Net worth is not just for the one-percent crowd. Everyone has a net worth - even if it happens to be negative. Knowing your net worth, some experts say, is the first step toward raising it.

Many sites offer net-worth calculators, and one of the best of these online tools - at a variety of sites, including AARP.org and Bankrate.com - is published by DinkyTown.net. DinkyTown's catalog of calculators covers auto loans, taxes, mortgages, and dozens of other topics to inform your financial decisions. The calculator for net worth not only sorts through the value of everything you own and owe, but tells you what those numbers indicate you'll be worth over the next decade. Whether the results please or frighten you, you're likely better off knowing so you can begin some serious growth planning.

A Bankrate.com post by reporter Shelly K. Schwartz suggests ways to augment your current income with relatively low initial costs. The entrepreneurial list mainly focuses on mining skills you already have or that you could acquire without extraordinary fuss or expense. If you speak a second language, for example, offer a class at the local library. If you have or can get a commercial driver's license, transport vehicles on weekends. Rent out a room in your house. With a bigger investment, open a franchised business, or buy rental properties. http://goo.gl/Q5IB6Z

"Some guidance and a little willpower" are what you need to start boosting your net worth, according to this post at Investopedia.com. That sounds a bit on the oversimplistic side, but the tips listed in the post could give you a head start on such a project. On the guidance issue, it strongly suggests paying to consult an accountant or financial adviser to help take stock of your finances. "Talking to a professional can get you the latest information on how to utilize tax breaks or they can assist you in your budgeting. Never be ashamed to ask for help, and use the resources that are available," it says.

"Are you moving the net-worth needle?" asks this article by Allison Kade at Forbes.com. You do it, she writes, by adding income, growing investments, or reducing debt. "Admittedly, having a negative net worth can feel disheartening because it may seem like it's going to take forever to get to a positive number," Kade says, but even if your net worth is negative, knowing that it is can "serve as an incentive to pay down debt and save for retirement, among other financial goals." She quotes personal finance expert and author Peter Dunn, adding, "If I see that I made $10,000 of progress this year, despite the fact that my net worth might still be negative, that can be a real momentum-builder."

rkanaley@phillynews.com

215-854-5114 @ReidKan