A Free Ride


Dear Dave,

My son is going off to college soon, but he’s never had a job. His uncle has offered him a really nice, low mileage used car for $3,000. My husband doesn’t want us to give him money for the car, but I think this deal is just too good to pass up. What do you think? — Tonya


Dear Tonya,

Unless there’s some sort of disability that’s prevented your son from working part time over the last few years, I’ve got to agree with your husband on this. Your son needs a car, but he also needs to get off his butt and work for it. If you get this car for him, you’re just teaching him that mommy and uncle will take care of everything. That’s not a good lesson for any child to learn, and it’s an especially bad thing for a teenager.

When you and your husband first started out in life, I’m guessing you didn’t start out rich. Am I right? It’s not really the car deal that’s the problem here; it’s the lesson that will be learned. At his age, it’s silly for him not to want to work for a car, and you and your husband need to be up in his face about that. Then, if he chooses not to work for a car, he can walk. He shouldn’t be rewarded for showing no desire to go earn things and make stuff happen.

When my son was around that age and wanting a car, he was working his tail off around my office packing boxes and painting stairwells. That’s how you learn about the benefits of hard work. If you don’t teach your son how to work now, he’ll be living with you when he’s 30 years old and doing exactly what he’s doing now – which is nothing.

This automobile deal is a bad deal, because it doesn’t teach your son to work for it. — Dave


About Author

Dave Ramsey

America's trusted voice on money and business, Dave Ramsey is a personal money-management expert and extremely popular national radio personality. His four New York Times best-selling books—Financial Peace, More Than Enough, The Total Money Makeover, and EntreLeadership—have sold more than 7 million copies combined. His latest book, EntreLeadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the Trenches, debuted at number one on the New York Times best-selling list.

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