Have You Taught Your Teenagers How to Buy a Car?
Our 18-year-old son is about to become the third teenager in our home that we have helped purchase his first car. I thought it might be of help to you to explain how we go about this process in our home.
First, we establish a budget of how much he can afford. The deal is he has to have 50% of the money to pay for the car in cash and be able to pay for all the other expenses associated with owning the car. Because he has been working and saving for so long, he is prepared to be able to afford a quality, older model used car. He will pay for his half and then for tax, registration fees, maintenance, insurance and gas.
Before he picks a car, he has to learn to do his research. He has to study the history and prices of the cars he likes on websites like Edmonds.com, CarFax.com and Kelly Blue Book. The goal is to be very knowledgeable of what he is buying and the value of the car. Next, he has to find the car at the right price he wants by keeping up with listings on-line, checking local dealerships and waiting for the right opportunity. It is a slow process. He’s been working on it for over six months.
Ideally, we want to buy from an owner who has kept good maintenance records. Once we find the car, we will go together and do the inspection and make an offer. All this is to prepare our boys to be able to make a good purchase on their own which will happen a number of times throughout their life. We also want them to appreciate their first car and take good care of it.
For all of us, buying a car is a major decision and an important practical lesson to teach our children.
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