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Watchdog's Big Money Test

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Martin Lewis Martin Lewis | 20:00 UK time, Thursday, 14 April 2011

Last year, the BBC Lab UK team left MoneySaving Towers (my offices) with their hands bitten off.

They'd come to me saying they wanted to conduct another of their mammoth experiments, this time working with Watchdog on finance, did I want to get involved?

Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes - was my understated response and by the end of the sentence, talking 19 to the dozen as usual, I'd already suggested a mass of things to focus on.

It seems hardly possible that after all of the debates and discussions, it's finally time to go for it.

The Big Money Test has been six months in development and it's a completely unique experiment, designed to assess your financial capability.

You can do the test now on Lab UK's website.

Money expert Martin Lewis

Are you brave enough?

It has always struck me as slightly odd that people are nervous about doing things with money, even when they know it'll help.

So I suspect this test will be no different, some out there will feel nervous about it.

And in part, that's exactly what the test is about.

While it's easy to think of money as a suited and booted practical problem, it's far more than that.

It's an emotional subject that stretches into every area of our lives - families, habits, relationships, stress levels, lifestyle and even mental health.

The Big Money Test doesn't just examine your knowledge, but your money motivation, financial emotions, capability, attitudes and more - then tells you how you fared and what you can do to improve.

A nation educated into debt, but never about debt

Yet I've a hidden remit too. For years I've campaigned for financial education. It's a disgrace that in the 20 years since the introduction of student loans, we've been a nation that's educated its youth into debt when they go to university, but never educated them about debt.

In the last six months I've been heavily involved in setting up the All Party Parliamentary Group on Financial Education.

We've cajoled over 200 MPs into joining, and the investigations as to how we improve the country's financial capability and ensure all pupils leave school equipped, are about to start.

A substantial number of people in the UK lack the financial literacy and skills needed to thrive in our increasingly complex consumer economy.

That's why for me, the joy of the Big Money Test is that underneath the polished BBC interactive exterior, the engine driving this is a serious academic experiment, designed by some big brained psychologists in the hope it'll point the way to making us, as a nation, better with money.

And it's that type of authoritative analysis that's crucial right now.

Hopefully it'll establish a picture of the nation's strengths and weaknesses across the financial capability landscape.

And it's a chance to get nasty...

Yet don't think this is some po-faced academic survey.

For me the most fun part, apart from again working with Annie on Watchdog (the adrenaline always pumps - I'm never quite sure whether it's fear or excitement) is that I get to put a few nasty quiz type questions of my own in, to test people's real life money knowledge.

It'll be interesting to see if the psychologists' tests, designed to examine people's view of how good they are with cash, match the results of my more practical questions.

Do those who think they're good really have the knowledge? We'll see.

Martin Lewis presents the Big Money Test on Watchdog on BBC One at 8pm on Tuesday, 14 April.

Comments made by writers on the BBC TV blog are their own opinions and not necessarily those of the BBC.


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