By on March 11, 2019

It looks as though more parents are increasingly paying for the transportation needs of their (sometimes very old) children.

Thanks largely to abandoning the important job of parenthood, a Bank of America survey a discovered small portion of adults between age 23 and 37 are now able to put away legitimate savings. However, the prevalence of student debt, low-paying jobs, and an increased cost of living has left many to continue scrimping and saving. In fact, most Millennials under 24  had less than $1,000 in their savings accounts, with nearly half having no savings at all. The former was also true for older members of the same generation. On average, it’s presumed that Millennials are earning 20 percent less than their Boomer parents at the same stage in life — despite being better educated, overall.

That’s causing future issues for the automotive industry. When Bankrate surveyed Americans to get their financial priorities on record last month, 23 percent of respondents specified that student-loan debt directly influenced their decision to delay purchasing a new car. Considering both monthly payments are frequently set to the tune of hundreds of dollars, that would make a lot sense. 

However, the problem is pinning down how many parents are still footing the bill so their kids can drive. While Automotive News provided heaps of anecdotal evidence, concrete statistics remain elusive. The outlet noted that automakers and other agencies gather demographic data that measures the number of households with children in them in an attempt to keep tabs on who is driving, but nobody keeps track of the ages of those children. But there are metrics that can give us a decent idea of how broad the issue has become.

From Automotive News:

Vehicle purchases and student loans — whether for themselves or their children — are two of the biggest contributors to increasing debt for older Americans. People 60 and up had total debt of $615 billion in 2017, according to TransUnion, which is less than millennials owe on student loans alone.

Americans 60 and older held 21 percent of total automotive balances in 2017, vs. 12 percent in 2010, TransUnion said. Auto loans now account for $246 billion, or 40 percent, of their total debt.

For all Americans, fast-rising student loan debt is sapping income they could have used for other purposes, including a vehicle. More than a quarter of millennials with student loan debt have delayed buying a car because of it, according to a survey by Bankrate.com released in February, with the Midwest as the region most likely to cite loans holding back a vehicle purchase.

Since the recession, used-car purchases from individuals over the age of 55 have consistently increased while the inverse is true for shoppers under 34. Between 2008 and the start of 2018, older buyers went from comprising 20 percent of used-vehicle registrations to just under 35 percent. Meanwhile, those under 34 went from being around 25 percent of the used market to just 16 percent.

While the issue is frequently painted as a signal from younger generations that they’re less interested in owning a vehicle, the truth is a little more complicated. Car ownership has become more expensive and, with less disposable income, younger buyers simply cannot shoulder the burden. According to transaction data from Cox Automotive company Dealertrack, the average monthly payments for a new vehicle has increased to $533 in the last five years. That’s about $40 a month more per loan and $70 more for a lease.

“[Millennials] are far more likely to tell us that owning a vehicle has just become too expensive,” said Isabelle Helms, vice president of research and market intelligence at Cox Automotive. “We know their financial situations. We know they are plagued with debt.”

However, for most Americans, having a vehicle remains mandatory.

“We live in a country where you have to have a car. Uber is not an affordable alternative. You can’t get an Uber every day to your job,” said Jonathan Banks, general manager of vehicle valuations at J.D. Power. “The majority of our population is still in a [more] rural setting.”

That leaves many Millennials’ comparatively wealthy parents to foot the bill for their transportation needs.  Dina Wilson, general manager and finance director of Timbrook Kia in Cumberland, MD, told Automotive News that the prevalence of parent-and-child customers at her store has clearly increased. “I’ve seen a lot more of those than what there ever used to be,” Wilson said. “As finance managers, we all need to be more aware of who our customer is in front of us.”

In the end, it would appear that we have an unusually large portion of the population purchasing used vehicles (rather than new ones) for their adult children who cannot afford to do it themselves. While this is fine as a temporary solution to a particularly bad recession or a period of time where their offspring is unemployed, lackluster incomes and overwhelming debt makes us wonder how many of these people will ever be able to purchase a new vehicle. And what happens to the market when those Boomers finally become too old to help their kids?

[Image: Mikbiz/Shutterstock]

 

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124 Comments on “Parents Are Buying Loads of Cars for Their Adult Children...”


  • avatar
    forward_look

    Some of those kids should have been auto mechanics, plumbers, or electricians instead of going to college.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Yup…

      Don’t stop with just a High School Diploma kid but that doesn’t mean you have to go to traditional 4 year college.

    • 0 avatar
      NoID

      Found Mike Rowe.

    • 0 avatar
      ToolGuy

      I spoke with an attorney whose son got a two-year degree in Mechatronics and now out-earns dad maintaining production lines. Tuition was *free* in their home state.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      True, but not everyone’s cut out to be a workin’ man. Some folks are better suited for white collar work. Here’s the rub – whether a particular white collar job requires a four-year degree or not, the companies filling those jobs won’t look at anyone with a lesser education. And people who are able to “work their way” into jobs without a four-year degree often don’t make as much as more educated workers.

      Employers need to re-evaluate their educational requirements.

      And, as Dan says, students need to re-evaluate how they go about getting a four-year degree. There’s no law that says you have to ‘go away to college.’ More kids are doing two years at community college, and then finishing up at a four-year school, or going to ‘in town’ four-year colleges, which is what my oldest daughter did. She could have gone to a place like CU or CSU, and racked up at least twice what she did in student debt. Instead, she stayed “in town” and graduated with $20,000 or so in debt, which is manageable.

      • 0 avatar
        EGSE

        I take issue with some of what you stated here. As a project leader and department manager in the electronics field I was often appalled at how unprepared some of the fresh-outs were in the engineering field. The first one or two years were remedial education to get them to a level above uselessness. Some never made it. How they got their diploma is a mystery. They usually were let go. This included some of the biggest name universities. And a survey by Electronic Design News, an engineering trade publication, showed that the median earning power of the non-degreed engineer was a few percent more than the median BSEE grad. In my experience they were in general as competent as the average grad and usually had a broader background that gave them an advantage. For some fields such as legal and medical that won’t hold true so a broad-brush characterization isn’t valid.

        When I needed an electronic tech I hired ETs getting out of the Navy if I couldn’t hire someone I knew. The results were so consistently good I didn’t even look to trade schools or community colleges. I couldn’t spend time raking through gravel to find the nugget I needed.

        As you pointed out there is a “degree-snobbishness” that IMO does not serve the prospective student or employer well. Some of the new grads came in with close to $200K student loan debt and it dogged them into their thirties. Others like some of the techs took advantage of the employer tuition programs and got the same paper debt-free, and were more useful because they also had real-world experience. The education racket is just that, a racket. Tuition has increased at a rate greater than inflation and really took a spike when student load debt couldn’t be discharged via bankruptcy. The product costs more without an increase in quality. Because of this the tech industry is starved of capable people and hiring managers increasingly are looking to H1Bs to fill the gap; this depresses the wage scales across the board, making it even tougher for someone carrying a large debt load. If it keeps going much farther the value proposition of a diploma will be in jeopardy for more fields than it already is.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          …and, as you say, there’s also the problem of universities simply passing people who have no business being passed. It really is a mess.

