We Google, we Tweet, we LinkIn, we “friend” each other, and we log on to the Internet at ever-increasing rates.
Findings from the Pew Internet and American Life Project have shown that our current economic woes have carried over into our online activities: In the past year, among American Internet users, 72% of men and 67% of women went online seeking news or advice about coping with the recession. People are conversing through online channels as well: 23% of the U.S. adult population have discussed the recession online.
I’m not sure this has been the greatest thing, though. After all, it’s made some people feel worse. According to the Pew study, of the 69% of Americans who sought economic information online, many changed their views based on what they found:
• 39% became more worried about bank stability.
• 37% felt more worried about the nation’s economic future.
• 36% were more worried about their family’s future.
One bright note: 17% felt more confident in their ability to make personal financial decisions.
For the general public, traditional media (remember TV, radio, and good old-fashioned print?) are still the most important sources for personal financial information. But among the 79% of the population who are Internet users, the Internet is just as important as traditional media when it comes to gathering that information. For those with high-speed broadband Web access, the Internet was the first choice.
I’d say Vanguard is pretty much a “virtual” company. We don’t have branch offices in every city across the nation, but we do have a very strong Web presence. We know that the Internet matters to our shareholders, because an average of 12.5 million investors log on to Vanguard.com each month. In fact, two-thirds of all our transactions are completed online.
So I’m curious: Have you turned increasingly to the Internet for financial information, or do you use a variety of traditional and online sources? Post a comment and let me know if you think some sources are better than others.
Note: The link to Pewinternet.org will open a new browser window. Vanguard accepts no responsibility for content on third-party websites.