What the Most Googled Personal Finance Terms of 2023 Say About Our Money Worries

Google's top personal finance searches of 2023 show how we're currently navigating the financial landscape.
Updated June 6, 2024
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As we bid farewell to another year, it's time to reflect on the trends that shaped our lives, including the financial landscape that often dictates our choices and aspirations. Google's release of the top search terms for 2023 provides a fascinating glimpse into the concerns and priorities of people worldwide. Among the myriad of searches, several personal finance terms have been used worldwide, each offering a unique insight into the economic pulse of the year.

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1. "W9 form": Unraveling the tax code

Topping the list is the enigmatic W9 form, a document that has become synonymous with the complex relationship between individuals and the taxman. As we delve into the realm of tax obligations, it's no surprise that people are eager to understand the ins and outs of the W9 form. 

When you begin employment, W9 forms are typically provided to verify your tax ID, social security, and identity. Your place of employment verifies your employment with the IRS, which then begins collecting taxes based on your salary. Perhaps the looming tax season prompts a surge in searches as manuals strive to unravel the tax code, ensuring compliance and minimizing financial stress.

2. "High-yield savings account": Navigating low interest rates

After an era of historically low-interest rates, the investors’ quest for yield has become paramount this year as interest rates soared. The prominence of searches for high-yield savings accounts suggests a widespread desire to make money work harder. 

With traditional savings accounts offering minimal returns, individuals are exploring alternative avenues to grow their money. Exploring the risks and benefits of high-yield savings accounts becomes crucial in pursuing financial optimization.

3. "CD rates": Seeking stability in uncertain times

Certificates of Deposit (CDs) appear on the list, reflecting a timeless pursuit of stability in uncertain economic climates. As individuals strive to safeguard their financial futures, the attraction of fixed, predictable returns offered by CDs becomes evident. 

2023 was marked by market volatility, uncertainty surrounding the moves by the Federal Reserve, and sustained economic headwinds in the post-COVID aftermath. As such, it is no surprise that people increasingly sought to learn more about CDs, a safe haven in market uncertainty.

4. "Car insurance": Protecting drivers

Car insurance consistently ranks high in personal finance searches, underscoring the perpetual need to protect one's assets on the road. The evolving landscape of the automotive industry, coupled with changing insurance regulations, may contribute to the sustained interest in this financial safety net. Exploring the nuances of car insurance, including coverage options and cost-saving strategies, becomes imperative for individuals keen on safeguarding their drive.

5. "401k": Building a nest egg for the future

The 401k, a cornerstone of retirement planning, maintains its relevance in the financial discourse. As individuals prioritize long-term financial security, understanding the intricacies of 401k plans becomes paramount. Whether it's optimizing contributions, diversifying investments, or navigating employer matching programs, the 401k remains a key player in building a robust nest egg for the future.

6. "Mortgage calculator": Decoding homeownership

Few markets have had the ride the mortgage market has experienced over the past three years. As 2023 also had its share of ups and downs for mortgage rates, the mortgage calculator emerged as a tool for empowerment. 

Aspiring homeowners and seasoned investors alike turn to this resource to decode the financial implications of homeownership. With fluctuating interest rates and dynamic housing markets, utilizing a mortgage calculator can be the difference between a sound investment and a financial quagmire.

Rating the trends: A mosaic of financial priorities

Each personal finance term's distinct challenges and aspirations underscore its importance. While the W9 form and tax-related searches signal a commitment to financial responsibility, the interest in high-yield savings accounts and CD rates reflects a nuanced approach to wealth accumulation in uncertain and often volatile markets.

Car insurance queries speak to the practicality of protecting one's assets, and the enduring popularity of the 401k emphasizes the quest for long-term financial security. Finally, the prevalence of mortgage calculator searches highlights the ongoing dream of homeownership and the need for informed financial decision-making in the real estate arena. Especially after 2023, the rise in searches for mortgage calculators underscores the greater housing market activity.

Bottom line

Google's top personal finance searches of 2023 paint a mosaic of financial priorities, challenges, and aspirations. Staying informed and making strategic choices become crucial elements in achieving financial well-being. So, whether you're deciphering tax forms or contemplating the intricacies of a mortgage, the journey toward financial empowerment is a collective pursuit that defines our financial narrative in 2023 and informs the year ahead.

Author Details

Georgina Tzanetos Georgina Tzanetos is a former financial advisor who has been active in financial media for the past six years. She holds a master's in political economy from NYU, where she studied distressed labor markets.