Is it spoiling a teen to buy them a car?

<p>Our son's only 13, but at around 15 they can get permits. The kids are already talking about getting their own cars. NONE of these kids have any sort of employment, and I doubt they will until maybe college summers. (maybe not). Many will be bought NEW Lexus's, Beemers, etc. Thing is, the school they all go to is about 40 mins away (in the city) and they all end up driving to school. I got my first car at 37 because I always lived in NYC until "burb-land" and babies came along. Its a given that our son's not getting a luxury vehicle, but he's already started saving up his allowance. I was thinking maybe matching what he saves up and getting him a not too unsafe clunker from the used auto mag? He's an athlete and the circuit he's on in the summers pretty much precludes summer employment. What's spoiling? My husband says "no car!!" but I'm of mixed minds. Input please?</p>

<p>Is it spoiling a teen to buy them a car? </p>

<p>Without their own gameful employment , absolutely YES ! We offered use of our own car for his transportation to the school related extracurricular sports and activities and his job. He's saving for his own and is proud to say so to his friends getting "spoiled".</p>

<p>In my experience, in many instances kids get cars because it makes life more convenient for the parents, who no longer have to juggle their schedules to provide transportation for the kid. In such instances, I don't think the kid should be obligated to pay for the car. It wasn't the kid's decision to buy it, and it isn't really for his benefit (although he will certainly enjoy the greater freedom it provides).</p>

<p>My son, now in college, did not have a car at all in high school (still doesn't, in fact). This was a deliberate parental decision; we did not think he was responsible enough to have a car at that time. However, the decision was only possible because I work out of my home and have a flexible schedule. If I had a full-time job with fixed hours, I think we would have had no choice but to let him have a car. Our neighborhood is not served by public transportation.</p>

<p>I personally don't believe in buying a car for kids, however...</p>

<p>If you must buy a car, I would wait and see exactly what he manages to save up by the time he's ready. I also would suggest not having a car right away at the beginning until he (and you) are comfortable with him driving himself. If he doesn't have enough for a car, maybe then offer to chip in a little bit, or maybe work out some type of loan with him.. for example, My sister (who was 16 at the time) really wanted a honda civic, but she only had $4,000 saved up from working. She found a nice one for $4,000 but didn't have enough for the taxes and tags, so my dad 'loaned' her the money because he knew she was good for it. She paid him back over the next few months. </p>

<p>I don't know how much your family spends on holidays, but one idea I like would be for christmas each year give him like a $200 "certificate" towards the purchase of the car. That way you're not out any extra money - you're just saving part of his christmas present for later. If the kid is irresponsible and looses the certificate, there goes the $200. If he's responsible and knows what's good for him, he'll keep it in a safe place and pull it out when the time comes. You also could do smaller certificates like $5 for washing your car or something like that (I don't know, maybe that is included in the allowance. I never got an allowance so I don't really know how that works). That way he isn't just being handed the money - he had to do something for it. It all adds up.</p>

<p>thanks for the advice. All good suggestions. He gets only four dollars a week for chores around the house so it's going to take him awhile to get the $$ together, but we do have relatives who give him $$ at holiday time which boosts his "fund".</p>

<p>I was also thinking of the family car idea which someone mentionned. We only own one car and H drives a company car. Maybe we could buy a clunker for our second car and let him use it. That way its not HIS which I have a problem with. (especially when I think of filling up the gas tank and paying insurance....uck.)</p>

<p>I remember when I was little I used to put up a little sign in my yard that said car wash $5.00.. i thought it was such a money maker at the time.. you know, people have lemonade stands for 50 cents and such.. i had a car wash for 5 dollars so i figured i would make 10x the money. the only people who came were my parents. And maybe my grandfather once. My parents always managed to work out a deal like, 2 for 5. I was such a sucker. :)</p>

<p>I don't live where kids get new Lexus's and Beemers, etc. However, where I live, a car is a necessity. There is no public transportation. All of the extracurricular activities are spread out over a wide region. Until my children had licenses, I was in a constant conflict of schedules of how to get each child to their activities in different directions that could be 50 (often) or 100 miles apart on a daily basis. My husband also works 50 miles away and helped chauffeur them around to their activities, though could not start helping with that until about 6 PM each day into the evening. Each of us put on at least 100 miles per day with all this taxi driving, often far more than that. Because the activities are often far away, a parent must stay as it doesn't make sense to drive home and come back (though we've done that for some activities 50 miles away and so that is a 200 mile drive for just one kid for just ONE of their activities that particular day.) Every Saturday, for example, each kid's activities took one parent 7 hours to complete. Putting 200 miles on a car in a day was fairly common. </p>