          I’m no education expert, but I think some of this could be addressed by a more focused approach on a career path, and the specific skills and experience needed for that path, versus spending time taking courses that don’t really help the student “get there.” This approach would also probably be more cost efficient.

          A liberal arts background is essential for any number of careers (law, education, medicine, etc), but – and tell me if I’m way off base here – that seems like a ‘nice to have’ in a field like engineering. Ditto for computer science. Why do you need a class in comparative religion to code?

          One liberal arts class that needs to stay is English, however – I’m shocked by how many of my co-workers simply can’t write coherently. I applied for a job not too long ago, and as part of the hiring process they required me to write an essay. I asked them why I needed to do that for a mortgage underwriting job, and their answer was: we need to know you can actually string together a sentence in coherent English. It’s gotten that bad.

          You’re right when you say that college has largely become a racket, but like any racket, if you don’t pay, you don’t play.

          • 0 avatar
            EGSE

            @FreedMike Agree with everything….at least for engineering a lot of the course work had little value in helping the student prepare for their soon-to-be daily grind (courses in Criminality a possible exception). And I also saw the poor communication skills you touched on. When part of a larger team it’s necessary if they’re going to be effective. There were times where we had working prototypes or about-to-be-released code being reviewed and we had to point out spelling errors or nonsense text in displays. Early on I did six months doing tech writing for operation and maintenance manuals; staff was being riffed and it was a safe haven. The department head tried to keep me when work picked up because I could write complete sentences that actually described what it was written for. Like you said, it is that bad.

            National debt….Student debt coupled with ever-higher cost of entry….None of the solutions posed by the pols running for office appear to be sustainable or to address the problem. Most of the B&B make more sense then they do. I have no clue where it will end. I’m grouchy…..no cup of Joe yet for my drug dependency ergo this rant…..sorry guys.

            Good article Matt; your writing is some of the best on this site.

          • 0 avatar
            DavidB

            My dad always told me, “He who knows how will always have a job. He who knows why will always be the boss.” A liberal arts education helps (but doesn’t guarantee) to answer the “why” of work.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            @Davidb:

            Makes sense, but maybe people could focus on a vocation-first approach to start their careers, and then perhaps pick up more of a liberal arts background as they progress. Problem is, as it stands, you get people spending tens of thousands extra on classes they don’t need to begin their careers, and they’re more or less forced to do so by potential employers.

            There’s a reason why colleges are able to charge what they do and get away with it, and the old “unlimited student loan availability” argument only partially explains that.

        • 0 avatar
          Bill Wade

          Same thing I did for my company, hired almost exclusively Navy veteran ET and IC ratings (I was an IC myself).

          Excellent techs that didn’t act entitled or thought they knew vastly more than they did.

        • 0 avatar
          James Charles

          EGSE,
          The military produces some fine techs and engineers.

          Agility and the ability to transfer knowledge work hand in hand. The military survives on this skill. Not all have this and are slowly weeded out of the military. I see civil society as different. Many in civil tech and engineering jobs are not exposed to array of challenges we encounter in the military.

    • 0 avatar
      nrd515

      Absolutely. A friend’s kid is a plumber and makes good money, his fiancee is an electrician, they have a nice house and both drive almost new cars. Not glamorous enough for a lot of their friends who make half what he or she makes. The young guys I know that have their own houses and decent vehicles are one of the three professions you mention, or are computer ubernerds who are scary smart. Most of the under 30 aged people I know have pretty crappy jobs for college grads and drive beaters that used to belong to mom/dad or grandpa/grandma. They can’t really afford much else unless they still live at home. I’m the old guy at where I work, and they all drool over my car and mutter, “Some day, I’m gonna be able to buy something like that!”, while getting into their 20 year old Taurus. One “kid” I know has two degrees, history and literature, and she makes enough to live in a crappy apartment, and drive a nasty old Cavalier working at a call center for a mortgage company.

      • 0 avatar
        jatz

        It’s become a Pol Pot world for all the ex-middle class kids lured into educational paths of liberal intellection (the inverse of STEM & Business).

        Don’t nobody need liberal intellection; it’s just a safe haven for already-wealthy descendants of the acquisitive.

  • avatar
    jatz

    In Trump households those boys and girls still make babies and doom their parents to a lifetime of crowded houses full of in-laws and never-empty driveways.

    In AOC/Harris/Sanders households those boys and girls are no longer quite either of those things and doom their parents to a similar lifetime commitment with insurance hikes and psychiatric interventions taking the place of the Trumpists’ childcare costs.

    It just seems like kids are screwed no matter what.

    • 0 avatar
      ToolGuy

      I was taught to parent in such a way that your kids will still have *something* to discuss with their therapist.

    • 0 avatar
      Lockstops

      I thought those other households wanted to murder all their children after they’re born or before that, and that they want to put those other households’ children into prison because they have the wrong views, wear the wrong kinds of hats and want to drive cars instead of public transport? That’s a lot of households with less burden from adult children hanging around…

      (I’m not serious

      …or am I?)

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Increased cost of living in particular in housing and wage stagnation.

    I ‘graduated’ at the age of 27, after returning to school as a ‘mature student’. Worked year round throughout university and college so that I had minimal debt and could afford to own/operate a relatively new car.

    At that time working fulltime at minimum wage in the summer provided enough income for a student to pay for tuition, books, ancillaries and allow some money for ‘entertainment’.

    Within 2 years of graduating had zero debt and was able with my wife to put a down payment on a new build single family detached home.

    That is well nigh impossible for today’s graduates.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Real Estate Agents have nicknamed Millennials as “Generation Rent” due to things like college debt.

      I’m a Gen X and my wife is toward the old side of Millennial. We’ve decided to start looking for a home and get out of renting. Due to her student loan debt and a few late payments and a deferment while she was on maternity leave, banks were willing to loan me more money by myself than they would loan us jointly.

      • 0 avatar
        MrIcky

        In my area, it’s also called generation rent, but because of skyrocketing home prices. Between 2011 and 2018 the median home price has gone from 120ish to 300ish. Builders won’t make “starter homes” because there’s no cash in it. Millenials just don’t have a chance right now- at least here.

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      I respectfully disagree a bit Arthur. A lot of the collegiate folks today do not work, they borrow every last dime to get the ‘experience’ of college. I have zero empathy for these people. If you work while going to school, you can reduce your debt need dramatically.
      As I stated below. 168 hours a week. Most take 15 hours of class per semester + the minimum required 1 hour spend on class for each in gives you another 15, so now we are at 30. Add 10 more to be safe, 40. Less some sleep of 60 hours a week…168-60-40 = 68 hours a week. Their is ample time for a job….

      • 0 avatar
        PandaBear

        87 Morgan, you have to think about tuition and how long it takes to graduate when you work while going to school.

        Say your education is 60k a year after cost of living, you would be foolish to make $15 an hour instead of loading up with summer school and internship. The problem is they are likely going to make $17 / hr after graduation for a while with that loan for the 4 year degree, say, $200k.

        Saying someone can work 68 hours a week while going to school full time is foolish to be polite, I’d like to see you try working 68 hours on top of another 40 hr full time job and see what would happen to you. Your grade will be so bad no one will hire you even if you graduate.

