Tough love? No. This is real-life advice and a way to teach your kids that cars are a terrible investment that should NEVER be financed.
I have one kid in college and the other about to start. The older one saved a little money as we told him that if he wanted a car, he would have to buy it. He managed to save $4k by the time he needed a car.
Our younger child saved better and worked harder so by the time she needed a car, she had a little over $10k in the bank.
Both bought cars with cash and had $1k in their savings after the purchase for emergencies should anything go wrong.
My son bought a 2013 Mazda 6 for $2500. It needed 2 tires, and the driver’s window wouldn’t go up or down. So, $650 after purchase to take care of those things.
My daughter wanted a tiny car. She was looking at the Mini Coopers and Smart Cars. I talked her away from the Smart things because their repair history was abysmally bad. Minis have certain models, engines, and years that can also be terrible so I helped her navigate that mess while she bought a miniature BMW convertible for $8k. (by the way, umm, it’s a fun car to drive).
The idea isn’t that they picked the right or wrong car. It was their money and all I could offer was guidance. The idea is that it was THEIR money and THEIR choice.
My wife and I did not buy cars for our kids and won’t ever do that. Our kids worked hard, saved, and bought what they could with CASH. $0 was financed so if something gets upside down in their finances, they won’t have a payment hanging over their head.
Now that they have their cars and those cars are paid for, they put at least a car payment (if not more), into savings every month to cover maintenance and to save up for their next vehicle.
This is one thing regular people do to get wealthy – quit wasting money on stupid crap like financing cars and buying things on a credit card you can’t pay off.
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