<p>THEREFORE, when child #1 turned 16 (the age you get a license here if you have had your permit for a full year and did driver's ed and 40 miles of practice driving), which was also her first day of junior year in HS, we chose to buy a "kid's car". It wasn't officially "her car" though at that time, she was the only kid in the family who drove. We bought the car more as a help to US. She did not come to expect it. We figured she had two years of HS as a driver and then D2, who is two years younger, would then have use of the car for two years of HS and D1 will have gone to college. Having D1 drive was very helpful because then the conflicts of how to have my body and my car at two activities at the same time very very far apart, was eased up. I still drove a LOT every afternoon, night and weekend and so did my husband, as we still had D2 to schlep around, but also we were spectators at D1's many events. D1 also drove to school. First she could only drive herself for six months according to law but after that time, she drove her sister to school in the AM as well (both were in many different directions after school). MANY kids here have a car but not those expensive ones you talk about and not all get it from their parents. Some have very old used cars, some have parents' hand me down cars, some have parents who purchase a third car. But kids here have jobs, and many ECs far away and with parents working, it is almost a must. </p>

<p>It turns out that D2 graduated a year early so only was home one year and only had her license for the second semester of that year and after two months was in a very serious car accident and so didn't drive for a long while and then went to college in NYC where she never drives. D1, therefore, as a soph, got to take the kids' car to college. Then this past summer, D1 was overseas, so D2 had a job out of state and she had the car all summer. D1 will now get it when she returns to college in the spring as she is abroad right now. </p>

<p>For us, this made sense. Perhaps some would see it as spoiling but our kids seem to appreciate it, did not ask or expect it, but it is just very helpful for us as a family. We did buy a new car because we wanted it to last a long while for both to use it in HS and then in college. It already was replaced because D2 totaled it in her crash. Also, safety is a concern (for everyone I realize) but we live where there is a lot of snow, ice, and mud season, and live on a dirt road in the mountains and the regular roads are pitch black at night, curvy, isolated, and so on and it was imporant to us that they had four wheel drive and a reliable car. They drive a mini SUV and we tried to get one of the least expensive ones we could find.</p>

<p>I have not thought of my kids as spoiled and most kids here do have a car. My kids have one bought by parents and a newer one than some but my kids also have more than some kids here who are of far less means. Also, the car doesn't belong to either child. It is OUR car and we let whichever child who is home or at college who needs it, use it. I think of them as sharing it mostly, though D2 lives in NYC so has less need for it at this time. </p>

<p>Susan</p>

<p>PS, I respect that everyone has different value systems so what is right for one family may not be for the next. Some make their kids pay for college and in our case, we will be paying for it, as well as the college loans. Not all agree with that. By the way, my kids have held jobs. The money they earn is extra spending money in college and for various summer and other activiities.</p>

<p>Good ideas, fendergirl, I approve of them. :)</p>

<p>dke, there's still time to ponder your approach. When our oldest was 13 and our youngest 11, it was time for us to buy a new car. We scratched our heads a little and decided to save the Accord we were replacing as the "kids car". We were lucky to have the room to park it and insurance/registration on a car you're not driving is usually minimal. (Although it does need to be driven around the block every so often to keep it running.) At 15 1/2 our oldest learned to drive then got his license at 16, and was allowed to drive the Accord when needed. We gave him money each month calculated to pay for the gas needed to drive to/from school, practices, and volunteer work, as he took over those responsibilities from us (and drove his younger brother to school, too). If that wasn't enough gas, well, he was responsible for paying for anything over that (since he was using it for non-essential purposes). He was already off to college when his younger bro got his license a year ago, so similar use of the car passed on to the younger. So if you're anywhere near time to be getting a car for yourself, you might consider keeping the replaced car as "kid car" if there's any way you can afford to do so.</p>

<p>Anecdote: This summer, older son bought and refurbished a '78 VW van, which he'd always been dreaming of, using his own savings from work. We offered to pay half the cost, but ended up not doing so. Younger son got a job this summer and is saving up for his first vehicle (which I shudder to admit is a <em>motorcycle</em>, but hey, he hasn't actually bought anything yet so maybe he'll change his mind). Somehow, as others have said, saving for your own vehicle makes it more yours and I think you appreciate it more. Most of the kids we know who've been given vehicles, like in your town, don't seem to appreciate it, they treat it like an entitlement somehow. Doesn't seem right to me.</p>

