Sara Routhier, Managing Editor of Features and Outreach, has professional experience as an educator, SEO specialist, and content marketer. She has over five years of experience in the insurance industry. As a researcher, data nerd, writer, and editor she strives to curate educational, enlightening articles that provide you with the must-know facts and best-kept secrets within the overwhelming worl...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity-backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He also has an MBA from the University of South Florida. ...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder, CFP®

UPDATED: Feb 9, 2021

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Historically, teenagers couldn’t wait until they were old enough to apply for their driver’s license. That plastic card allowed young men and women to leave the house when they wanted, it relieved them of dependence on their parents or older siblings, and it allowed their social lives to grow exponentially. The driver’s license was the symbol of teenage freedom.

But today, that’s changing.

Recent reports reveal that fewer and fewer teenagers are actively pursuing a driver’s licenses, and instead are trying to avoid auto loans altogether.

“We hear from parents all the time that kids don’t want a license, that they are being forced to get one,” said Niels Behrmann, an instructor at ABC Driving School of Arizona, according to Arizona Republic News. “We used to go to the high schools and leave our business cards, but we gave up.”

Not only are teenagers straying away from being legally permitted to drive a vehicle, but young adults in their 20s are as well, according to the Arizona Public Interest Research Group.

“Over the past decade the average number of miles driven by people younger than 35 fell by almost 25 percent, according to survey data compiled by the U.S Transportation Department. The same cohort walked, biked and rode transit more,” said Arizona Republic News as it summarized the non-profit’s findings.

Recent U.S. Census data also supports these findings, as the government agency found that Arizona’s vehicle registrations are slightly declining.

State Farm Insurance broker Lynn Hennessy told Arizona Republic News that this trend is due to the economy.

“People are pretty stressed right now about money, and owning a car is a big, scary responsibility,” she said. “Getting rid of debt is the first thing we hear.”

This is particularly true for younger people with student debt. They want to repay their college expenses before taking out an auto loan.

But when younger people are contemplating the purchase of a vehicle, finding the best auto loan interest rates would greatly help them with their debt management. If they’re able to find great rates on an auto loan offer, but still remain opposed, then the “American Rite of Passage” that used to be the acquisition of a driver’s license has truly become something of the past.