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The New Car Generation Gap

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Car ownership is on teens’ minds. For those ages 15 to 17, 76 percent say they understand the financial responsibilities of owning a car. Unfortunately, for the parents of those 15- to 17-year-olds, 85 percent disagree.

One reason for this gap? It could be because 86 percent of teens believe parents should help with automobile expenses like insurance, repairs or gas, while 91 percent of parents think such assistance is unreasonable.

These results come from a new study conducted by Junior Achievement and the American Honda Finance Corporation.

Among other interesting statistics are these: while one-fourth of teens looked forward to receiving keys to a new car as a graduation gift this year, 61 percent of parents expected to hear complaints from their teens about the financial costs associated with car ownership within 30 days.

"When it comes to newly licensed drivers, in addition to important discussions about distractions and curfews, parents should rev up the car talk about the financial aspects of car ownership," says Jack E. Kosakowski, president and chief executive officer of Junior Achievement USA. "It's a great way to prepare them for future financial security both on and off the road."

Parents do believe there is some benefit to teen car ownership. Sixty-one percent of parents said a car is a more effective way to teach kids financial responsibility than giving them a credit card. To help illustrate this, 96 percent of parents said they would help their teen buy a car once they demonstrated responsibility by preparing a budget, saving up for the car or explaining to a parent what buying a car would entail.

So for those teens still looking to snag a car from mom or dad, perhaps a little research and time in a spreadsheet will help.

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