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The nation’s most-searched money questions

Written by: Emma Lunn
ETX Capital used Google search data to reveal the most frequently searched questions relating to savings and investment categories in 2020.

Google Keyword Planner data was used to reveal the average monthly search volume (AMSV) for all ‘what’ and ‘how’ queries related to common saving and investment types.

These included stocks, shares, bonds, funds, commodities, property and real estate, cryptocurrencies, savings accounts, and retirement and pension savings vehicles, in 2020.

Here are the UK’s biggest money questions – and answers.

Which shares should I buy?

This question typically had 49,500 monthly searches, while “how do I buy shares?” had 9,900 searches each month on average.

Annie Charalambous, content manager at ETX Capital, said: “The shares you choose to invest in will depend on various factors, including the level of risk you’re willing to take, the overall market climate, and much more. Before you do buy (or short) any shares, you’ll want to do your homework on both the company and the industry at large.

“There are always opportunities in the market to suit every budget and experience level, but much like picking the winning lottery numbers, there is no winning formula for what to invest in, or when.”

Which companies are in the FTSE100?

This question had 40,500 monthly searches.

The FTSE100 is made up of the 100 largest companies (by market cap – available shares multiplied by current share price) listed on the London Stock Exchange. To qualify, a company must meet requirements set out by the FTSE Group.

Charalambous said: “The index acts as a major indicator of the UK stock market at large. Its three largest constituents are Unilever, AstraZeneca, and HSBC.”

What is an ISA?

This query typically had 12,100 monthly searches.

An ISA, or Individual Savings Account, is a savings account available to anyone in the UK over 16, with returns or interest paid tax-free. For the tax year 2020-21, you can save up to £20,000 in an ISA.

“There are two kinds of ISAs: a ‘cash ISA’, whereby you pay into it like you would a traditional savings account to earn interest, and a ‘shares ISA’, where your money is invested in stocks and bonds and neither the interest – nor any profit – is taxed,” explains Charalambous, “While the latter has more potential for greater returns, being tied to the stock market also means a greater risk of losing money.”

What are bonds?

This question had 8,100 monthly searches.

A bond represents a loan, typically given to a body like a government or large company, by an investor. Governments may opt to issue bonds to raise money, and then agree to buy these bonds back at a later (agreed-upon) ‘maturity’ date.

Bonds are considered a low-risk investment and can be a good way to diversify your portfolio with minimal exposure.

Fixed rate bonds offered by savings providers are different. These savings account offer a fixed rate of interest for a set period of time, typically one to five years, on the condition that you don’t withdraw your cash in this time.

What is an ETF?

This question had 6,600 monthly searches.

Charalambous said: “ETFs, or ‘exchange-traded funds’, are an asset type similar to index funds, in that they comprise of different stocks – usually representative of a particular sector – and are typically managed by larger companies (Vanguard, iShares, etc.). However, index funds are connected to exchanges and correlate more with that country’s economy and stock market.”

What is a hedge fund?

This query had an average of 5,400 monthly searches last year.

A hedge fund is an aggregated pool of money from different investors that is managed by an institution or individual. The hedge fund manager closely monitors the investment and is able to react and adjust accordingly, as per their strategy.

What is pension drawdown?

This pensions question had 5,400 monthly searches on average.

Pension drawdown occurs when you continue to invest into a pension whilst simultaneously withdrawing money from it, essentially giving yourself a steady ‘income’ out of your own pension pot.

What are dividends?

This stock market question typically had 4,400 monthly searches

Dividends are a portion of a company’s profits that are distributed among its shareholders.

“For example, if you buy 10 shares in ABC Manufacturing and they pay an annual dividend of £5 per share, you’ll be eligible for £50 back in your pocket that year – if you’re still holding those shares at the ex-dividend date,” explains Charalambous.

What is cryptocurrency?

This question had 4,400 monthly searches.

Cryptocurrencies are digital-only currencies held on the blockchain. Unlike regular ‘cash’ currencies, cryptocurrencies aren’t tied to any central bank and are therefore unregulated, volatile, and considered a high-risk investment.

Charalambous said: “Those are coincidentally the same reasons for the relatively mass adoption over recent years – as more institutions accept and even integrate the likes of Bitcoin, XRP, Ethereum, and countless others, these assets risk becoming a part of the very world they were created to challenge.”

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