How Does Funding for Divorce Cases Enable Justice?

Last year, one of the UK’s most tumultuous divorce cases finally reached its end. The Young v Young ([2013] EWHC 3837) divorce case resulted in Michelle Young being awarded an astounding £20 million settlement, with her former husband also asked to cover the £5 million she had spent on the case.

The stakes were high and, as the outcome shows, the case itself was an incredibly expensive affair for both parties. While the fairness of the case has been cause for debate amongst many in the legal community and the public, it’s the immense costs of the case that have attracted the most attention.

The total costs of the case were £6.5 million. Much of this was accessed via a third party funding arrangement that Ms Young had secured with funders. The costs of the case, as well as the protracted funding arrangement, have been as much of a talking point for many people as the case itself.

Ms Young believes that she had received justice, although her award falls short of what she had originally aimed for. Explaining the case to the media, she claims to have “made a stand for women” and believes that the law should be changed “to protect women like me with children by men who conveniently find they have no assets when they want to go off with a younger woman.”

Her case depended on third party funding from three different sources. The third party funding behind Ms Young’s case totalled £4 million, allowing her to pay for four forensic accountancy teams, 65 preliminary hearings, over 10,000 pages of court documents, 13 legal teams, and a worldwide search for her former husband’s assets on three different continents.

The case took seven years to reach its final hearing and by the time it was heart, its funding had been spent in its entirety, largely on expert evidence. The judge issued a stern statement regarding the costs of the case, noting that litigation funders needed to take a more careful approach to funding large divorce cases.

His exact word were: “It cannot be right that all the litigation funding has been spent before the final hearing, which is, on any view, the most important part of the entire litigation exercise.”

“Maximum figures need to be placed on the disbursements incurred. If the solicitors and clients are not willing or able to do so, the court will have to impose limits.”

“Without such restraints, litigation funders will be put off supporting these cases for ever.”

The judge had already remarked on the luck of Ms Young, whose lack of security made it remarkable that she had managed to gain £4 million in third party funds. Because third party funders lose their entire investment in a case if it fails, their losses are potentially immense in a risky, uncertain divorce case.

This risk was indicated in Ms Young’s case by the ending of her first third party funding agreement. When the funder left the case, they claimed that they would return to focusing solely on commercial cases in the future due to the easier risk calculations.

In order for divorce cases to be appealing to third party funders, they would likely need to involve a significant settlement. Most third party funders are uninterested in disputes worth less than £1 million. With legal aid cuts reducing funding choices for divorcees, it is becoming much more difficult for many would-be divorcees to deal with the immense costs of a difficult divorce case.

Because of this, a growing number of would-be divorcees are turning to different, more affordable choices. Mediation is growing in popularity. The Young case is an interesting one, securing funding far beyond what is possible for most would-be divorcees. In this way, it may be the obvious exception that proves that divorce funding does give people the opportunity to pursue justice.

Helping Family and Others

When it comes to personal responsibility for other people, there is often a line that many of us draw in terms of how far we will go.  There are so many aspects to our lives that demand attention, that we can only allocate our time and money the best we can to meet all our needs and interests.  This is simply the case even if we have the best of intentions.

If we stop to consider the notion of helping people after we pass on, it might seem like we’re actually going into some really out there territory.  After all, if we have so many responsibilities and interests during our lives, why would we think about caring for others when our own life is gone?  It’s an interesting concept when you think about it!

Well, there are a couple of things we can consider.  One is for family, and the second is for others who might need help.

For Family – Consider Life Insurance

There is no doubt that each of us has love for our family.  Sure, our own finances and health are important to us, but so are our relationships with the people closest to us.  One could say that the three are interrelated.  For me, there is nothing more important than my family, and my responsibilities as a father top that list.  I know I’m not alone in feeling this way as a parent.