        • 0 avatar
          87 Morgan

          I am sorry, 60k a year for a college education absurd.

          240k for an undergraduate degree makes zero sense when you can get the same degree from any # of accredited institutions for 100k or less. 2 years of CC majoring in highly transferable credits brings the total bill down to the 50k – 60k zip code.

          Oh, and never take an unpaid internship. That is indentured servitude. One of the top 10 biggest scams in America, the ‘internship’. I did one in college, got paid for it and got 3 credit hours.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            I’m not opposed to unpaid internships per se – if you do them right, you can network and pad your resume. That stuff helps.

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        87 Morgan what sort of college did you go to, for what sort of degree? A serious engineering degree has you hitting the books for way more than your back of the napkin math, if you want to make those loans worth anything in terms of decent grades. No doubt living frugally and doing some part time work and summer internships, applying for every scholarship under the sun can help A LOT. But it’s no longer the 70s, or the 80s, or even the 90s. Cost of secondary education is in a MAJOR bubble.

        • 0 avatar
          jack4x

          @gtem,

          100% correct.

          It would have been unthinkable for me to try to hold down a steady job while working on my engineering degree. Summers, yes of course, but not during the school year. I certainly didn’t know everyone in the program, but I can’t remember a single engineering student who tried doing anything more than a campus job.

          @87 Morgan,

          Remember too that college is not just about gaining technical knowledge, but also forming lifelong networking connections that can help you in your career and life down the road. Tough to do that when you’re in the library or on the job every waking hour.

          • 0 avatar
            87 Morgan

            No sympathies fellas from me.
            I graduated in 98’with a bachelor in business admin. Paid cash, it took me five years, one year of cc for the first year.

            I will concede a business degree is easier than engineering. My girlfriend now wife worked 20 hrs a week too and she has an actual science degree.

          • 0 avatar
            jack4x

            No offense, but I have both a bachelors in engineering and an MBA, and the workload is not remotely comparable.

            I went to business school in the evenings while holding down full time work, along with most in the class, so on that point, I agree it’s realistic. To ask an undergraduate in engineering to do the same is not realistic.

            All that said though, I’d venture to guess that it’s generally not engineers or business graduates living at home and relying on their parents for cars.

  • avatar
    brentrn

    My daughter graduated from college without debt. We bought her a used Prius with our own cash as a graduation gift. This allowed her to put her earnings into living expenses and savings. Hopefully, the cost of maintenance and repairs will be less than monthly car payments. I didn’t take on debt to help her and she is better able to stay debt free herself.

    • 0 avatar

      We also did the “double mortgage payment” route, the tuition on a monthly bill pretty much the mortgage/taxes for our house. She had a partial scholarship and hearing the stories of her indebted friends, I’m happy she can start adult life at 0, not -150k.

      A quarter million for any degree is nuts…and you aren’t even CPA, MBA, Esq, Dr. or Phd.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    Out of college I got my dad’s hand-me-down car with 180k miles on it. My parents also bought me a suit to do interviewing with,

    My first (used) car loan I didn’t have enough credit (since I never had a CC in college) to buy, so my dad had to co-sign. And that was the only time he’s had to help me out car-wise, minus the loaners I needed when my car was in the shop or in one case, totaled).

    • 0 avatar
      redgolf

      dividebytube – I’m still driving a 97 Pontiac GP I bought new, it now has 178k miles, I gave it to my daughter and son in law a few years ago so they would have a car while they went through some very difficult times (cancer and newly adopted son) when they got back on their feet they in turn let his brother have it until he went overseas to do volunteer work, I got the car back and drive it daily along with a newer cuv both my wife and I take when together. So helping your children is something we as parents want to do and should do, but some I feel go way too far to the point of the children expecting it! A good read is the book “The Narcissism Epidemic” “Living in the Age of Entitlement” – Jean Twenge Ph.D. and W. Keith Campbell Ph.D. This book should be mandatory reading by every high school/college student!

  • avatar
    gtem

    Very relevant, but over at CC the below article is being discussed, man what a doozie:

    https://www.autonews.com/sales/debt-saddled-buyers-lean-mom-dad

    Highlights include a 28 year old bio-statistician ruining a Camry’s engine by never changing the oil, an 18 year old losing his Corvette and his parents buying him and Infiniti, and a $28000 Murano at almost 20% interest. I could not possibly have less sympathy.

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      I think the Corvette was a 25 year old guy who ‘lost’ his job and his folks bought him an Infiniti. But, we are in agreement. I have zero. Your ‘lost’ your job. Now go ‘find’ another one.

      Life: it’s a verb.

    • 0 avatar
      AtoB

      “Very relevant, but over at CC the below article is being discussed, man what a doozie:

      https://www.autonews.com/sales/debt-saddled-buyers-lean-mom-dad

      Highlights include a 28 year old bio-statistician ruining a Camry’s engine by never changing the oil, an 18 year old losing his Corvette and his parents buying him and Infiniti, and a $28000 Murano at almost 20% interest. I could not possibly have less sympathy.”

      From the article:

      “In a township outside Akron, Ohio, where Gregory DeLozier and his wife raised five children.”

      That’s as far as I got. If you’re having five kids you’re part of the problem.

  • avatar
    EquipmentJunkie

    The next logical extension to the trend of helicopter parenting.

    • 0 avatar
      ToolGuy

      At my son’s recent college orientation, they physically separated the students from the parents and then offered essentially ‘non-helicopter’ coaching to the parents. So yeah it’s a thing.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    I read this article in Automotive News. Their so much wrong with the premise it is really hard to unpack all of it.

    I will go the primary premise that we have a parenting problem, not an income problem, or millennial problem, or any other problem. The parents of these ‘kids’ have created this problem. Here is the catch…if you tell people you are raising children then you don’t get it IMHO….I am not raising children because that is what I will get, children. No thank you. I am raising two young men. Period. Full Stop. In 4 and 6 years time they will head off into that ‘big bad world’ with a couple of life skills to go along with their Fortnight abilities and go make their own way.

    Too many parents think their children need to retain the same upper middle class lifestyle they were accustomed to through H.S/college. WTAF? Go be poor for awhile. Live 6 to a 3 BR apartment and drive a turd that needs some TLC every now and again beyond gas. Work two jobs to pay off the debt after graduation. Saturdays and Sundays are leisure days for those who have made it…
    168 hours in a week: you need 56 to 60 for rest/sleep for sure. That leaves 108 hours of productive time available, this is what your 20’s are for…work.

    Rant over. My apologies for anyone that I offended.

    • 0 avatar
      ToolGuy

      Morgan,

      Completely agree. Many of the parents don’t have the life skills themselves (motor oil? what is that?).

      Back in my day, it was “change the water pump tonight unless you want to ride the school bus to high school tomorrow.”

      I’ve toured ~10 university campuses in the past couple years, and the on-campus housing/dining/lifestyle situation is a total arms race – out of control (and of course financed by debt). [Some amazing brodozers on the University of Alabama campus, but I digress.]

      Too many families don’t look -past- the 4-year degree – as in, where would you like to live, what kind of work would you like to do, now let’s back up and see what kind of degree we’d like to get.

