More than 40 years ago, the JSE introduced the Youth Investment Challenge, an initiative that opened the world of investment to the country’s youth in high schools and universities as a means to demystify investments as well as equip young people with tools that will help them become financially literate.
“Over the years, we have seen young people from humble backgrounds do amazing things, and to some degree, they believed that the investment challenge played a key role in their changing their financial future,” says Ralph Speirs from the JSE.
Proud Sola, the firstborn of a family of nine, says the investment challenge has exposed him to new frontiers that he has hung-on to ever since he first overhead his friends talk about futures and warrants (derivative financial instruments whose value is derived from other underlying assets).
Sola says: “My friends are forex traders and they are the ones who introduced me to the world of trading. However, they went beyond explaining forex trading and further told me about all these other financial investment vehicles.”
Sola is an accounting graduate with a post-graduate diploma in tax and is currently in his second year working towards an LLB degree through Unisa.
“I plan to immerse myself into the world of trading financial instruments so much so that if I find myself doing well enough, I will quit what I am doing instantly and focus all my energies on trading,” says Sola.
Sola was surprised that he went through an accountancy degree, one of the premier business qualifications in higher education institutions-and during the duration of his course, he was not exposed to trading and investment through the stock exchange.
“In a way, it validates the need for the JSE investment challenge to continue,” says Sola.
He believes in financial independence and his message to the youth would be to not only focus on their careers but also to find ways to make sure that the money they earn, works for them as well by becoming familiar with available legitimate investment options.
“I am a different person today. Thanks to this programme, I look at money differently,” says Sola. He continues: “I feel the knowledge I have gained about financial markets has also turned me into a kind of influencer in my social circles. Every day I find myself as the source of information to those around me about what is happening in the local financial and business world,” says Sola.
“As soon as I save enough money to start trading in my personal capacity and in the real-world markets, I intend to unleash myself into the world of financial markets and trading,” says Sola.
The 32-year-old says the journey to becoming financially independent will be harder for him than most.
“As the firstborn in a family of seven children, with our parents unemployed the expectation is for me to provide financial assistance to those who come after me,” says Sola. “However, I am not in the least bit discouraged. I have the determination and the intellect to turn trading into a very fulfilling and exciting career,” says Sola.
Speirs says it warms his heart to know that the investment challenge has been able to touch, challenge, and motivate young men like Sola.
“We feel encouraged to continue with the Investment Challenge because of people like Sola because it says our work does have a real-life impact,” concludes Speirs.
ABOUT THE JSE
The Johannesburg Stock Exchange is based in South Africa where it has operated as a marketplace for the trading of financial products for 130 years. It connects buyers and sellers in equity, derivative and debt markets. The JSE is one of the top 20 exchanges in the world in terms of market capitalisation and is a member of the World Federation of Exchanges (WFE) and holds the chairmanship of the Association of Futures Markets (AFM). The JSE offers a fully electronic, efficient, secure market with world class regulation, trading and clearing systems, settlement assurance and risk management.
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