Accordingly, life insurance is something that we should at least consider.  Here are 6 reasons why life insurance might be good to purchase:

  1. Anything could happen.  Really, we can’t plan with certainty that everything will go according to plan in life.  Think about it, in different areas in life – be it professionally, in relationships, with health – some things just happen that we can’t foresee.  Actually, in general, expecting the unexpected is one of the key personal finance tips to think about.  Not that we think anything is sure to happen, but regardless we want to be prepared just in case.
  2. Keep your family in your home.  Okay, this might seem like an interesting one.  But what if the primary wage earner in the family is no longer there to generate income? Would you want to see family have difficulty handling a mortgage, and have to move to a less comfortable place with perhaps different schools and surroundings?  At least staying in the home would keep some stability, and proceeds could help with that.
  3. Provide help for college.  Similar to paying a mortgage, the breadwinner might be contributing to college savings.  While retirement and certainly daily needs are a priority (though many would disagree), it’s naturally the case that many parents feel a strong interest in helping their kids with educational expenses at least to some extent.  Instead of leaving a kid in the lurch and saddling him or her with tons of debt or limited choices, proceeds could provide protection.
  4. It could be more difficult to get later.  When younger and healthy, it can potentially be much easier to get the right policy you want.  As a person ages, there could be new serious health issues that emerge that make coverage possibilities a little different that they could have been earlier.  It might be good to at least consider the notion that buying earlier could provide more desirable options.
  5. Take care of funeral expenses.  Yes, I know this might not be a fun thought.  But when dealing with the emotions of losing a loved one, stressing over paying for a proper funeral would seem to be one of the last things that people should deal with.
  6. Peace of mind.  Sometimes there is the sleep well at night factor too.  Just knowing that there will be some resources there to keep things moving forward for the family can be reassuring.  That might be worth something by itself!

For Others – Consider Organ Donation

When one person passes, it can be a difficult situation for the surviving family members.  That being said, there are also other people out there who are scared of losing their family members too.

Much like life insurance can help our family members when we’re gone, organ donation can be one way to help others at that time.  There are so many people out there that need donations, and along with their families would really be incredibly appreciative of the opportunity to improve their chances.  This is an example of planning beyond the gift of life, and can make a real difference.

Bottom Line:  We have the opportunity to help people today, and after our time, by at least considering taking certain actions when we have the chance.

6 Must-Haves on Your Baby Registry

When you’re expecting a little one there is so much to think about that sometimes the mind can get hazy when it is time to put together the registry for the baby shower. What do you need most? What are reasonable items to request? How can you make sure you’re satisfying all of your baby needs? This list will help to identify the items that should not be missing from your registry, no matter what.

Backpack Style Baby Carriers

For optimal comfort when on the move with your baby, you should consider a baby carrier that straps over your shoulders. Find a carrier that can be used by both mom and dad so separate ones are not necessary. When looking for the right baby carrier, make sure you find one where your baby can sit either facing out or facing you depending on individual needs. A carrier with a weight capacity of up to 32 pounds should fit your needs perfectly.

Quilted Crib Pads

Though you may already have your crib picked out and ready to go, it’s time to start thinking about what type of mattress you will place in the crib. A waterproof, quilted crib pad with reinforced corners will be your best option at this point. Make sure to choose one that is machine washable to make clean up even easier for you.

Diaper Disposal Pail

You are going to want a no mess, no fuss option for getting rid of disposable diapers. There are many options available for this purpose, but slightly fancier ones are available, and your loved one buying from your registry could even use Babies R Us coupons from MyCoupons.com to help offset the cost. A good pail should have a foot pedal for easy opening, because this makes for easier disposal. A large capacity pail is best, so look for diaper disposal pails that offer a capacity of up to 32 diapers or more.

Nasal Aspirators

The name may be slightly on the disgusting side, but you’re going to need one of these “nasal aspirators” in order to promote the best health for your baby in the early months. There are several options available, but make sure to find one that is BPA and Phthalate free, as well as top rack dishwasher safe. 