      Having said all that, some of the things kids can do these days are amazing – really.

    • 0 avatar
      PandaBear

      Go out in the world place and find someone who works 168 hours a week for me please.

      People get burnt out after 60 hours, this is a fact, in most work place their work performance diminish because they are tired and start making mistakes that ruin the workplace. This is on one work place instead of 2 full time jobs at different place.

      Now trying to justify your hate for millennial and call them lazy because they are not working 168 hours a week, is stupid.

      I do not know who you are but you sound like someone who hate the younger generation and has an axe to grind. I know most boomers have these problems but holy smoke, you are just insane.

      I hope you are not a manager because you are obviously horrible at it.

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        @PandaBear: You mis-read 87’s post. He was simply saying that we all have 168 hours a week, and that after sleep is accounted for, his math said we have about 108 hours to use for good, or to waste.

        So people can choose to whine about their meager incomes, or they can work 1-1/2 to 2 jobs, and/or they can cut their expenses to match their income. But having mom and dad subsidize their kids into their 30s only creates a co-dependence that is bad for the family, and ultimately destructive to society.

      • 0 avatar
        87 Morgan

        Seriously, panda bear. Read my post again please. I will provide a summary. P.S. I never said to work 168 hours a week. seriously? I am many things, bad at math is not one of them. Yes, you should work 90 hours a week when you are in your 20’s. Two jobs seven days a week if necessary. One career, one quasi fun

        168 hours in a week, total (24 * 7 = 168)
        Follow me here. subtract 60 for sleep and you have 108 hours in a 7 day period with which to work a minimum of 1 job for 50 hours. This leaves another, wait for it 58 hours. Myself, my brothers and many other people I know worked 7 days a week at multiple jobs through their 20’s.

        Full disclosure, I am 43 and believe that your 20’s should be spent at work. I have no ax to grind with the younger generation, in fact I know many who work their tails off and have much to show for it.

        • 0 avatar
          PandaBear

          My apology but still, many studies have shown 60 is the realistic maximum a sane human should do without health issue or causing quality of work issues.

          And many challenging schools take more than 40 hours a week of efforts.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Totally agree.

      After high school, I quit tech school halfway through a 2-year program, then went for an engineering degree. Due to “personal mismanagement”, it took me 5 years to complete a 4-year degree, which included attending summer classes just to catch up. So it took me 6 years to escape post-secondary school. As a commuter the whole time, I went through 3 junky cars by the time I was done, but it was cheaper than paying room & board to a school.

      I paid for almost everything myself, except for the car insurance, because my father was laid off from the steel industry at the time (ca. 1981-7), and he was doing everything *he* could to put food on the table.

      My first post-college job paid half the going rate, but after several years I was at par with my peers and my school loans were paid off. My masters degree was paid for by employers, but that took over 3 years of night school. I didn’t buy my first brand new car until 15 years after college. Twenty seven years after college we were debt-free, and today we have modest financial options we never dreamed of in the early years.

      So yeah, it takes work and focus. We also managed to raise 5 kids on a single income. #1 finished school on a scholarship, but the others have/are all borrowing to get through, in addition to working here and there. None have asked for a handout, because they see what is possible with hard work and time.

      At this point we are helping to pay for their interest on deferred loans, because the government is running a compound interest racket on students that few take time to consider. So at least when they’re done, hopefully they can start with just the principle they borrowed, instead of 4 years’ worth of accumulated interest.

      Two of my kids own cars – a 2011 and a 2007. Even though they have good jobs, neither seems interested in getting into debt for a new car any time soon, and they know I certainly won’t be helping to pay for them.

    • 0 avatar

      As someone who always worked, sadly the goalposts are moved. My parents spent a lot less, even adjusted for inflation, to send me to a private school than we did for a public school. Adjusted for inflation, the private school now costs over 3x what it did when I went. I could work Summers and part time and pay most of the tuition. I DID live like you describe…Equal effort today would still result in a 100k millstone around my neck at graduation. Said loan would follow me to my death…serviced by companies with my best interests not at all.

  • avatar
    thelaine

    Guaranteed student loans allowed colleges to jack up their prices well above the rate of inflation. Students need to shop wisely and take practical subjects. Price competition does exist. So does online education.

    Most people cannot afford to finance a journey of self-discovery. In fact, most people should not attend a traditional 4 year liberal arts college, as it is too often a poor investment of time and money. There are many alternatives for building valuable skills and experience. A college degree does not necessarily make a person “better educated “ than, for example, a person with desirable skills and a solid employment history.

    Mike Rowe is a well-known and articulate proponent of practical education and is worth a look.

  • avatar
    SaulTigh

    Unless you’re from a wealthy family, EVERY generation has it tough right out of the gate. My parents, very successful Boomers, talk about how when they were first married they looked forward to Sunday dinner at my grandparents because they’d get leftovers to take home, and my grandparents were by no means well-to-do. They drove crappy used cars,for many years, which back then was much more dicey than it is today.

    I myself graduated in the summer of 1999 with nearly $17k in student loan debt. My first “real” job started in December of that year and paid $8.62 an hour, but was full time with all benefits. The loan payment was $201 a month. I was going through an old box from that time period this weekend and found an ATM receipt from June of 2000. I had a whopping $547 in the bank and only took out $10. We all had a great laugh about that, wondering what I used the $10 for, it was such a small amount.

    At the time, I was driving a ’93 Taurus with nearly 170,000 miles on it. Didn’t buy my first car out of school until the fall of ’02, and it was used. Drove that one for nearly 11 years before I bought another.

    These millennials should be grateful they have parents who are in a position to help them out.

  • avatar
    thelaine

    The biggest flaw in education from grade school on is the omission of personal finance and money management. Too many young people learn through bitter experience.

    • 0 avatar
      ToolGuy

      Agreed. The personal finance training I have seen schools offer is more like ‘how to be a good consumer/sheep’ – very few people are showing young people how the system really works.

    • 0 avatar
      James Charles

      thelane,
      As baby boomers we never received that type of education because we were expected to leave home and fend for ourselves at a younger age.

      You tend to learn more when thrown in the deep end, sink or swim is sometimes the best motivator.

      • 0 avatar
        redgolf

        James – you said it, my parents died young so I didn’t have any parental money help, after I turned 18 I left the comfort of my brothers home along with his wife and 2 kids and hit the factories, first it was a steel mill – quit, then Dana Corp, 13 years plant closed so went back to school for electronics for a year and took a low paying job in cable tv but it had its benefits – quit and moved south and took a job with GM at the Corvette plant only to be laid off 18 months later and having to move to the Norward Ohio Camaro plant only to be laid off a year later, you getting the picture, yes I was a GM Gypsy, back to my home of Michigan to learn a new trade, commercial wallcovering which I did for several years until, here we go again, moved to Tennessee back with GM at the Saturn/GM plant in Spring Hill (retired in 2011) What a ride and all this while raising 4 children and staying married to the same woman I’ve know since we were 13 (50 years married)So much for the “entitled boomers” didn’t sit around and wait for the silver spoon!

        • 0 avatar
          James Charles

          redgolf,
          You did what you had to do and I respect that.

