There are plenty of factors to weigh up when deciding whether or not you should fork out the money to purchase a vehicle for your kid, including:
- Does your child need a car to get by?
Ask yourself: does your child need a car to get by? If they are catching public transport or receiving lifts from you and this is working out well, there may not be an immediate requirement to buy a vehicle. However, if your child needs a car to get to and from their part-time or casual job, then it may be worth considering. If your child is asking for a car and you can see they only want one because all their friends do and they also want to go out on weekends, you may be able to work around this by sharing the family car with your child.
- Can you afford to purchase a new car?
Cars are expensive, no matter if you purchase one that is old or new. You will need to look at your budget and assess if you have the finances to buy one, and the finances to cover the costs of insurance and vehicle maintenance. Depending on your child’s job situation, they may be able to help cover some or all of the expenses of running and maintain the vehicle. If you are going to assist with costs that are additional to the purchase price of the car, you should make it clear what expenses you are willing to pay and what costs you expect them to manage. In other words, you may agree to pay the insurance premiums each year so long as your child agrees to pay for petrol and regular vehicle services.
- Is your child responsible?
As a parent, you will want to consider whether your child has the maturity to understand that driving a car comes with great responsibility. They should also realise that a car is expensive and needs to be taken care of in order to maximise its longevity. Moreover, driving a car is dangerous and there are risks involved. Irresponsible driving can result in expensive car repairs, or worse, injury or death. If you decide to buy a car, you may choose to either delay it until your child has more experience, or buy a new car with good safety features.
- Do you have other children?
If you have more than one child, particularly those who are reaching or are of legal driving age, you will want to think about the implications of buying a car for one child. Do you buy one car for each child or buy one that they can share? If it is the latter, you should be clear with any expectations such as each person is responsible for covering the costs of fuel and/or the repayments.
There are many considerations involved and what you do is dependent on your personal and financial situation.
Whatever decision you choose, you should always have a good discussion with your child to explain your rationale.