Pros and cons of teenage car own­er­ship

South Waikato News - - Out & About - ROB STOCK

Cars are cash drags Teenagers don’t need to own one There are bet­ter uses for money

rob.stock@fair­fax­me­dia.co.nz There are bet­ter things to spend the money on like sav­ings, mort­gage, rainy day fund or univer­sity ac­count.

It hon­estly wasn’t my in­ten­tion to scare my mum into giv­ing me a car, but the story pro­vides me with a segue into the topic of safety.

By the time my mum gave me the car, she was sick of see­ing me trolleyed into her casualty unit blood­ied and sad (bro­ken arm from rugby, aw­ful ran­dom street­beat­ing from gang and in­ad­ver­tently stabbed my­self while carving a stick down the ‘‘waste-ground’’).

Cars are a lead­ing cause of teenager death.

So, if a teenager is go­ing to be driv­ing a car, their par­ents might want it to be a de­cent one.

And, rather than have their teenager waste valu­able study time work­ing shifts serv­ing burg­ers to pay for a hunk of junk on wheels, I could un­der­stand them adding an ex­tra fam­ily car for the teenagers to share.

Rather than give them one, how­ever, I’d side with par­ents who opted to keep the ex­tra car in their own name leav­ing them more con­trol.

But my pref­er­ence would not be to add an­other car to the fam­ily drive­way.

Cars are de­pre­ci­at­ing as­sets which cost money just sitting in the drive­way (in­sur­ance, reg­is­tra­tion, and main­te­nance). There are bet­ter things to spend the money on like sav­ings, mort­gage, rainy day fund or univer­sity ac­count.

I’d have the teenager driv­ing one of the ex­ist­ing fam­ily cars.

Par­ents who want their teenager to know the value of money, can re­quire they pay a share of the run­ning costs of the car, or maybe charge on a per kilo­me­tre ba­sis.

Many teenagers are on the verge of ter­tiary stud­ies.

Run­ning a car threat­ens their abil­ity to save to­wards their study costs. It also lifts their liv­ing costs early in life, which is likely to re­sult in a big­ger stu­dent loan.

Cars bring a sense of free­dom to teenagers. I can still re­call how much I loved my first car, and the range it gave me and my mates. But that was in the days be­fore stu­dent loans.

I’d rather teenagers avoided the cash-drag of a car for as long as pos­si­ble.

PHOTO: CATHY YEULET/123RF

Shar­ing your car with teenagers can have a down­side, even if it keeps the cost of their free­dom low.

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