Baby Monitor

A baby monitor is an essential tool for the care of your baby. Today, it is even possible to use video baby monitors to keep an eye on your baby at all times (even when in the other room). As with all electrical gadgets, there are many options available of varying levels of functionality and quality. Make sure the baby monitor you choose contains a high-quality, super-sensitive microphone, automatic infrared night vision, a voice activated power saving mode for optimal energy performance and static free digital wireless transmission covering up to 800 feet in open areas.

Pacifiers

A parent will be faced with the choice of whether to use a pacifier or not. If you choose to, make sure the pacifier you put on your registry has ventilation holes, symmetrical nipples, and is produced with hospital grade silicone.

Welcoming a new baby to the home doesn’t have to be an incredibly stressful time if you are prepared. There are many ways to obtain baby items on with a limited budget.  With the help of a well thought out and planned baby registry, you will be able to enjoy the new little one in your life and allow your friends and family to help with the expenses of making sure you are prepared.

How to Talk to Your Kids about Debt

talk_to_kids_about_moneyThe following is a guest post from David Moran who writes at Finance for Your Future.

Talking to your kids about the value of proper money management is essential, but most parents tend to put it off until their children are college-bound or older. Unfortunately, what your kids don’t know can hurt them, especially when it comes to finances.

Kids learn about money the same way they learn about other things in life: from their friends, from the school, from teammates or other peer groups. If you don’t have the money talk with your kids, chances are someone else will. That person may not have the same financial perceptions that you do, which in turn may create friction between you and your child when a financial situation arises. Alternatively, if you try to hide your debt from your kids, you set a poor precedent for their financial future.

Start by Building a Solid Foundation

Don’t wait until you’re in debt to start talking about money. Begin with the basics. Just like you teach a toddler “The Alphabet Song” or to count their blocks, teach them about saving their pennies. Learning to “feed the piggy” at an early age teaches kids the importance of saving. Take them into the bank with you and let them watch you deposit money. As they get older, show them how you pay the bills and the importance of a budget. We set up a checking account for my children when they turned 13 and taught them how to properly balance a checkbook—a skill that many 20-somethings don’t have.

Being upfront with your kids about the family budget gets them to buy into any changes you may have to make later due to a job loss, salary reduction or other event leading to a loss of income.

Help Your Children Set Their Own Budget

To give kids a concrete lesson in budgeting for themselves, give them an allowance on a regular schedule. Tell them what they are expected to pay for: such as clothes over and above what’s bought for school, iPod downloads, meals out with friends and the like. If they go over budget, stick to your agreement and let them figure a way out of it. Learning to delay gratification makes them appreciate what they have once they get it. You can even go so far as creating a detailed budget in Excel; in my experience: the more detailed, the better.

The Serious Discussion

If you are in debt, be honest with your kids. Explain how you got there and how you’re getting out of it. Particularly focus on what it means for their spending and their day-to-day life. They need to understand the budget cuts affect everyone. Have them help you brainstorm ways to make extra money. Most of all, explain that once you are out of debt your lives will be better because you will be living within your means.

Talking about money with your kids isn’t fun, but it is necessary. Having the talk now can prevent your kids making mistakes later.

Editor’s Comment – I welcome everyone’s feedback and comments on today’s guest post!

6 Important Ways That You Can Protect Your Kids Financially

protect kids financiallyOnce a person becomes a parent, as many people come to find out, it changes your worldview in at least some way. For many of us, before having children, we primarily focused on ourselves for most of our lives, and then we added our spouse/partner to our highest level of responsibility later in life.  Okay, some may have had an elderly parent, an unhealthy sibling, or a niece/nephew to take care of.  However, for the most part, our primary responsibility had been ourselves. We looked at the world in terms of our place in it.

And no, pets do not count :)

Then, the first child is born.  After that magical moment, things really do change!

