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Car values.

I ENJOYED YOUR SEPTEMBER 2003 ARTICLE "Budgeting For A Future." However, I was disappointed to see that DeShawn James' net worth of $91,565 was overstated. James' assets included a 1998 El Dorado at $15,000 and a 1998 Ford Contour at $8,000. According to Kelley's Blue Book (, the El Dorado is valued at approximately $10,000 and the Ford Contour is valued at approximately $2,400 (assuming 80,000 miles and "good" condition).

As a certified public accountant, I appreciate the value of net worth, which is the excess of the "fair market value" of one's assets minus all liabilities. With this in mind, the vehicle values are not realistic because James' would not be able to get $23,000 from selling them or trading them in. As a result, James' net worth is overstated by approximately $10,600 (excess of the inflated values over those according to Kelley's Blue Book). This adjustment would bring her revised net worth to approximately $81,000 (from approximately $91,600).

Respectfully, I would suggest that you use Kelley's Blue Book or some other authoritative source for gathering information on vehicle fair market value, especially since vehicles are highly depreciable assets.

Gresford Gray

Ashburn, VA

Editor's Note: Both Kelley's Blue Book and are widely used sources of car valuation information. While we usually use one or both of these resources, in this case, we failed to do a reality check against the valuations provided by James. Obviously, we'll be more careful going forward.
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Title Annotation:Letters
Author:Gray, Gresford
Publication:Black Enterprise
Article Type:Letter to the Editor
Date:Dec 1, 2003
Previous Article:Well spoken.
Next Article:It's about time.

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