          When my family immigrated to Australia in 69 we lived in a tent for a year on a couple acres my parents put $10 down! I was 9 and even after a deade of working hard my parents had a home and mortgage. There was no handouts for us kids.

          Australia being Australia has many opportunities if you want work. I’m working as business analyst, business modelling at the moment. I will be made redundant in less than a year due to medical reasons.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        We never got it in Gen X either. They did teach us Math though so the whole money bit sort of falls into place at that point.

  • avatar
    James Charles

    Better educated doesn’t equate to better pay and nor should it. The job market is like any market, supply and demand.

    I know of several young people who go for a degree any degree and generally an easy degree because they have a belief you need a degree to get a job. Aspiration and dreams are great but in most cases it takes more effort to realise your dreams than people are prepared to give.

    You earn your place in the world, even vehicle ownership. It is not mandatory to have a vehicle as stated in the article. Ride a bike, you are still young and a 10 mile bike ride is only half an hour.

    This sense of entitlement is not good for our society.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “On average, it’s presumed that Millennials are earning 20 percent less than their Boomer parents at the same stage in life — despite being better educated, overall.”

    Now class, what conclusions can we draw from this?

    • 0 avatar
      James Charles

      28-Cars-Later,
      I wonder if the people collecting the data considered if living at home with your parents reduces the need to earn more.

      If these kids were were pressured to leave home and fend for themselves would their income rise?

      • 0 avatar
        dwford

        Bingo. I know multiple millennials that work and make decent money, but waste it all on living life because they have the luxury of living at home for free. Why bother to work harder to be self supporting when mommy and daddy will indulge you?

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Good point.

        • 0 avatar
          jkross22

          Already told my kids that they are welcome to live with us after college… and pay rent for the pleasure of doing so.

          My experience is that when people do not pay for something, they do not understand it’s value.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      For the love of God…The Boomers begat Gen X. Millennials call boomers Grandma and Grandpa.

      • 0 avatar
        SaulTigh

        It’s generally accepted that Gen-X is from 1965 to around 1980 (there’s some disagreement just where it ends). And, it’s a small cohort so I think kids born in the 80’s were mostly to Boomers, and then early Gen-X parents once you got into the 90’s.

        • 0 avatar
          jack4x

          Millennials are called that because the first of them graduated high school in 2000, hence born in 1982. The last of us were born around 1995 or so. Most Millennials have Boomer parents.

  • avatar
    ajla

    A complete bailout is bad, but I think some parental help is a good thing. Lest your daughter end up on “Seeking Arrangement” or working in the Paradise Club.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    What happened to buying a cheap old used car, and learning some basic auto maintenance to keep it running on the cheap? YouTube videos and brand forums are available today that help diagnose and repair common problems and source cheap parts, so it is easier than ever. Not to mention most 10 year old cars today are not total rust bombs with no safety features like they were 30 years ago.

    And if you aren’t a good enough student or athlete to get a substantial discount on college tuition, you better look for a cheap alternative including not going. And don’t go if you plan to major in a Starbucks barista degree, because you don’t need $100,000 in student loans to ask “do you want a scone with that.”

    • 0 avatar
      ToolGuy

      stingray,

      Yesyesyesyesyesyesyes!

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      Not even that, how about the basic expectation that adult Americans are willing to ask around family/friends and being even a bit resourceful in that regard? “hey do you know someone that knows cars that can help me look?” “Do you know anyone selling a well kept older car?” “can you recommend an honest mechanic?” And you’re right, the internet is an absolute treasure trove of information and guides and walk throughs. What to look for in a used car, where to find the best deals and what to avoid. Reliability ratings and costs to maintain. An evening spent doing a bit of learning and looking through some online classifieds, and a pre-purchase inspection at a recommended shop would set most people up just fine. But that’s too big of a cross to bear according to some.

      My brother has plenty of examples of grad students and entry level coworkers that get funneled to his shop so he sees a plethora of older used cars in various states of repair. A few recent examples: ’97 Maxima with 257k, owned by a young coworker. Been driven for the last 6 years with a CEL on for the EGR valve, that and a few odds and ends and it’s running stronger than ever, ready for continued duty. ’01 Camry with 140k ish miles bought a few years ago from a used car lot by a young car-oblivious grad student down in Florida. A bit banged up, needed a few minor oil leaks addressed, a higher quality timing belt kit installed (failed tensioner), and a new set of tires (had nasty worn Chinese ones). Has noisy strut bearings, but she’s all set to drive it down to Texas for an internship now worry free. ’98 Saturn S-wagon, 298k miles, bought as a local-driving beater some years ago. Burns a quart of synthetic every 500 miles, but keeps on trucking. Just needed a cooling fan motor replaced and a slow parasitic battery drain addressed (power lock button spring broke resulting in constant actuation), trivial and cheap to address both issues.

      He’s had a few Subarus come in that needed headgaskets, that’s certainly a tough pill to swallow and not a cheap visit to the shop. He also recently diagnosed a Neon with a failed 2nd gear clutch band, a decision for the owner whether he wants to go with a used transmission or to walk away.

  • avatar
    redgolf

    “and what happens to the market when those boomers finally become too old to help their kids”? simple, the parents die and the kids inherit the wealth and then blow it all on large homes, expensive cars, cell phones, vacations, dining out, alimony, child support, etc.!

    • 0 avatar
      Kendahl

      What parental wealth? A huge number of boomers are retiring with little but social security to live on. They did what you predict their children were going do with the inheritance they won’t get.

      I wonder how much student loan debt is due to parents’ extravagance instead of saving for their children’s education or, as my wife’s parents and my father did, working a second job or a side business to generate extra income.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        My parents didn’t save for my education and I was a lousy student. At some point you join the real world and look at ways to pay for it if you want to go. You can borrow money or you could work and do school. I went for option 3 and joined the Navy at 19. It was working out very well until some $#!+birds crashed some airplanes into some buildings. Really slowed my school pace down with all the deployments. Moving to the Area didn’t help but I did finish, with zero debt and very marketable skills. It can be done, even today.

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    My wife and are are baby boomers. Our parents supported us through our bachelor degrees. Her parents bought her a used car as a graduation present. I bought mine out of summer job earnings. That was it. We were expected to fend for ourselves thereafter. One significant advantage was that, because our parents paid for college, we graduated with zero loan debt.

  • avatar
    R Henry

    ““[Millennials] are far more likely to tell us that owning a vehicle has just become too expensive,”

    In my work building are two young men (26) who work part time, live with parents, and never even bothered to learn how to drive.

    Truly, I do not understand millennials. I got my license the day I turned 16, and COULD NOT WAIT to go to college as far from my parents as possible. I never went back…I would rather live under an overpass!

  • avatar
    427Cobra

    I definitely feel like I’m getting old… many of my co-workers lease their kids a brand new car… for “safety”. Their kids graduate having NEVER had a job, and very little in the way of “life skills”.

    Perhaps it’s sour grapes. I put myself through college… often working 2 or 3 jobs to make ends meet, and I still had $15k in student debt upon graduation (with an engineering degree)… into a crappy job market. My first job paid $25k a year… good experience, but lousy pay. My car had 235,000 miles on it. I was in my 30s before I ever had a brand new set of tires, and late 30s before I ever had a new car. It wasn’t fun… but no one ever said it would be. I knew plenty of people whose parents footed the whole bill for college… new car & all. I just wasn’t one of them.

