When should kids start driving? Older is better!

I didn't get my driver's license until I was 18, for 2 reasons: first, I was afraid of driving and secondly, as geeky as this sounds, I preferred to save my money and invest it, not blow it on a car, sky-high insurance premiums, and increasingly expensive gas. And then there are the other expenses that come with having a car: increased meals out, $1.29 a bottle water at convenience stores and, of course, repairs.

All in all, I would estimate that I saved more than $10 thousand by waiting an extra 2 years to get a car and start driving. And I hate to be that guy but, if you can save $10 thousand by the time you're 18 and invest it at 10% for the next 50 years, you'll accumulate more than $1.1 million. If more people, or perhaps just some people, had done that a generation ago, perhaps we wouldn't have to endure endless concern about baby boomers facing a declining standard of living in retirement.With that in mind, I was pleased to learn that the percentage of 16-year olds nationwide who havedrivers' licenses has declined from almost half to around a third in the last decade, according to the Federal Highway Administration.

And here's the great news for non-teenagers: that means a lot less teenagers on the road cutting you off! According to the New York Times, reasons for the shift toward non-driving teens include "tighter state laws governing when teenagers can drive, higher insurance costs and a shift from school-run driver education to expensive private driving academies."

The peer pressure to get a drivers license can be overwhelming but with car accidents accounting for one-third of all deaths of people between the ages of 16 and 18, parents have good reason to encourage their kids to wait a little while to start driving. And if you can possibly get them to put the money in a ROTH IRA (I can already hear them moaning.), they'll be thinking fondly of you when their retirement accounts hit 7-figures.
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