<p>If you're not going to ask your child to pay for their vehicle, at least they should be responsible for paying for all or part of their insurance costs. Never to early to meet the real world.</p>

<p>EDIT: I prefer the idea of saving the family car for the kid(s) and purchasing a replacement for the parents, rather than getting an unknown used quantity for the kids. I'd rather it be me dealing with a surprise engine problem than my new 16-year-old driver without the same experience.</p>

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In my experience, in many instances kids get cars because it makes life more convenient for the parents, who no longer have to juggle their schedules to provide transportation for the kid. In such instances, I don't think the kid should be obligated to pay for the car. It wasn't the kid's decision to buy it, and it isn't really for his benefit (although he will certainly enjoy the greater freedom it provides).

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<p>That's the reason I caved in. In addition, my daughter was the last of her friends to turn 16, so they had been chauffering her around in their cars for a year. I had planned on buying a recent used car, but when shopping around found there wasn't that much difference between that and new. She doesn't need her car at college, so little sis will be getting it when she turns 16 next month (after we repair all the dings :eek:).</p>

<p>BTW, I didn't get my first car until age 25.</p>

<p>dke, in a related thought it might also be a good idea to check out the thread on these boards that discussed selecting and managing the teen driver auto insurance issues. Can anyone help locate that thread?</p>

<p>

Not if they have to drive the pieces of junk that WE own!!! <em>ROFLMAO</em></p>

<p>Seriously, though. we have *family cars" that our driving kids my use. NONE of our cars is extravagant, in fact, our NEWEST car is a 1993, so I'm not overly worried about fender benders. I am not ashamed to say that it is MUCH more convenient for me to have my high schooler(s) drive. This year, I have 5 kids in four different schools, each with its own special starting time and its traffic issues. I am grateful to my oldest D for getting herself and her sister to school each day and for doing the transport for afternoon ECs.</p>

<p>I personally would not buy a vehicle and assign it to one child in this family. We simply could not afford that, and it's not something that I would do regardless. But having a family car available for their use is great with me, and yes, we pay the insurance and gas for it. </p>

<p>~berurah</p>

<p>We live in an area where a lot of kids get those Lexus and BMW's (and Hummers and ...) for their 16th birthday (and sometimes for their 15th since you can get a permit at 14!) We bought a car when my D turned 16 and it was hers to drive but it wasn't her car. This year when her brother turned 16 and she was off to college, she had a tough time with the idea it wasn't her car anymore. She could have a car at college, but if she does, it will probably be when her brother goes off to college and that car is available again.
We did not buy the luxury car, we don't drive those cars ourselves. We did not go with the old clunker that I thought we might. We decided we wanted all of the new safety features and air bags- we bought a Honda CRV. I'm hoping it lasts for my 11 and 12 year old too! We paid for all expenses as long as she was busy with school and the grades were high- I didn't want school to sacrifice for money for her car. My son is not as busy and he will be paying for gas. One friend fills her kids car with one tank a month- more than that, the kids have to pay.
It just has to work in your family, in your life. It's spoiling if your kid drives a better car than you do and you don't hold them responsible for anything.</p>

<p>S2 received H's hand-me-down when he earned his driver's license. He, too, attended school about 40 minutes away. He stayed with the established carpool through grade 10, then drove himself. It definitely fell into the category of parental convenience. </p>

<p>Our financial arrangement: we paid for insurance and gas to/from school. He paid for recreational gas, and if his behavior caused any increase in insurance rates, he would be responsible for that, too.</p>

<p>We have four family cars and our two college kids each have one at their college. Our oldest got the use of one car when she was a senior in High School. We also live in an area without public transportation and daughter was involved in many before and after school activities. She was content to have her friends drive her around for almost two years before she felt the need to drive. After she went off to college (without the car) her younger brother got his license and he was able to drive himself to early morning band and drive younger brother to Boy Scouts, piano lessons and after school orchestra. He really, really, helped us with that since I had to work during those times. My husband now grumps about taking our youngest to Scouts and I've had to re-arrange my schedule to accomodate the rest.</p>