  • avatar
    dwford

    It seems like millennials are slowly siphoning what would have been their inheritance from their parents by living at home and getting cars bought for them. What’s going to happen when all these boomers die and their houses are sold to satisfy the debts? Where will all these “adults” be once their parents are no longer alive to support them?

  • avatar
    Add Lightness

    Do the kids a life-favour and buy a cheap SIMPLE used car, tools and a shop manual (or Youtube).

  • avatar
    PandaBear

    As a gen X I’d say most of the boomers are quite entitled. Who’s business is it that their parents help their kids because the kids are loaded in debts but the parents are making a killing in the real estate appreciation and stock market / retirement funds.

    It is the inflation, everything is more expensive these days and pay hasn’t gone up. I told my daughter you better get into tech or else you’ll be one of those low income graduates, and don’t expect to make money just because you have a degree like the boomers’ generation, and don’t waste your time working minimum wage jobs while in school, I’ll pay you the tuition savings if you can graduate every semester earlier than target.

    Your summer jobs from the 70s are now automated, so you better go automate other peoples job or you’ll be one of them with huge debt and no job.

    Don’t bother with turning wrenches, get a Hyundai Elantra base model and drive it for 10 years with warranty, take as many classes as you can instead of learning how to fix cars (unless that’s your hobby).

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      College has increased at a rate way higher than inflation. Guaranteed loans that you don’t have to think about until later and government scholarships (the “hope” scholarships” in lottery states) have insulated many from the actual cost and ensured colleges could much more easily raise tuition. It’s like Health care…a third party is paying (at least now, until the loans come due) so the actual cost is ignored. Add to that the fact that people have bought into the “everyone has to go to college” myth and the “you should do what you love above all else and the money will take care of it’s elf” bunk and you have a perfect storm. Combine that with the fact that monetarily a college degree is on average worth less than ever and it gets pretty bleak.

      It is a means to an end. And while people are certainly free to do whatever makes them happy labor is a market. Anyone who doesn’t survey that market and make an informed decision on what to do after high School is a fool…unless you really don’t care about money, in which case don’t complain when you don’t make any.

      As a Gen xer, there is an impression, right or wrong, that millinneals want to have the dream job and paycheck right off the bat. Perhaps big tech and the 90s boom fed that. Maybe it isn’t true. But it took me 20 years to really start enjoying my work and frankly much of that Joy is because said work gives me a large chunk of cash every couple weeks. To us, the dream job was what you shot for AFTER you had done what you had to do to provide and raise your kids and family…you sucked it up and if you did it right, you had fun later on.

      Also, boomers are old and by in large, out of the workforce. Much like Millinneals get a bum rap often for the exploits of the xennials, I think Millinneals look at us Xers as boomers. We didn’t get rich of real estate and we were all scared in the 90s that we’d be worse off than our parents (the boomers). This fear and anxiety isn’t new or unique to any one generation. You do your best and drive on.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      I will say too, since we are looking at a hard left turn potentially in this country, perhaps rather than just having John Q Taxpayer pay the stupid high tuition for all and let that be that, maybe we should look at another “socialist” option. One that is already being kicked around with respect to rent and other items…Price Controls. Limit what public colleges can charge. Heck, private too. I’m guessing the lefties in Acadedamia will begin extolling the virtues of capitalism at that point.

    • 0 avatar
      427Cobra

      You have a point. Some may say the boomers are “entitled”… others may say X-ers and/or millennials are “enabled”… I’m a borderline Boomer/Gen X-er… I agree most of the jobs I had as a kid are now history. I started with paper routes at the age of 10. As a teenager, I worked in restaurants (steakhouses, pizza places, etc)… lawn maintenance, copy shops, I’ve always worked… But it’s a different world today. Most of my co-workers with high school/college-aged kids don’t WANT them to work… the kids are told to focus on their education. My sister was happy to help her daughter out… to give her things that she never had. I get that. I don’t think there’s a clearcut explanation or solution.

      During my senior year of high school, I worked 40 hours a week… and managed to graduate with honors. In college, I worked full time & went to school part time for several years. I made $180 a week. My apartment rent was $350 per month… and I had an 80 mile commute to school. I paid all my own expenses… including tuition. I had taken drafting in high school & college, & was able to get a job as a draftsman for a concrete company. They were great about letting me leave early on the days I had class. There were a lot of times I wanted to give up… but I knew that was a ticket to nowhere, so I kept at it. I understand about feeling helpless… I understand not being “privileged”… Everyone has to find their own way… where there’s a will, there’s a way!

  • avatar
    jatz

    Nobody who can remember working on their own first cars that would let you look down past the engine to see the tool you just dropped on the ground has any business advising today’s kids to just get out there and start wrenching.

    • 0 avatar
      ToolGuy

      jatz,

      – I don’t think anyone is saying give the kid a wrench with no guidance. And by the way, if you open the hood and *all* you see is engine cover, that ain’t the right car to buy.

      – Every adult with a driver’s license should know what motor oil is and why it is important and how to check the level and how often to get it changed (if the car uses an ICE). And how to check the tire pressure (whether from the dash or a gauge). And what to do and not do when the check engine light comes on. And where to add washer fluid.
      And depending on circumstances, how to change a tire.

      – One of the advantages of learning on a 10-year old car, is that when you do get a nicer car, you know how to take care of it.

      • 0 avatar
        jatz

        Yeah, you’re right. Guess I just wanted to emphasize how much cars have changed while I and my fellow 60-somethings have wended our way through life.

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          On the flip side, the advent of the internet and car forums has had an absolutely transformative effect on car diagnostics and troubleshooting. Granted, it will only get you so far, but just some well honed googling skills can help you narrow things down to a few potential causes for whatever symptoms the car is exhibiting. Case in point, my A4 was leaking coolant at the back of the engine block/firewall area. Looked it up, most were pointing to a coolant temperature sensor o-ring, and a few other less common options. Sure enough, CTS o-ring. Hanging out with my brother and his friend on Staten Island at a shop that had outsourced the diagnosis of wonky folding mirrors on a customer’s ML350. My brother’s friend was doing a deep dive with a $20,000 scan tool. I pulled out my phone and googled it, my brother’s friend kind of smirked, and I didn’t want to offend him. But my first few hits on the forums hit the mark: wires from the mirror module that pass through the folding section break from the repeated stress.

          Google and a cheap OBD2 scanner dongle for your smart phone can get you quite a ways.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            FWIW, I think working on something like a Panther or W-body (which should be quite easy for a Millenial to acquire) isn’t really much harder than working on a 60s car and is easier than a 70s or early 80s car.

            I’m a dipsh*t Millenial myself (just turned 33) and low-cost, DIYable 3800 H/C-bodies got me through the lean times. Granted, the word is kind of out on those now so prices have been creeping up.

