When our oldest reached driving age, we handed down our 2002 Buick Rendezvous for him to drive. It’s not his car. It’s Mom and Dad’s car that he gets to drive until he gets his own car. No, it’s not a kid’s dream car but beggars can’t be choosers. It’s big, safe, and perfect for a kid to learn on.
My wife and I agreed to pay half (our half is capped at $4,000) on our boys’ second vehicles. Our oldest son has been scrimping and saving for about a year now. His goal: the Jeep my Dad drove when he was alive. Our son passed his goal of $4,000 a couple of weeks ago. He was still saving in order to pay the taxes on the purchase. All was great until last week when he was in a line of cars slow moving cars and let off the brake and rolled into a minivan.
We’re already paying enough for insurance as it is so I told the other person that we would pay him cash. We settled on $700, which my son paid out of his Jeep savings account. He wasn’t happy about it but I felt it was his responsibility to pay for this mistake. There’s no doubt about it: zapping $700 from his account was quite a setback. After he calmed down, he did some math and figured out that he should still have his part of the money saved up by the time we go to Kansas to pick up the Jeep (if he doesn’t, we will put off the trip until he does).
I’m not posting this to brag about my parenting. I’m posting it because I think it’s good for kids to pay for their mistakes. If I were to file this on insurance, our rates surely would have increased. Yes, I probably would have made him pay the difference but this was seemed easier and it also stung more. I’m certain he will not forget the sting of this accident for a very long time.
It’s a good learning experience.