The Balance’s Top Articles of 2020

Worried young woman working on laptop at home
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Awful, terrible, unprecedented, cursed—all words that have been used to describe the year that ends today. It certainly was an unusual one, and everyone felt it in their finances. In 2020, we saw massive unemployment, the first stimulus checks in more than a decade, negative oil prices, and a huge stock market crash. 

The year’s events also brought on the lowest-ever mortgage rates and a wave of interest in investing. No one wanted to miss out on the market recovery, and sure enough, the second half of the year saw record stock market gains.

We saw these events and trends reflected in articles our readers flocked to throughout the year. To identify our top trending articles, we looked at pieces published prior to 2019 that received more traffic than usual in 2020. Here are the articles that saw the biggest increases in readership this year:

  1. Stimulus Checks: 2020 Compared to 2009 and 2008 
  2. 2020 and 2021 Roth IRA Rules—Everything You Need to Know
  3. Major Oil ETFs and ETNs
  4. Investing in Crude Oil ETFs
  5. Investing in Gaming, Gambling, and Entertainment ETFs
  6. Unemployment Compensation Benefits and Income Taxes
  7. Unemployment Benefit Extensions
  8. Moving? How to Tell the IRS About a Change of Address
  9. How to Handle Stock Market Corrections
  10. How Much Money Do You Need to Retire?

And these articles were the most popular overall:

  1. Stimulus Checks: 2020 Compared to 2009 and 2008
  2. U.S. Debt by President: By Dollar and Percentage
  3. Unemployment Rate by Year Since 1929 Compared to Inflation and GDP
  4. Federal Income Tax Deadlines
  5. How to Check Your Bank Balance Online
  6. Who Owns the U.S. National Debt? How Much Is Owed?
  7. How to Write a Check: A Step-by-Step Guide
  8. Universal Health Care in Different Countries, Pros and Cons of Each
  9. U.S. Budget Deficit by Year Compared to GDP, Debt Increase, and Events
  10. U.S. Economy Collapse: What Would Happen?

We also looked at the most popular articles published this year:

  1. 2020 Stock Market Crash: Facts, Causes, Effects
  2. What's in the 2020 Coronavirus Relief Law (CARES Act)?
  3. Who Is Ineligible for Stimulus Checks?
  4. GDP Growth by President: Highs, Lows, and Averages
  5. The CARES Act and Coronavirus Student Loan Relief
  6. Do Credit Cards Cover Coronavirus Travel Cancellations?
  7. IRS Extended Tax Filing Deadline for 2019 Returns
  8. How to Get Cash From a Credit Card Without a Cash Advance
  9. FY 2020 Federal Budget: Summary of Revenue and Spending
  10. Venmo vs. PayPal: Which One Should You Use?

You can certainly see the themes of “awful, terrible, unprecedented, and cursed” in the headlines above. The economic uncertainty, unemployment, and financial relief measures stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic understandably drove reader interest, and that will likely continue into 2021. But if 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that you can only anticipate so much.