Young & Restless: Why Youthful Drivers Shouldn’t Rush to Buy Cars
Youth is one of the most enjoyable times of a person’s life. If you’re still what society considers young, make the most of it! But it’s also a stressful period where you might feel the need to reach important milestones. First dates, graduating from college or university, a first apartment – everyone expects you to reach those steps at some time. And then there’s your first car. Maybe you’ve always loved automobiles and still want to purchase that dream car of yours. Or you may have owned a few cars before, but have a special one in mind. There’s no harm in wanting a car, but there are a few things you need to watch out for if you are a young driver.
Putting a Face on Young Adult Drivers
When we refer to young drivers, we’re not just talking about teenagers here. In fact, we’re talking about young adults as a whole – the people aged 16 – 34 (yep, you’re not ancient at 30). These are your formative years, where there’s a ton of shifting around, relocating, transitioning, “finding yourself” and many more adjectives that define your ever-changing life.
Your finances, namely your credit history, are beginning to take shape, and what you do now can set you on a good or bad path for many years to come. That’s why you want to make sure that buying a car doesn’t hurt your wallet. No matter what car you buy, it will turn into a commitment that will require a lot from you. So it better be something that’s manageable.
In a Rush
As mentioned in the opening section however, there’s a lot of pressure on you as a young person. Society makes you feel that you’ve only got one shot to make things happen, or else you’ll fail. It’s true that you can’t change the past, and it’s also true that some things are better established at a younger age. But it’s also true that young people nowadays feel rushed to do things before they reach a certain age. No wonder there’s such thing as a quarter-life crisis! For many people, owning a car is one of those milestones they feel they have to reach early. If you feel this way too, keep in mind that buying a car isn’t a one-off deal.
The Baggage of Car Ownership
Have you ever said you don’t want to be “tied down to anything or anyone?” Well guess what – buying a car will definitely do that for you. With that said, it’s by no means a bad thing if you’re able to make all your payments. But it’s still a commitment that you will hold onto, as long as you own that vehicle.
Throughout the week
Although we can’t speak for everyone, there’s a good chance that a car will have its weekly costs. Gas expenses are one of them, especially if you’re driving a vehicle with a V6 engine, turbocharger or if you’re one of those people who lives on the road. Hopefully, you don’t live in a major city, because gas prices tend to be higher in these areas. Aside from gas, you’ve got things like parking expenses. Not all of you are privileged to have employee parking or free parking at school, meaning you have to put money in those meters. And as you probably know already, parking ticket costs add up – whether you decide to pay for them or disregard the law!
Throughout the month
When we talk about commitment, your monthly payments are the ones that stand out the most. First of all, there’s your loan – assuming you are going to finance the car. You might spend anywhere from $200 – $400 a month on these payments, depending on the size of your loan, and your initial down payment. Secondly, there’s your insurance premium – a necessary evil (the cost of not paying for it is much higher). Depending on your age and gender (young male drivers ages 16 – 24 pay more), driving record and location, your insurance will vary. That too is a monthly payment which you’ll be responsible for.
Throughout the year
You’ve also got to budget for other expenses as well, such as your vehicle’s performance, maintenance and emergency repairs. You’ve got things like tire replacements, oil changes, and occasional bodywork. You might also have to replace brake parts. And then there are those rarer but more serious fixes that you have to make, whether it’s a leak or damaged/warped part. They’re the repairs that are usually the most costly and burdensome. Fortunately, they don’t happen all the time (unless you bought a junk vehicle), but you still need to prepare for them just in case.
Leaving a Crater: How Will Buying a Car Impact Your Finances
Here’s the other dimension to owning a car – its impact on your finances. Buying a new set of wheels isn’t like buying a new smart T.V. It’s an expense you’ll have to manage for the next few years. That’s why you need to think about how the purchase of a new car will affect your other expenses. A car can be a vital asset to your life, but it can also add onto the stress you probably have already.
Being a younger adult, you might still have to pay off a student loan. Or you might have just bought your first home, which means a mortgage is involved. Whatever your situation is, you likely have at least one or two debts that you carry. Hopefully, they’re aren’t too heavy. Regardless of what debts you carry, you have to consider how the purchase of a car will affect them. Ask yourself whether it will make these debts harder to pay off, perhaps forcing you to make more sacrifices or taking longer to bring them down.
Complement or Crush Credit
Before getting an auto loan, you must first get approved. You can buy a vehicle with good credit, but end up having poor credit if the car is too expensive for your means. Ultimately, you want to buy a car that’s affordable, making it easy for you to make all those payments without any struggle. If you’re not confident in this, then you should think twice about buying a vehicle.
Spending and saving
You probably get a lot of advice to save, save, save as a young adult. But you’re in a stage of life where you should spend a little too. That means going out with friends, travelling, trying new fashion styles and participating in your favourite hobbies. It’s great to have a car, but if it gets in the way of enjoying life, it will be more of a burden than a blessing. So think about how a vehicle may affect your lifestyle before rushing out to buy one.
Buying a Car is Not a Race
There are few things that can beat the satisfaction of getting your first car (or dream vehicle). The feeling is even more rewarding if you’ve worked hard and made sacrifices. Hopefully, you’ll soon experience it for yourself. Remember though, rushing into a car purchase before you’re ready can rob you of that joy and your money in the long run. It’s understandable that you may feel pressured to buy a car if all your friends have one, or are in the process of getting one. But you have to keep in mind that it’s not a competition or race of any sort – young people who rush big ticket purchases often regret it later on. Focus on finding a vehicle that compliments your current job situation, finances and lifestyle. It may take some time but later on, you’ll thank yourself for waiting.