans, while positive houses have just 6%.

What can we learn from this data?  It is better to put money in a house than a car and it is better not to use debt for a college education.  High car payments and high student loan debt are not helpful to your financial well being.

My advice is to seek to sell a car to eliminate any automobile debt and work off student loan debt as rapidly as possible.  Always avoid debt and you are much more likely to have a positive net worth.

We’ve got lots of resources available at to help you with your financial challenges. And if you need extra help tackling overwhelming credit card debt, our partners at Christian Credit Counselors are experts at developing debt management plans. Get started today by visiting

Chuck Bentley

Chuck BentleyFor over a decade, Chuck has traveled the world teaching biblical financial principles to the affluent, middle class, poor and ultra poor. As host of the daily national radio broadcast, My MoneyLife™, Chuck connects with all generations and inspires his audience with a strong scriptural emphasis.
Following in the footsteps of Crown’s cofounders, Howard Dayton and the late Larry Burkett, Chuck has assumed the mantle of a strategic organization, founded in 1976, that now reaches around the world with staff on every continent, a media presence throughout North and South America, and books and materials serving the spiritual and financial needs of all people, regardless of their economic condition. Crown’s outreach impacts individuals, families, churches, and businesses through the joyful, liberating biblical truth of making and managing money so that God’s purposes for one’s life can be fulfilled.
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