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(If and when) should you buy your youngster a car?

Posted by Royal Sundaram on 18 Mar 2010

As a parent, you aspire to give your child the best to help them build the foundation for their futures. Simultaneously, you also want them to enjoy their childhood and youth and all the magic that accompanies it. You do this with the knowledge that once they enter adulthood, the responsibilities and realities of the world will mean that many of their wishes will go unfulfilled.

Apart from a house, a car is probably the biggest gift and asset you will give your child as they step put into the world and quite obviously, some thought must go into it. Here are some of the factors you must consider before handing over the keys.

Does your child need a car? How often does your child need one? Would it be cheaper to rent a car for the few instances that she does? You need to decide if a car is actually going to positively affect your child time, productivity and safety.

Is your child mature enough to drive a car? Accidents are among the largest causes of unnatural death and unfortunately, youngsters account for a disproportionately large percentage of them. Besides potentially harming himself, your child could also fatally wound others. It is hence of extreme importance that you make an honest assessment of your child’s emotional and mental position and decide if they are mature enough to get behind the wheel.

Capability and skill
Your child might be mature but is she actually able to drive safely? Jeremy Clarkson famously said that it isn’t speed that kills, it’s the act of suddenly becoming stationary that does. Of course, there’s nothing to laugh about when a youth loses control while driving. Thus, your child is only ready to drive his own car after he can safely drive and has legally secured a driving license.

Financial implications
After going through the non-negotiable factors listed above, you finally need to decide if you can you actually afford to buy and maintain a second car? Can you continue to do so and also pay for car insurance for a year or two more?

If you intend securing a loan, you need to budget for the additional burden it will weigh on your household finances and have enough play to manage the same in the event that you lose your job through macroeconomic or health situations.

It is only after thinking and analyzing the aforementioned that you should make your decision to buy your son or daughter a car. Of course, acquiring insurance cover for the new car as well as yourself and your child will go a long way in ensuring peace of mind.

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