Research has shown that poor financial planning habits are at the root of ineffective money management. The Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) is bridging the gap between financial literacy and financial independence by targeting the youth who are the future of South Africa’s economy with the Investment Challenge.

The Investment Challenge is a game designed to introduce young people to the exciting world of investing on the stock exchange. While this may seem like a daunting task, there’s guidance on how to master the game. Ultimately, it’s the risk takers who’ll become successful. A member of one of last year’s winning teams, Wesley Bohata from the University of KwaZulu-Natal says: “The game only runs for six months so you have to be brave and make smart choices. One wrong move can set you back a lot in a short space of time.”

The Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) - Fostering financial literacy amongst the youth of SA

The Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) - Fostering financial literacy amongst the youth of SA
 
The game comprises two sections: the Schools Challenge and the University Challenge. Participants compete in teams of four and each team is allocated an imaginary sum of R1 million which can be used to trade JSE-listed shares. This virtual arena allows competitors to trade in a risk-free environment.
 
“The JSE is trying to get as many people financially literate and one of the ways we can do that is to use our game to get people to understand how to start investing at an early age,” comments Ralph Speirs, CSI Officer in the Issuer and Investor Relations division. “Not only are we encouraging them to play the game but they’ll hopefully start investing in the JSE while they’re still at school and in tertiary. Our ultimate objective is to get them to understand how the stock market works.”
 
This year, the JSE Investment Challenge team is promoting the importance of mentorship, especially for the schools that don’t have access to resources. The team is travelling and forming partnerships with universities to encourage tertiary student to share their knowledge about the game through mentorship programmes. “Hellenmore Gosa, a student at Forte Hare University has been mentoring scholars for a number of years in the remote areas of Eastern Cape i.e. Alice, Mdantsane and Duncan Village and other outline areas in the province,” says Speirs
 
The teams can choose to trade in the portfolio of their choice; ranging from Income and Equity Growth to a Speculator Portfolio. Here their performance is tracked and measured
 
Forty eight tertiary institutions and over 200 high schools have already entered this year’s tournament, which runs from March to September. Annual winners in the School and University challenge will be announced at an awards ceremony, which will be held at the JSE in October 2015.
 
Find out more about the JSE Investment Challenge:  
 
Schools Challenge - schools.jse.co.za
University Challenge - university.jse.co.za