Tuesday, April 19

The continuing financial education of my son – the car

This is the next phase of educating my son on financial matters which is slowly spinning up. As with any 15 year old, his thoughts are turning to a car. Besides your mortgage, a car is one of the biggest investments one will make. Plus for new drivers, the insurance is absolutely horrendous. When I first started driving here in the UK, I was first quoted £4000 per year for insurance. That was a huge bite out of my yearly salary. So here are some of my thoughts that I am trying to get into my son’s head. What do you think? What am I missing?

1. Dont. Yep, you heard me, dont buy a car if you live in London or any city with a functioning public transportation system. Your taxes are already going to pay for that system, you want to pay more? And if you do want to travel by car or where you are going is not easily achievable by public transportation, then hire a taxi or a car. You will find that over an year, it adds up. We didn't have a car for well over 10 years while we were in the UK, only purchased one when the tyke became big enough to need transportation on daddy’s taxi service all over the place.

2. A car is transportation. From A to B. Do you buy flight tickets based upon what’s the brand of the airplane manufacturer? Or the colour of the plane? Nope, then why would you purchase a car just because it is made by a particular manufacturer? Buy a car for a particular purpose, which is primarily transportation.

3. There are other reasons to purchase a car, for example to pick up girls. Very good, a convertible is perfect for that purpose. In which case, be smart about it. Any idiot can buy a supercar or a convertible but then again you are one of the crowd. How about a kit car? They are quirky, very sexy looking and provide greater sex appeal and attractiveness coefficient for your buck compared to a beamer. But then, as I told my son, remember that convertibles and kit cars are very narrow, cramped and very uncomfortable. You have to balance that out with the advantages of a 4x4 or a saloon which have more space in the rear and the position of the gear lever in the front is more conducive. I know, I know, but hey, I am his father, I need to tell him these things. Then again, I also told him to always keep 2 blankets (preferably one red and one black) and a rope in the car.

4. Buy a car and keep it till it falls apart or when the repair costs are more than your average . You see, cars become cheaper as they get older. As long as you get them regularly service them and replace things like batteries, tyres, oil, your car will run for years and years and years. I have a Honda CRV and its now 8 years old. Still works like a charm. Get it dealer serviced every year without fail. And will give it to my son to drive when he is old enough. I am also pushing him to think about building his own kit car. If nothing else, if he likes this idea, it would be a great father son thing to do :), and gets us men away from the girls, eh? :) Imagine building this car and driving it around. Fun :)

5. Drive carefully. This is perhaps going to fall on deaf ears while he is a teenager, but the most dangerous part of a car is the nut behind the wheel as they say. But no point in having an accident on your record and buggering up your driving history. That will seriously screw up your insurance and force you to pay far too much for far too long.

6. Insurance is going to be a bear and its best to start making financial provision for it from a relatively early time. Also, here are some great tips to reduce the cost of car insurance.

So what have I missed?

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