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Net Worth has Reached a New Record High in Nominal, Real, and per Capita Terms

“Today the Fed released its estimates of household net worth as of the end of December 2020. Net worth has reached a new record high in nominal, real, and per capita terms.


...the private sector of the US economy currently has a net worth (total assets minus liabilities) of more than $130 trillion. That's up $12 trillion from a year ago, for a growth rate of 10%. Financial assets have done the best, but noteworthy is the relatively small increased in household liabilities since just before the Great Recession: liabilities have gone from $14.5 trillion at the end of 2007 to only $17.1 trillion as of a few months ago, for a growth rate of only 1.3% per year. Real estate holdings, meanwhile, have gone from $25.8 trillion (that was just after the peak of the housing boom) to $35.8 trillion at the end of 2020, for a growth rate of only 2.6% per year.


…Sadly, total federal debt held by the public is now roughly equal to our annual GDP (roughly $22 trillion). This is the highest level of debt by far since just after WW II. But relative to our net worth as a country, it is only slightly higher than it has been for most of the past decade. This is not a picture of impending disaster, but I sure wish we weren't going to be borrowing another $4-5 trillion this year. 


...the private sector, fortunately, has been very prudent. ...private sector leverage: total household liabilities as a percent of total assets. Leverage today is as low as it has been since 1976, and it has declined by a huge 40% since the peak in early 2009."


(This is a very wealthy country dated 03/11/2021 by Scott Grannis, Chief Economist with Western Asset Management from 1979-2007 via


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