The young cash in

Virgin website teaches teenagers to manage money.
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Indy Lifestyle Online
Virgin Direct, with the help of Studio Soup and Great Yarmouth High School, have launched a website, which by September next year may be an additional feature to the National Curriculum.

The site is called Young Money. Designed by, and for, youngsters aged 14 to 16, aimed at showing them how to manage their future finances as they approach adulthood.

The Young Money programme is a 20-question quiz on general knowledge and financial issues. The contestant starts at the age of 15 (Question 1) and travels through a journey of life until they reach retirement at 65 (Question 20). Examples of the questions are to be found below. But however hard the quiz gets at times, there is always help at hand. A financial toolbox gives detailed explanations of different terms they may not understand - for example, what is a pension?

The aim of the game is to earn as many points by answering each question correctly. With these points they can buy a house, a car or even put your points into an ISA.

But if they allow life to become a struggle, not having fun, travelling abroad or becoming stressed, they lose points.

Once they have completed the game scores are submitted to the scoretable, and at the end of the month whoever is in the top 10 wins a prize, ranging from a book to a computer game. If the prospect of winning a prize is not enough to keep them hooked, then the choice of characters and the various types of music could maintain their attention.

The game is to not only teach children the importance of handling their money and making the right decisions, but to show them they should enjoy spending as well.

Gordon Maw, marketing manager of Virgin Direct, said youngsters in that age range particularly are keen to learn about personal finance.

These days after they leave school, they expect to own a car and a flat but find little guidance from financial services on how to achieve these goals.

Virgin Direct executives feel Young Money is a form of holding their hands and assisting them with the things they need to know. They also feel this type of site is long overdue.

The project has been approved by the Government and the FSA. Melanie Johnson, Economic Secretary to the Treasury, said at the launch: "The Government announced last week how financial literacy will be included in the school curriculum for the first time. This is a great step forward in the classroom.

"Schemes such as Young Money can help young people learn in their own time, outside the classroom, using the Internet to look for information as and when they need it. This exciting new project will help take some of the worry out of money management."