Excited press release arrives in inbox.
Tens of thousands of teenagers set to invest in shares it says.
This, I feel instantly, is Not True. First, teenagers don’t care about shares. They care about who they might have sex with next, and whether they’ll be hot, and where it’ll be.
Second, teenagers don’t have the money to invest in shares.
Third, teenagers who might be interested in shares and know enough about them to do things with them will have noticed that the stock markets are impossible to pick at the moment. Up! Down! Sideways! Up and then down!
So let’s continue reading.
Financial education charity, the ifs School of Finance, today confirmed that record numbers of 14-19 year olds will take part in the 2008-9 ifs Student Investor competition.
Well (leaving aside the Unnecessary Comma of Evil) that seems unequivocal. Could it be that I was wrong with points one, two and three? Let’s continue reading on.
Thousands of school and college students across the UK will invest a fantasy £100,000 in the stock market over a four month period when the online trading competition starts later this month
Oh. Right. Fantasy money. Not real money.
The competition has proved more popular than at anytime in its fourteen year history with more than 30,000 teenagers expected to take part when the competition starts on Monday 24 November.
Apart from the fact that the grammar in this press release is just diabolical – are they ignoring the wavy green lines? – that’s quite a lot of teenagers. But as to whether it’ll turn any of them into hedge fund supremos – well, I don’t think so. And the headline is a lie. They’re not “investing” in shares. They’re playing with fantasy money. It’s like saying “thousands of teenagers to manage football teams” when you run a Fantasy Football site. It’s a lie.
And people wonder why journalists find PR stuff annoying? It’s because it wastes our cognitive effort on junk like this.