Should Gail "let" her 27 year old son buy a new Mazda?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Nov 01, 1993

Dear Tom and Ray:

My son, who lives in Boston, has a perfectly good 1989 Pontiac Grand Am which he bought new. However, he seems to have fallen in love with the Mazda RX-7. He wants to keep the Grand Am to drive during the winter months when there is salt on the road, and wants us to store his spare car for him. Now, is this a wise investment? Should I let him do this? Isn't this Mazda relatively new and untried? And isn't Boston the car theft capital of the U.S.? My son is 27 and earns a good salary. Perhaps you could talk some sense into him? My real concern is that he wants me to help finance this car. He knows better than to ask his father.

RAY: We'll answer your questions one at a time, Gail. First of all, Boston does not have the worst car theft rate in the country. It may have the worst weather, but the car theft title still belongs to Newark, New Jersey (at least last time we checked).

TOM: Second, the RX-7 was completely redesigned last year, but the car and the engine have basically been around for 15 years. And although the new ones are a little more temperamental, they've been pretty reliable over the years. So I wouldn't worry about it being new and untried.

RAY: Third, is it a wise investment? Of course not. It's a complete waste of money. Especially since he already has a relatively new car. Most financial advisors suggest you lean toward investments that INCREASE in value over time and diversify your portfolio. Most cars DECREASE in value over time. And buying one American car and one Japanese car doesn't count as diversification.

TOM: So, given all this, should you let him do it? Of course you should! You have to. He's 27 years old...well past the age of reason. He's old enough to do stupid things without your permission.

RAY: But under no circumstances should you give him a penny. Stupidity like this has to cost something, Gail. Otherwise, there'd be a run on it.

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