When you were a teenager, what was your first car?
I drove a modest Honda Civic that didn’t have power steering. Yes, it also was missing power locks and windows. This was a small car, very modest, nothing spectacular. It even belonged to my parents, so it’s not like it was even my own. However, it was a nice to have the opportunity to drive, and I still consider my parents to have been generous to let me drive it.Well, that perspective seems to be different from that of a few other folks I’ve encountered. I previously shared a story on how I saw some teens driving a luxury vehicle, which became a discussion on cars that teenagers should drive. Clearly, those were kids that didn’t pay for this luxury vehicle on their own. Rather, I’m sure one of the kids’ parents bought it.
Lately, I’ve come to realize that some people that I know, with kids a bit older than me, have given their kids upscale, big brand name cars to drive. Why? Well, I don’t know. All I know is that it makes no sense to me that these kids need to be driving an upscale vehicle. Even with affordable vehicle insurance for teens available, the overall cost of these kids having these cars has got to be high.
I simply think that when somebody is flat out given something like that - without paying for it – it’s often hard for the recipient to truly appreciate what it takes to buy such a vehicle. After all, if it’s as easy as Mom and Dad giving you a super nice car, it won’t be as appreciated as if you got a clunker instead – or something modest (as I did). Or, if you paid for it yourself.
Now, I realize that teens can be competitive, and really want to fit in. Being cool is important to many kids, and let’s face it – we were in that mindset in some form or another at that age. Maybe not needing a fancy car, but we were probably wanting to fit in, or not be lame and feel like an outcast.
However, isn’t there a line to be drawn somewhere? I don’t see how it’s a need for kids to be driving an expensive car – or a new car of any kind. An old car is perfectly fine, as long as its safe. It doesn’t need to be cool, it doesn’t need to look good. All it needs to do is be safe, reliable, and get a kid from Point A to Point B. And that, by itself, is something that a kid should be thankful to have. And frankly, it seems that some kids
By getting a luxury car when young, I would worry that a kid would then have high standards forever. After all, if you start out with a really nice vehicle, won’t it be a bit tougher to trade down a few notches when older? It will make it harder to be like some of us who take pride in car longevity – I can attest to driving one to past 200,000 miles! If you keep wanting nice new cars, you’ll spend a ton more over your lifetime on wants versus needs.
The Bottom Line: I have no idea what the parents who are buying these kids expensive cars are thinking. Maybe they’re not thinking?
My Questions for You
What do you think about my notion that kids should drive simple yet reliable used cars – rather than a nice, brand name newer car?
Do you think that giving a kid such a car can be setting a teen up for not understanding the value of money?
What was your first car like?