Suddenly, you and your spouse/partner become responsible for this helpless young child. Feeding, caring, protecting, providing are all on your shoulders. As your young child would grow older, the way you take care of your child would change based on the child’s stage of life, but the responsibility would nonetheless be yours. And it would naturally be a big responsibility. From the day the he or she comes into the world, all the way through adult life, your maturity and wisdom will be there to guide your child.

As a parent of two, I like to actively think of ways that I can take care of them in many ways, including financially. With respect to this part of life, there are many steps you can take to help protect your child’s financial future. Here are 6 that can make a big difference:

  1. Prepare a will. If you have a will, you can determine what happens to your assets in the event you and your spouse die. You can spell out division of assets, and how they will be distributed. If you do not have a will, your exact wishes might not be followed. In that case, your assets will be allocated to your heirs based on your state’s laws. What are the chances that these default laws will line up with your wishes? Protect your kids and your wishes – make a will.
  2. Purchase insurance. Sure, almost all of us have car insurance and homeowners or renters insurance. But what happens if you unexpectedly die? As a provider for your children, your income is necessary for their day-to-day expenses. What would they do if you weren’t there anymore? Where would the money come from? Just think about it. Protect yourself with life insurance. Or, you could be living but become disabled. How do your kids get cared for then? Protect yourself with disability income insurance.
  3. Try to save at least some money for college. A college education is obviously going to be critical for today’s children to succeed when they are older. Many will go on to graduate school.  There are many ways education can lead to increased net worth, but it doesn’t come free Why burden your child with a the entire debt at a young age, in their 20’s, that they may not be able to pay off until they are in their 30’s or later? That will cripple their ability to save for their own future, much less help the following generation. Be sure to keep this mind.  Of course, one can borrow for money but can’t borrow for retirement, so keep that in mind too to protect yourself.
  4. Form a trust. With young children, this protects them and makes sure that the assets are handled properly. From a tax perspective, there are ways you can build in some real, measurable benefits.
  5. Obtain long-term care coverage. Do you want to ultimately leave your children an inheritance? If so, be sure to consider long-term care coverage. The cost of such care can be very high – shockingly so to many people. Every situation is different of course, but in some of those, your nest egg can be drained very quickly if this care is needed.
  6. Teach your children about personal finance. There is a well known quote that says: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” Think about this in the context of your kids and how they will eventually handle money as young adults. If you are reading this, then you clearly have an interest in protecting their financial future.  Share this interest with them by teaching them lessons and practical strategies for managing finances.

My Questions for You

What are your thoughts about these tips – any you think are especially important?

Do you have any other tips to share?

Please feel free to share this post with anyone who has kids or plans to have them in the future

10 Inexpensive Fall Activities for the Family

fall_traditionsWhere I’m located (Chicago), there are 4 distinct seasons.   While admittedly January through March can be a challenge, the rest of the year is easy to celebrate what nature gives us.

When the weather has started to cool down, but hasn’t quite shifted to winter weather yet, it can be great time of year to be outside.  Depending on where you are in the Northern Hemisphere, this can be a time to enjoy the middle ground between summer heat and winter cold.  Along with that, it’s a time to enjoy the unique aspects of fall.

I was thinking of some ways that we’ve had fun during the autumn season in the past, as well as some other possibilities for doing new things as well.  The idea was to figure out ways that the season can be enjoyed, while spending very little.  Here are 10 low-cost, frugal activities that people and families can enjoy the fall.