            I know it’s not possible for everyone to undertake, but if you’re 16-19 years old or underemployed with time on your hands then basic car repair is a great skill to acquire.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            Agreed on all points ajla. There was a sweet spot in the 90s where cars had modern and reliable fuel/ignition controls but a lot of other aspects were still quite basic and durable (no worrying about long fragile timing chains stretching, VVT solenoids gumming up, DI injection issues, keyless start issues, start/stop, etc). Guys like me started learning in highschool by necessity, and on through college and starting my first job before I could afford something newer (which I grew bored with and sold in my case, that and I started to hate the idea of depreciation)

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    So much going on here, rising COL, consumers demanding more features driving up car prices, along with increased regulation, and the trend to younger people having no interest in driving. An intangible is how the fun has been sucked out of driving, all the new stuff drives exactly the same, and it’s all a sort of remote experience. Make Driving Fun Again.

    • 0 avatar
      ToolGuy

      Lightspeed,

      Driving in general hasn’t looked like the car commercials for awhile now. The last time I drove in San Francisco, they didn’t shut down the roads for only my car, Steve McQueen style. Traffic sucks everywhere. Plus open hostility and road rage.

      It used to be that a car was ‘freedom’ for a youngster – get out socialize see the world. Now you only need your cellphone and a data plan.

      Learning to drive in 2019 is fairly terrifying for most 16 year olds.

      • 0 avatar
        jatz

        “Learning to drive in 2019 is fairly terrifying for most 16 year olds.”

        Exactly. Another component of the perfect storm Lightspeed cites.

        I’m the same timid scaredy cat I was in ’71 when I got my license but back then I went ape with freedom and joy at getting behind a wheel.

        Nowadays the catholic boy in me wants last rites with each roll down my driveway.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    There is a lot of hate directed to the millennials in here. Honestly it sounds like the same crap they were saying about Gen X circa 1992.

    As an Gen Xer I have had the privilege of going to war with and leading many members of the millennial generation. Like your great grandpappy in Europe, and your dad or granddad in Korea or Nam, when the crap hits the fan, they know what to do and do it well. Every generation has some idiots.

  • avatar
    jatz

    ..

  • avatar
    jatz

    As long as there have been affluent people they’ve bought means of conveyance for their kids.

    This is just America having spread the wealth for a while.

  • avatar
    threeer

    My son graduated high school in 2009. The year before that, the family (collectively) gave him a 1997 Toyota Tercel with 125k on it. My sister bought it in 2006, drove it for almost two years and then gave it to him. It provided a year or so of cheap transportation for her, and she bought it knowing full well it was going to him. After he graduated high school, he left for the Air Force Academy. In his second year at the Academy, we shipped the little white box on wheels to him. For the next three years, it buzzed him all around the region, racking up many, many miles. Upon graduation, he was sent to flight school in Texas. Graduates were provided the opportunity of *low interest loans* and many took them and went out and bought very expensive new cars. Added to that, his flight school also supported NATO countries sending their pilots to the US, and they were paid handsomely by their home countries, so he was surrounded by even more expensive new cars. He held onto his little Tercel and never cared to upgrade, though being a single LT in the AF with zero debt, he certainly could have.
    Fast forward to last year. His fiancé (now wife) was driving the Tercel home and was the unfortunate recipient of a semi attempting to occupy the same lane as her. In the end, the Tercel’s legacy came to a close not due to mechanical issues (it had well over 250k on the original engine and clutch. The thing was so famous in our family for it’s reliability that I wanted it back!), but an accident. My son could have then easily went out and financed a new, shiny car…but he didn’t. He bought a well-used F-150. Mom and dad stepped in and let them borrow our 2013 Chevy Cruze since I was deployed and we didn’t need two cars. We wound up selling it to him (at an admittedly very sweet family discount), but he did pay for it. Did we help? Yes. Was it a flat out gift? No. Knowing my son, he would have never accepted it outright and insisted on paying something for it.
    I’ve know families that have given their kids everything. My high school parking lot was a testament to that, even back in the late 80s. My lowly 1978 Plymouth Arrow was so out of place there it wasn’t funny, but I didn’t care. It was the best we could do (hand-me-down from my sister). Even if my parents would have had the money, they’d have never gone out and bought me anything close to what I saw other kids drive around…

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      I always like to read your Tercel story threeer. I really like that generation of them, very simple but incredibly high quality and durable vehicles (although they do rot in the salt belt). The Echo that followed was roomier and still incredibly robust and a good bit sprightlier with the new 1.5L, but a major downgrade in interior quality.

      • 0 avatar
        threeer

        gtem, thanks! It’s a story I love repeating. The car (affectionately called Tee-Tuu, a play on it being my sister’s second Toyota (Toyota #2) and the letters of the name of the car, “T”oyota “T”ercel) became legend in our family for its reliability. She wasn’t fancy, but the air always blew cold (colder than just about any car we owned) and it never let us down. Original engine, clutch, trans…interior held up very, very well. Sure, it only had 97 or so HP, but at nearly 40 MPG, who cared? My son found it to be a source of great pride to show up amongst a sea of Mustangs, Corvettes and SUVs in his little white box. While we were all relieved that his now-wife was not injured, there was a tremendous amount of sadness at the loss of T2. Up until the accident, I seriously told me son that if he was going to buy his fiancé (at the time) a newer car, I wanted the Tercel back.
        It’s also a great story about my son and his approach to life. Sure, I wish he would have inherited the “I love cars” gene from me, which he did not. But he could have easily been washed up in the craze that many of his fellow AFA grads and pilots got caught in and ran out to buy an expensive car. He didn’t, and I am fiercely proud of him for being the wiser for it. At 28, he is far, far further along in his life than I was at that age. He’ll be a father in a few months (of course, that means I’ll be a grandfather in a few months!) but I’m confident he’ll be able to provide for his new family without major concern. He has a brilliant future ahead of him as a pilot (C-17), an officer, a loving husband to his bride and doting father to his new son.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    @threeer–Good story. Your son sounds like a fine young man and your parenting is commendable. It is easy for many of us to categorize that all younger people are ungrateful and lack skills to survive in the real world. I was raised to take care of things and yes my parents did help me thru college and I lived with them a few years after college giving me enough time to get a good job and to be on my own. Words cannot express how grateful I am for their support. I did take care of their yard, their cars, and helped around the house which was the very least I could do and they did not charge me rent. I drove their cars when I was in high school and thru college but I took care of them willingly with the attitude that they were helping me and being grateful not to have to take on a loan to buy a car. I am so glad your daughter-in-law was not hurt–you can always replace a car.

    Many parents don’t teach their children life skills. It is easy to just blame the children and that is not to say that children don’t share in the responsibility but children also learn from their parents and if parents don’t teach their children to be responsible and how to survive on their own then they are responsible as well.

    • 0 avatar
      threeer

      Jeff, my son is much smarter than I am in many ways (some, not so much…LOL). I’m immensely proud of him for all he has already accomplished. Surprisingly, he listened to us when we probably thought he wasn’t. Many times he’ll say something about a life lesson he got from us and we’re not even aware he had caught on. Just wish the kid would have caught the same car bug I have! I guess that’s for me to pass on to my first grandson, who is due later this summer! Grandpa has many things to teach!

