In many places, once teens celebrate their sixteenth birthday, it means your household will have a new driver on the road. Teenagers’ first cars are one that can hold a special place in their hearts, as they are able to have access to new opportunities with their travel capabilities. Dates, jobs, entertainment, school outings, and volunteer work are just some things that become easier to do if you have a car at your disposal. If the family budget allows, it can be tempting to have a shiny new vehicle waiting in the driveway as a surprise for your eager teen but allowing him or her purchase one independently can be very beneficial as well. Before you rush to the dealer, consider these five reasons for giving your child an opportunity to buy a car on his or her own.
Motivation to Work
If you decide to let your teen pay for his or her own car, even if just part of the amount, he or she will likely need to get a job to reach that goal. Getting and keeping a job is something your teen will need to learn how to do in the future and may even require your teen to have experience with resume writing, interviewing, reporting to work for duty, and keeping track of income. Some added benefits of this include networking, work experience for future resumes, and extra accomplishments to include in any applications. Whether your teen needs to babysit regularly, work retail, wait tables, or maybe even luck out and get a paid internship, having a car payment can be a great incentive for finding work.
The pricier the car, the more money your child will obviously need to earn. Even if your teen’s goal is to own an affordable car, a significant amount of money management will still need to be used to reach it. Instead of blowing their money off on fast food, video games, and what many consider frivolous purchases, your child will need to be focused and pare down to the essentials. Managing money and learning about concepts such as monthly payments, down payments, and interest rates, are valuable life skills that can be applied to other big purchases down the road. If teens want a pricier vehicle or won’t be able to work enough hours due to school demands, co-signing can be helpful and will still allow them to have some sense of responsibility for purchasing a vehicle. Even budgeting to afford gas, registration, licensing, and insurance alone can be a good life skill for those who will not be buying a new vehicle.
While you may know your teen quite well, you might not know all their preferences when it comes to a vehicle. Not only will your child need to work hard to afford all the extra features and add-ons, but they will be forced to prioritize their preferences. When people are forced to budget and use their own money, some auto features they might have thought they absolutely needed might seem frivolous. In addition, since they will more likely be considered the cars true owners, they may be willing to invest in more practical features that cater to their individual needs.
Pride in Ownership
If teens put extensive effort to afford such a big purchase, it is likely that they will have more pride in it. This can mean more accountability and a higher likelihood to drive more carefully as to not damage a car they’ve worked hard for. Your teen may also feel motivated to keep their vehicle clean and properly maintained to maximize the car’s life. Best of all, they can have physical proof of how hard work can be rewarding.