  1. Take a drive to see fall colors.  The changing colors of the leaves is actually big business in a lot of places, with people taking weekend drives to experience the often spectacular colors that only occur for a very short time of the year.  While I think that’s actually pretty cool, I’ll try to enjoy it a little bit more frugally.  In this case, sometimes you can go for a nice drive close to where you live (depending on locale, of course) and take in the colors.  For the cost of gas and putting a few miles on the car, it can be a nice relaxing way to spend a few hours.
  2. Go apple picking.  This has developed into a tradition for us, going each year to pick apples.  While it isn’t free, you can always eat the apples you pick! Apples are a healthy snack, and better alternative than a lot of things we might otherwise choose to eat.  So, you could have a fun day outdoors, while having something good to show for it later.
  3. Go hiking.  Now, one could do this in the summer too.  However, when temperatures have dropped from summer highs, it often becomes much more pleasant and manageable outside.  Actually, at least around this part of the country, some fall weather can be truly great for the outdoors.  Throwing on a sweatshirt for layering and enjoying a good walk outside provides a great way to get fresh air and exercise.
  4. Visit the pumpkin patch.  It can be fun to start a tradition of going to the pumpkin patch to find the perfect pumpkin.  Then, you can bring it home to carve it and make a jack-o-lantern.  Fun for people of all ages.
  5. Make seasonal food.  Hot apple cider sounds good on a cool fall day!  Or, perhaps one could bake some apple or pumpkin bread.  I enjoy pumpkin pudding, which is actually nutritious and tasty.  Yes, this fits into the whole pumpkin mania theme I wrote about it a prior post!
  6. Build a bonfire.  I have a memory of sitting outside on a very cool fall night over 10 years ago, catching up with some old friends over a bonfire.  Yes, there were marshmallows there, as well as a few beverages of the grown-up variety.  Good times.
  7. Enjoy Halloween – without excess commercialism.  Okay, it’s hard to go without spending money on Halloween.  If you have kids, you’ll be getting them a costume that they’ll enjoy.  You could always make one, but my kids haven’t had a homemade one – the costumes were purchased.  That said, they don’t have to be expensive.  The good old days of putting on simple yet fun costume for trick-or-treating can still be had by kids.  For grown-ups, it’s fun to go with the kids and chaperone them while seeing how much fun they have.  If you’re not with kids, you can always have a Halloween gathering with friends that involves food and drink without breaking the bank!
  8. Have a movie night.  We recently had one of those.  Rented 2 movies from the rental kiosk for $2.40 in total.  Plus had snacks at home.  This was a fun way to enjoy a night at home, staying warm and saving a lot of money compared to going out to see a movie.
  9. Make something!  Now, I’ll admit that I’m not an arts and crafts kind of person.  I’d rather spend that time doing just about anything else.  But if you’re into crafts and the like, this can a fun time of year for such activities.  For me, the “make” something part might be taking pictures outside.  The fall offers some unique opportunities for great photos
  10. Go on a hay ride.  This can be a fun activity to enjoy the season outside, and enjoy the company of others who accompany you.   I’ve gone each of the last few years.

My Questions for You

Do you take part in any of these fun fall activities?

Are there any others not mentioned that you would like to share with everyone?

What do you enjoy most about the fall?

 

Inheritances, Greed, and Crazy Search Terms

One of the interesting things about running a personal finance blog is the ability to use analytics to see how many visitors come to your site, what articles get the most traffic, and what even what people are searching for when they land on the site.  With respect to the latter, it can be quite eye-opening to learn what might be going through the minds of some people!

This is probably the case with more controversial topics in particular.  One such topic is that of inheritances, which I’ve written about previously.  That post shared a story about a couple that remarried later in life.  They both had kids, but when the man died, all his money went to the 2nd wife and none to his own kids.  To add insult to injury, her kids in turn got funds from the man, but his own kids were shut out.  Ouch!

To me, this was a clear cut case of unfairness.  I wrote a post about it because I thought it was an interesting topic, and one that might get some good discussion going.  Well, it turned out to be a post that has been sort of an “evergreen” article that has continued to get comments and people reading it over 1.5 years after being published.

