Here’s the age-old question: Should I help my teenager buy a car?
Getting a car means freedom for most teens. A first car allows them to work and to drive themselves to school, which also frees up your time as a parent. However, many parents wonder if they should help their teen buy a car or not. Here’s a look at how some parents make this tough decision.
Some parents think they should help their kids buy their first car once their kids learn how to drive. Others believe that it’s their child’s responsibility to buy their own car. There are arguments for both sides. Those who do want to help their kids buy a car often see it as a practical decision. Helping their child buy a car means that their child may be able to buy a newer, safer car. The drawback is that they have no guarantee that their kids will use the money they earn to pay for their responsibilities since they didn’t really have to pay for their own car.
Those who don’t want to help their kids buy a car believe that the way to teach kids financial responsibility is to make them work toward a big purchase. The downside to this approach means that their kids could be limited in their ability to earn money. It also means these parents may be hauling their kids to and from events if their kids don’t have cars.
Planning a Budget
An ideal starter car for a teenager would have a high safety rating and cost less than $20,000. However, cars in that price range tend to not be cars that most teens can afford. Being forced to save up for such a costly car means that a teen in this position will be saving money for a car for a long time. You can help them in this endeavor by helping them make a budget.
Planning a budget allows your teen to see how long it will take to buy a car given his or her current work circumstances. It also allows you to work out a deal with your teen if you do decide to help pay for the car. You may want to draw up a contract of sorts to ensure that you get paid back for loaning your teen money.
Getting a Job
It’ll be impossible for your teen to set a budget for a car if he or she doesn’t have any money coming in. Once you’ve discussed the budget, you can talk about some possible jobs that your teen can get in order to pay for the car. Most young teens do things like babysitting or lawn mowing when they’re too young to work a regular job by law. They can also look for ways to make some money online. As teens get older, they become eligible to work in more traditional places of employment, like retail shops or fast-food restaurants.
Many teens would love to own a car. However, affording one is out of reach for many. Regardless of what you and your teen decide, it is imperative that the two of you talk about finances and how to earn money.
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