If you aren’t familiar with Google Trends, I recommend checking it out. This useful tool measures how frequently a term is searched for in Google. Another feature lets you compare search terms to one another and analyze their relative popularity over time. This reminds me of point and figure relative strength charts, but I digress.
Jimmy Atkinson of Poseidon Financial recently shared some pretty disappointing financial search trends. He compared search interest in terms like “household budget” and “home equity loan”, “savings plan” and “payday loans”, and “529 plans” and “buy gold”. Below you can see the chart for “529 plans” and “buy gold”:
More people are interested in buying gold than saving for their child’s college education. I’m not shocked to see this kind of data, but it’s disappointing none the less. Several other comparisons that Jimmy did are just as discouraging.
What drives trends like this to exist? I think many people have the wrong idea about investing when they get started. This can lead to poor decision making. For most investors, the market is a place to seek out long term growth. It’s not some get rich quick scheme that will have you diving into piles of money like Scrooge McDuck next month. Coming up with a sound investment plan and sticking to it sounds boring, but it tends to work out best in the long run.