This has gotten me more interested in the topic, and has opened my eyes to some crazy stuff that goes on out there.  Reading some comments, it’s remarkable how when it comes to money, people will do almost anything.  Including, as was the case in the subject of the post, shutting out a spouse’s kids from a prior marriage and actually believing that they are not worthy of a share of a deceased parent’s estate.

Getting back to the search terms I mentioned in the first paragraph, just for fun I took a look through analytics to find the search terms that brought people to the inheritance post I’ve been referring to.   It’s really remarkable to me what people are looking for, and speaks to the stuff that goes on out there!

Here are some keywords (out of hundreds), where people landed on the inheritance and blended family post, just in the last week:

“can my husband’s children from a previous marriage inherit”

“dad remarried and left will leaving all to 2nd wife. where do his kids stand from 1st marriage?”

“dad married gold digger left nothing to kids”

“do i have to leave my step children anything in my will”

“does my husband’s children have any rights on our new property”

“i am married with stepchildren, how do i make sure my assets go to my natural daughter”

“is it fair that after 20 years marriage i get half of my husbands wealth and his children get other half”

“my mother hates my husband and said i have to divorce him in her trust in order to receive my half of estate”

“should i marry a man with a bitch of an adult stepdaughter”

“when you have a child and a stepchild how can you write a will so your child not his gets the whole inheritance”

“why does it seem that my senior father has erased us from his life after remarriage”

And, last but not least, my favorite search term:

“how can i get my husband to give inheritance money to me and my kids and turn him against his kids”

All of this is a mix of being mildly entertaining, very enlightening, and – admittedly – kind of saddening.  People that try to separate a parent’s memories and fruits of labor from his or her children, out of jealousy or entitlement, are very misguided. 

Money is important, but it is NOT more important than people.  Right?

What are your thoughts?

Proud to See Financial Wisdom at a Young Age

As a parent, you’re always teaching lessons to your kids.  Often times they’re intentional, where you directly try to impart your wisdom and hope that the message is conveyed and absorbed.  Other times, the lessons are learned by their own observations of your behavior and words.

Either way, kids can learn a lot from parents.  This includes gaining perspectives on not just life in general, but also on money.  There is financial wisdom to be gained at any age, including when young!

I recently had a conversation with my elementary school age daughter that showed that lessons can be learned when younger.  Frankly, it was pretty cool!

It happened when we were driving in the car on the way to school.  We passed by some houses that were newer and really nice.  I’d classify these as “McMansions”.  Big homes that seemingly dwarf nearby homes and carry property tax rates in the stratosphere.  Anyway, as we drove by, she remarked that it would be cool to live in one of those houses.  Then she asked if we could afford one.

I paused for a moment, and then said that those are the types of houses that most people would have to “stretch” to buy.  Being a kid, she chuckled and asked what I meant by “stretch”.

My response was to say that stretching to buy a home means that a family spends more than they’re comfortable spending or more than what they probably should spend.  They do this to buy a home that they really, really want – even if it’s a step above their price range, I said.

She immediately said: “Why would anyone do that. Wouldn’t that be stressful?”  She continued with: “Daddy, did you know that too much stress can cause a heart attack? People that spend too much money on some house they can’t afford could be making stress just for a house!”

When I heard that, I smiled.  I never directly told her anything like that before, but somehow she’s picked up enough about money, common sense, and life, that she was able to figure out that one should spend only what you can comfortably afford.

Being someone who enjoys personal finance, I have to admit: I was kind of proud :)

I’ve written before about emotions and buying a home, how a couple ended up letting emotions get in the way of sound decision-making.  Grown-ups make such mistakes, even bright, well-meaning ones.  To the extent we can get kids to think clearly and objectively about purchases, we’re helping give them a good foundation on which to handle money later!

My Questions for You

What lessons about money did you learn when younger?

Which ones helped you as you got older?

Cars for Crazy Teen Drivers

We all know that teenagers have the capacity to do some off the wall things sometimes.  We’ve passed through that stage, and can recall things we did then that we can smile about now, recalling how funny those memories were! Or, in come cases, we shake our head and wonder how and why we made a few decisions that we did back then.  In some cases, this can involve teenage driving experiences.