  • avatar
    tomLU86

    In most of America, as configured, a car is a necessity.

    The article addresses one more symptom of America’s core economic problem: the COLLECTIVE ‘wants’, and more importantly, ‘needs’ of US society continue to outpace the COLLECTIVE capacity of the US economy to meet them.

    A big problem is people’s short sightedness and unrealistic expectations. We have more ‘wants’. Cellphones. Cable TV. That’s a couple hundred a month. We travel more. Eat out more. Consume more medical care. Have more suburban sprawl than ever (that requires vehicles).

    We produce more goods and SERVICES than ever, but not enough for the above.

    So, the growing gap is addressed by, firstly, borrowing to make up the difference. We borrow money as individuals, and run gigantic trade deficit collectively. The next way to address is by “productivity”, which usually means “cheapening”. Just look at the service you get on an airline, or when calling for help. Another way is increasing use of illegal aliens. Instead of paying an American $10 per hour, hire an ‘undocumented worker’.

    I find it sad.

    Some of you state that kids shouldn’t expect to live like their parents. Perhaps. But going backwards is innately against human nature.

    On the other hand, the circumstances that produced the prosperity of 1946-65 were unique and will never again be replicated.

    And given that this website is a site that caters to auto enthusiasts, the solutions that the government and elite will impose, to preserve their status and also to prevent society from imploding will be unpleasant, and directly affect our enjoyment of the vehicle of our choice.

    We didn’t have to get here, but now it’s too late.

    Enjoy your ride while you can, and if you haven’t and still can, get one you enjoy. The sun is setting….

  • avatar
    DavidB

    My dad always told me, “He who knows how will always have a job. He who knows why will always be the boss.” A liberal arts education helps (but doesn’t guarantee) to answer the “why” of work.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    @threeer–Congrads on the Grandson. I am less of a car nut than when I was younger. Growing up I use to assemble the AMT 3 in 1 car kits. I still like to go on this site and read and I love to go on Leno’s website. Getting close to retirement with a little over 2 years so I am not collecting anything more like divesting myself of things. Much of what I have I am giving to nephews who are close to retirement and building homes on the family farm. My one nephew is retired from the Coast Guard and lost most of his furniture and personal belongs in a tornado. I gave my nephew most of the furniture I had in my basement, along with dishes, utensils, and other things. My nephew and his wife have built a house on the family farm and plans on building a large barn to house his tools, vehicles, and put in a lift to work on vehicles (he is a licensed mechanic. I am going to give him my 99 S-10 extended cab when I retire with a 5 speed manual that I have had since new which he plans on keeping original and in his new building along with my collection of tools and tool cabinets. My nephew has 3 daughters (2 married to servicemen) and 1 son (son in the Air Force). My nephew went into the Coast Guards when he was young to get a college degree and to support his family and retired after 30 years.

    • 0 avatar
      threeer

      Huge respect for the Coasties! They are very much underappreciated. A good, good friend of mine (and one of my son’s role models) retired from the CG. A much finer man I’d be hard-pressed to find. His dedication and service to country was remarkable, and no less commendable than had he served in the Army, Air Force, Navy/Marines.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    Unless your going to school to be a medical doctor I don’t see how anyone is coming out of school with $50k of debt, you have to be a special kind of stupid to sign up for that. I know that ECU here in NC charges about $2,000 a semester, 8 semesters of Engineering classes and you will be infinitely more prepared to attack the world than anyone coming out of an expensive college with $100k in debt.

    The only thing dumber than that is all the people spending $900 a month on rent, that’s a very nice house payment. More people need to leave school and go through the military to get a sense of life before they go off and sign $35000 loans at 20% interest for 6 years.

    • 0 avatar
      jatz

      Learning the difference between “you’re” and “your” was worth my 20K of debt.

      ‘Course, I already knowed dat so, yah, I wuz a FOO’!

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      The school Hummer mentions seems to be offering a good deal, but he’s misquoting the figures. They don’t charge two grand a semester – it’s about $3600 including fees, assuming you don’t live on campus. He also left out books, transportation costs, and, oh yeah…room and board. If you live on campus, it’s 17 large a year.

      http://www.ecu.edu/admissions/afford.cfm

      Someone could easily run up that “stupid” fifty grand in debt at that school…or any other school. My kid ran up twenty grand at an “in town” four-year university, and lived at home. She’s not stupid.

      • 0 avatar
        jatz

        “Someone could easily run up that “stupid” fifty grand in debt at that school”

        Great comment.

        • 0 avatar
          redgolf

          this mornings news had a story of a young woman who had owed $60, 000 in school fees, she had paid back $27,000 only to have that, because of interest and other fees (late fees) escalate into her now still owing $67,000, she is now paying $900/mo. to get out of the debt! What a trap!

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        I only included the tuition, which is higher than I thought, but regardless I would hope that the students would have enough time to work a job to pay rent, food, etc, transportation is usually the smallest cost in small college towns like that.

        • 0 avatar
          jack4x

          As an engineer myself, all I can say is, 95% of people in the world have no business being engineers, including a lot of the people who hold those degrees.

          For those that can swing it, it’s a great career and a straightforward route to the upper middle class. Most other people are going to need something else to avoid the debt trap.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            I think of Engineering degrees as a furthering of basic education, very practical application, includes economics and other basic topics not taught in High School, and very applicable to everyday life. A lot of Engineers will never do an actual engineering job, but a lot of companies want engineers in non-engineering positions so it works out from what I’ve seen.

            I agree, for most people they don’t need a PE license, however as a jack of all trades degree that opens up a multitude of doors, it’s a good pedestal to stand on. Once you add some real world experience to that degree it makes for a powerful resume. It’s a degree that essentially says you can learn anything and comprehend anything a company wants you to do.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    How many of these kids have the latest iPhone with an unlimited data plan, $200/month cable bills, the highest prices internet package so they can stream Netflix in 4k?

  • avatar
    kenwood

    Better educated than boomers? Well, is a PhD in Eastern European Art History or a Masters degree in Interpretive Dance, really “better educated?” We know that there’s a ton of millennials out there with hardly marketable LAS degrees, what did they expect? Oh wait, they expected mommy and daddy to take care of them and guess what, they are. And this is also why they want socialism so bad.

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      The percentage of students graduating from practical programs (depending on how you want to define that, but STEM and business as a good start) seems to hold pretty steady, but there’s about twice as many grads, so yes, better educated isn’t absurd to say. Although, I’m sure you could spin that around and say that there are also more people getting more abstract degrees.

      https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d17/tables/dt17_322.10.asp?current=yes

  • avatar
    danio3834

    “[Millennials] are far more likely to tell us that owning a vehicle has just become too expensive,”

    It’s only going to get worse with the dramatic increases in vehicle costs coming due to CAFE 2025 regulatory compliance. Expect demand for used cars to remain very strong.

  • avatar
    Sigivald

    “it’s presumed that Millennials are earning 20 percent less than their Boomer parents at the same stage in life — despite being better educated, overall.”

    More credentialed. Probably not better educated.

    Neither an HS diploma nor a Bachelor’s degree are fixed in educational value over time, and there’s excellent reason to think that on average both indicate far less education than they did 50 years ago.


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