SINGAPORE - If you choose to buy a house but don't have adequate savings, there's a high chance you will not be able to afford any furniture for it.
This was among the scenarios students at Guangyang Secondary School came across when they tried out a new mobile app launched by the Central Provident Fund (CPF) Board on Friday (July 16).
Called "Kickstart your future with CPF", the app is targeted at secondary school students, to teach them key financial literacy concepts and how their CPF can be used, by simulating adult life decisions.
The students get to pick an avatar, and carry out activities like building and furnishing their dream homes. They also have to plan and budget for their moves. The choices they make lead to different outcomes.
Said Ms Cindi Ang, a senior manager of outreach and partnerships from the CPF Board: "The youth should learn about financial literacy and CPF, and also know about their spending habits. They should cultivate good saving habits from young. It is timely to introduce this programme now as it complements the school's curriculum well."
Since secondary school students are getting personal learning devices this year, they would be able to access the app more easily, she said.
Though such decisions would be years away in real life for these teenagers, Ms Ang explained that the app was meant to help them get familiar with key financial literacy concepts and cultivate good saving habits.
On Friday, teachers from Guangyang Secondary School conducted a financial literacy class for Secondary 3 and 4 classes, explaining basics such as how interest is earned, and how CPF works.
The students then explored and played the mobile game on their own smartphones or the school's iPads.
Afterwards, teachers facilitated a discussion where students reflected on their spending decisions. Guangyang was the first school to try out the app as part of a lesson.
"They (the students) are the instant gratification generation. If they don't see the outcome, they wouldn't find learning about CPF relevant. The game helped them visualise this," said Miss Cindy Tan, 30, who teaches social studies at Guangyang.
Said 15-year-old student Umaira Sherifa Mohamed Arief: "The programme taught me to prepare for my future. The game is also effective as it reflects situational scenarios which helped me to visualise and understand how to plan smartly for the future.
"The game emphasises the importance of savings and helped me to understand the importance of differentiating between needs and wants."
Schools that are interested in carrying out similar lessons can approach the CPF Board for resources. The app is also available for the public to download on the App Store and Google Play.