Helping Teens To Be Safe Drivers

This article was written by Celeste Friend, CFP®, a Financial Advisor with BELLWETHER INVESTMENT GROUP LLC. Celeste is a featured financial advisor in Boomerater's Chattanooga financial advisor directory.

There was a story in the news a year or so ago concerning "The Meanest Mother on the Planet". A mom referred to herself in this way due to her decision to take away her 19 year old son's car, three weeks after giving it to him, because she found alcohol under the seat. When she and her husband purchased the car for their son she had specified that the car doors always be locked, and that there would be no alcohol.

She passed by the car one day, in the driveway at home. The doors weren't locked and she found alcohol. She ran an ad to sell the car explaining why she was selling it and explained how very "uncool" she was being.

I took a different approach to making my son responsible. When he turned 16, I bought him a car. I wasn't naïve enough to think that he and his friends wouldn't find access to alcohol if they wanted it. And even though he had always been a good boy he was still a boy. I knew there would be times that his friends or the simple foolishness of youth would overcome his better judgment.

So I put a financial spin on it. I paid for the car, but the expense of the insurance was his. During the telephone call to my insurance agent when I got the rates for a 16 year old male, I also got rates for that same driver with a speeding ticket, a wreck, and a DUI. I organized them into the small table (below) and presented the information to my son. In addition to my sincere threat to his well-being if he EVER got behind the wheel drunk, we discussed how the cost of any additional insurance was prohibitively expensive - he just didn't have the earning capacity - and who wants to spend their hard-earned money that way to begin with?

Sixteen year old male good student discount*

Speeding Ticket







*Prices are based on six month charges

**Attorney's fees, towing, and bail excluded

Our discussion was over six years ago. And guess what? My son has a clean driving record. It was also a valuable lesson in the consequences of his actions and has helped him correlate financial aspects into decisions that he makes. Hopefully, this thought process should serve him well all of his life!

Celeste Friend, CFP® is a Financial Advisor with BELLWETHER INVESTMENT GROUP LLC.