<p>Our kid cars are clunkers. One is my parents old K-car and the other is my husbands old Jetta. Insurance in our area is a pretty good deal - we pay about $1,000 for both cars for the year. We live in a not very busy area and for the first year, both kids never drove into a city. </p>

<p>We do not pay for gas, but do pay for everything else. I prefer having family cars so that we have a little more control over it. I would also set limits on driving for the six months or first year until your son proves himself to be a responsible driver.</p>

<p>Great question ... I would never give a HS kid a car that is theirs .... in an area where the kids need to be driven everywhere I would probably buy another fmaily car that is a 10 year old Honda Civic (or some other reliable, cheap to buy, cheap to maintain, and not fast) if it would help the logistics a lot. We're signed up for tuition, room and board, and books at any good college our kids get into ... that plan greatly reduces the cash layed out for other things ... the kids can figure out how to pay for cars, spring vacation trips, college allowance, etc.</p>

<p>We are facing this dilemma as I plan to go back to work soon after taking a break for the past 8 monhths. Our 17 yo senior (D) has use of my car at this time. She would love to have her own car, but for many of the reasons stated above, we don't think it is a good idea. She works, but not enough to afford a car or insurance. </p>

<p>In order to get my kids to their afterschool committments, I will have to curtail my work hours at 3 pm....if I work past that, then we have to buy another car. Once our older D goes to college, we may not need the third car. Our younger D will be driving then, so she could use it for her needs. It is just such an expense but such a convenience when both parents work. We don't have public transportation nearby, either.</p>

<p>We don't know yet what we will do, but I think we will be forced to buy a car. I, too, have researched buying an used car, but it does not make much sense...they are priced so high you may as well get a new one with the full warranty, etc.</p>

<p>I lasted about 4 months with trying to juggle #1S's desire to get himself around with my car, my use of my car and the need to haul the younger 2 kids around with my car. YIKES! Our third car purchase really was a convenience for me. We ended up with an older, plain looking, safe and slow rig that may be one of the oldest cars in the high school lot, especially now that it's going on year 4 of the high school circuit. #1S drove it for junior and senior year (and hauled his sister to school). D drove it junior year and is now a senior hauling younger brother to school. This is definitely a good arrangement for me! (Next year I will be back to full time taxi service until youngest can drive-drats!)</p>

<p>From the beginning I established that this was Mom's other car. It has a name, compliments of it's previous owner, so we call the car by name; never refer to it as the kids car. I don't drive it often, but I do drive it. When oldest is home, the kids have to coordinate schedules. We have opted to pay the majority of the costs as it really is for parent convenience. The kids are expected to keep it reasonably clean and help get it to and fro for maintenance. If mine or husband's is in the shop, we get dibs if we need it. Unusual, kid recreation trips are fueled with their "nickel". Older has been expected to help haul younger. Knock on wood, we've been extremely lucky that they have been responsible, safe and sane drivers to date. (#1S was always the preferred driving in his group-by kids AND parents; I confess, I always felt better if I knew he was the driver.)</p>

<p>Considering the tough school schedule and the number of ECs my kids have going, they do not have time for a paying job. If they were not this involved in outside commitments, there would be different expectations for earning some $$ and handling more/all of the expenses of this perk they have. </p>

<p>So is it spoiling a teen to buy them a car? Pretty much yes. But providing them with transportation doesn't necessarily do so.</p>

<p>great ideas, dogwood--gotta keep looking for that perfect parent-helper third car.</p>

<p>Something to think about for a momment. Did you ever wonder why women outnumber men in college? Are men really that bad that they don' go to college? What's the biggest purchase most teens make? A car and insurance. Now they need to work to pay for insurance or buy stuff for their car, what happens to their grades? I've seen this for years, kids that should be planning for college joining the work force early to pay for stuff for their car and the insurance because they don't get the good student discount. It's a vicous cycle. </p>

<p>What did we do? First and foremost the "kids" first job is school work. It pays off. In our case between the two kids, it paid off to the tune of around $250,000 for college. That was their job. They did not get full access to their cars until senior year as we had them as part time drivers. The cars they recieved are my old business cars that while not beautiful, have very dependable 4.3 v-6 engines that are still going 20 years and 17 years respectfully. Any "new" cars, and I use that term only in the sense of new to us, we got. </p>

<p>I would ask you to think about what's more important in the big picture? I'm not saying absolutely no, but think about what goals you want for your kids.</p>