I’ve written about teens and driving a few times, the first time about the topic of what car a teenager should drive.  There, I shared a story about how I saw a group of kids in a luxury SUV, which got some good comments on what cars people actually drove when younger.  Another post talked about how there were reports suggesting that fewer teens were driving now versus a generation ago, which led me to wonder about this would lead to fewer expensive cars for teens.

Lately, I observed a couple of instances of crazy teen drivers, which reminded me about these past posts – and why I think kids do not need to be riding around in nice, expensive cars.

The Shopping Mall

I was at a local shopping mall, one of those tw0-level, indoor malls with several big anchor retailers, a food court, etc.  Anyway, the parking lot is absolutely massive in this suburban mall, to the point where probably more than 50% of spaces aren’t used on a normal weekend afternoon.  This despite being a thriving mall.

Anyway, the point is that one could probably drive through and across much of the parking lot without worrying about hitting any cars.  Yet, most normal people don’t drive recklessly anyway.  There are one-way rows in the entire lot, and people drive the right direction to park their cars or to exit.  You know, the rows where cars are parked at an angle.

So, I was leaving the parking lot, and exiting straight ahead down the one-way row that I was in.  As I was leaving the lot, I saw a car race right in front of me, perpendicular to how I was driving.  The car was cutting across the lanes, driving through empty spots.   The car swerved as it barreled ahead in front of me, as if the driver was trying to avoid hitting me. 

It all happened so fast, but I looked off to the right, and the car slowed down enough for me to see a car full of teenage-looking guys. 

Clearly, zero common sense was being used by the driver.  This had the potential to be an accident, though thankfully nothing happened.

The Stoplight

I was at a stoplight recently, and the light was green. I was in the left lane, with 2 lanes going in each direction on a 4-lane road.  Yet, the cars ahead of me were not moving.

The guy directly in front of me started honking, but the car in front didn’t move.  So, he waited for traffic to be clear in the right lane before he turned to the right, got into that lane, and then passed the stalled car in front of him.  Once he did that, I followed suit.

As I drove by the car that was stalled in the left lane, I realized that it wasn’t stalled.  There were teenage girls in there laughing, with the driver looking in the mirror putting on makeup or something.  They obviously knew that their friend was stalling traffic.  Once I drove by, I looked back in my rear view mirror and saw that the car full of teens finally started moving. I guess makeover time was finished.

The Open Field

Okay, this last example isn’t recent.  It’s from 2 decades ago.

It’s also something I did :)

This is tame compared to what others do, but I recall being a teenager out one late night with a few friends.  It was probably 10 or 11 at night, and we were on our way somewhere driving through a newer subdivision that was not yet fully built out.  There were groups of houses that were built, with undeveloped, empty lots surrounding them as well.

So, if of course made sense at the time to take my car and drive through one of those empty fields.  I took the Honda Civic, and took it “off road”.  Driving through fields in between houses, I zig-zagged my way through bumpy dirt and vegetation.  As I did, we could see frightened rabbits scattering in all directions.  We of course were laughing and having good time, despite not realizing that the car or tires could have been damaged in the process.

I’m sure this wasn’t my parents had in mind when I was driving their car!

The thing is, I was actally an otherwise very responsible kid.  Someone who didn’t get in trouble, and unlikely to make big mistakes.  So if I did that, what could one of the goofball teens do? One can only wonder.

Bottom Line Teenagers don’t need to driving around expensive cars.  As I think about it, I think it’s worth it to have them drive a safe car.  No need to drive around a hunk of junk that won’t be safe.  Beyond safety though, I don’t think even one split second should be spent worrying about brand name – or how cool a car is.  They should be able to safely get from Point A to Point B, with zero regard for how uncool their friends think the car is!