In the past, a car was always perceived as the “Holy Grail” for teenage boys. However, for whatever reason, that is less the case today. Teens today seem just as at home catching a ride with someone else or tooling in the family Truckster. The autonomy of the automobile is not as sought after in the 2010’s as it was in the 1960s.
Student Life and Automobiles
Depending on the school you have chosen, or will chose, transportation may not be a major issue, so a car could be considered an unnecessary expense. As expensive as college is, any reduction in cost is a welcome benefit. That said, graduation is inevitable, and the umbilical cord must be cut eventually. In other words, you getting around in life and working at your dream job will eventually require a car—unless of course you move to New York City. Most students are going to be on the lookout for a car eventually, even a used model.
As a student, many if not most will have a part time job to earn pocket money. Most of it goes the instant it comes in because the rigors of adulthood have been hid behind the curtain for most college students. Some spend up their credit cards which creates debt. And then there is always graduate school, right? More expenses!
The real world of responsibility and independence awaits you and for that, there are student auto loans available. At this point in time it is good to gather every piece of information you have to start working on the day after graduation, even as term papers hang over your head like the sword of Damocles. You need to have a plan and that will require foresight and multitasking, which, hopefully, college has prepared you for.
Auto loans are there for students, but will you be able to pay them off? That requires careful planning. There are numerous online sources for loans, even for college students, particularly in the senior year. Some auto manufacturers also have plans for recent college graduates that can assist in getting into a new car.
A Plan of Action
First things first: decide if you can afford it after graduation. You can set up a loan that is affordable enough when you have no outside responsibilities, but most student do not know the extent of the costs and fees that life and a full-time residence requires. One girl was famously noted for sending a letter home with the question, “Mom, Dad, do you actually pay for water?”
The main thing to do to get a loan is to make sure that your credit is in order. Even if you don’t have perfect credit, knowing what’s on your credit file will be of help to you, as you can explain problems with your score, or in the case of many college students, your lack of credit history in general.
Everything that you have done to create a positive credit rating will help, but always remember that you are an unknown risk to most creditors and those 0% loans are not likely to present themselves for you. Thankfully, there are companies that work with college students and they are flexible. Larger down payments help a great deal and sometimes insurance can also help with the down payment if your parents bought you a whole life insurance policy as an infant.
The main thing would be to think ahead, a habit that will serve you well in life. Doing research has served you well in college, it is probably the most universally positive skill that you have learned, use it often, particularly as you embark on the rest of your life. Research the type of car and car insurance that you may find affordable. Often new grads get a car that is at the absolute zenith of what they can afford and then get introduced to mandatory insurance costs—not a pretty sight.
Additionally, that pretty car sitting in the driveway is useless without gas so if you have maxed out your budget on the monthly payment, you’re in big trouble! In summation, plan ahead, have an idea what you can earn if the career dream job does not happen immediately and do research. Ask questions of those who have trodden this path and try to learn from their errors if you can.
But congratulations on your commitment to education. You are well on your way to succeeding in life with just a little bit of planning.