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Our nation has a historic, never-before-seen level of debt and a historic failure to save. Along with debt and savings, one also has to consider assets. After all, does it really matter if you have no savings and a million dollars of debt, if you have assets worth 10 million?

An asset is an item of ownership that is convertible into cash. Assets comprise the total resources of a person or business, including such things as cash, notes, accounts receivable, securities, inventories, goodwill, fixtures, machinery, and/or real estate.

Debts are fixed, while assets are variable. When you take on a debt, there it placidly sits, growing larger until you make payments on it. Assets, on the other hand, are variable, sometimes gaining and sometimes losing value.