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Though dozens of studies have found a relatively low percentage of driver’s license ownership among young adults, a recent poll found that it is not for lack of interest in owning a car. Research firm Nielsen states that roughly 80 percent of millennials (which in includes anyone aged 18 to 34) disagree with the statement “Owning a vehicle is not worth the money.” Cars have always symbolized independence and opportunity, and young people continue to value those features today. In fact, the number of auto loans provided to millennials has increased dramatically in recent years.
Still, it is important for 20-somethings to seriously consider their needs before investing in a car, especially considering the immense amounts of money involved. What follows are a few pros and cons of car ownership to help millennials on the fence decide whether driving is worth it.
Cons: Why Buying a Car Might Not Be Right
A car is the second-largest purchase most people ever make, which means properly owning a car requires significant financial, physical, and emotional responsibility. Not every car is appropriate for every lifestyle, which means a young person must be willing perform research on different makes and models to find the right vehicle.
Additionally, a car owner must constantly be aware of his or her car’s location and condition, as such an important investment must be adequately protected maintained. Those unwilling to devote time and energy to their vehicles might not be good candidates for car ownership.
Furthermore, there are three main cons to owning a car:
- Costs. It is impossible to ignore the fact that cars cost thousands upon thousands of dollars. Few young people can afford to buy a vehicle outright, which means most make monthly payments that rival their rents. On top of this, most states mandate some form of auto insurance as well as payments for registration. This amounts to hundreds of dollars per month, even before one considers the cost of fuel or maintenance. The initial cost alone makes car ownership impossible for many 20-somethings.
- Maintenance and repairs. Constantly evaluating a vehicle’s condition and providing necessary repairs is out of most young people’s ken, which means most young car owners must waste time and money on mechanics to keep their cars in good, working order. Sometimes, the number of initial repairs a vehicle needs is overwhelming ― which might necessitate a visit to a lemon law lawyer if the car began needing repairs almost immediately after purchase. Unfortunately, even when maintenance is simply routine, it can cost infuriating amounts of time and money.
- Storage. Those who are weighing the pros and cons of buying a car likely don’t have a home with a secure garage, which means storage is a serious issue for young car owners. The street can be a dangerous place for a vehicle, where bad drivers, vandals, and thieves can wreak all sorts of expensive damage. In big cities, safe parking can cost by the day or hour, which adds yet another worrying expense to the car owner’s budget.
While owning a vehicle has its drawbacks, there are still plenty of reasons why you should have one. Here are four of the most convincing reasons to buy a personal vehicle:
- They are fast. A car gets a person from A to B with few interruptions. Cars can move faster than bikes and skateboards, and they don’t stop nearly as often as busses or trains. Young people can get where they need to go lightning-quick when they travel by car.
- They are private. Most commuters have more than a few horror stories from public transit. Traveling alongside other members of the public can be invasive as well as dangerous, so the privacy and control offered by a personal car seems glamorous in comparison.
- They are comfortable. When given the choice between a cramped subway car with standing-room only and a cozy, temperature-controlled vehicle, almost all would choose the latter. New car features are allowing cabins to become more and more cozy, which makes car travel difficult to turn down.
- They are relatively reliable. It isn’t uncommon to wait for a mode of public transportation for more than an hour only to discover that the line is down all day. Though cars can create unhappy surprises ― like a dead battery in the parking lot or a busted radiator during a road trip ― with proper maintenance, young people can be close to certain that they have a way to get around 24/7.
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