How to Get Your Teen a Reliable Car
Posted 28 July 2016 12:00 AM by J.D. Byrider
We’re getting close to back to school time, which means even more expenses for parents. But, parents of sophomores and juniors likely have another dilemma on their hands—how can they afford to get their soon-to-be-drivers a vehicle?
Don’t make it a gift
Giving your child a set of gift-wrapped keys for their 16th birthday is a lovely idea. It’s also wildly impractical for many American families today, especially for households with multiple kids. It’s hard enough to buy one extra vehicle, much less two or three.
Involve your teenager in the entire process. They should be just as invested in you picking out a reasonably prices vehicle. Hopefully, this will help motivate them to share payments on it, as well. You should look for a vehicle with a short payoff period, as your child may not be able to keep up a loan without your direct supervision. However, you can look for 2-3 year loans that will realistically be paid off before your young adult leaves the house.
You shouldn’t carry the burden of car payments alone. Get them a dependable vehicle (hopefully with a warranty) that will last them into their 20s. This will give them the experience of paying off a loan with you as support to make sure they get their credit history off on the right foot. Then, when they’re ready to have a loan under their own name as an adult, they’ll have both the credit history and the experience to be successful.
Budget and save
Don’t take full responsibility for saving the money for your child’s first car. Your child should also be pitching in money from their part-time job, lawn mowing work or babysitting. If they’re currently getting by on just their allowance, it may be time to encourage them to look outside the home to make a little extra money for their vehicle. At minimum, they should pay for the car’s gas.
Skip other expenses
Sure, your high schooler may want to go on that trip to Europe or to join an expensive league sport, but is it worth them having to bum rides from their friends or wait for you to pick them up? Part of sharing the responsibility for the vehicle means they may have to give up other fun activities.
Get a reliable vehicle
To get your teen a vehicle that will last them through college or their early working years, follow the three-step checklist:
- 1. Does it have a clean title?
- 2. Has it been inspected and reconditioned by a trained mechanic?
- 3. Does it come with a warranty?
Making sure your child’s vehicle will allow them to spend their first working years free of a car payment can help set them up for success with their credit score and their first apartment or home search. Having one less bill to worry about may mean the difference between making their own rent or moving back home, after all!
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