Financial tips for upgrading a family vehicle as more families drive this holiday season

moodboard/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A recent study found that Americans spend more time in their vehicles once school starts for their children and will continue to do so in the midst of the holiday season.

A 2017 Back to Driving Survey shows nearly 75 percent of parents resume driving during the course of the school year compared to the summer. A significant amount of that driving time includes school pick-ups and drop-offs, going to daycare, and commuting to other after school activities like sports and clubs.

“When you’ve got kids playing sports, in different after school programs… we’re almost living in our car,” says Certified Financial Planner Jeff Rose. Rose recently spoke with ABC News about the survey.

The findings in the survey back up Rose’s claim. Thirty five percent of drivers participating in the study think of their vehicle as a second home, especially when they consider how often their families eat and nap in their cars.

Although close to three quarters (71.4 percent) of drivers are generally satisfied with their family vehicle according to the survey, Americans are still in search of an upgrade. Fuel efficiency and overall space are two luxuries people desire when searching for an upgrade.

Putting money towards an upgrade could be a convenient move for families, but Rose warns there are a couple precautions people should take before buying a new car.

“Just make sure you’re not buying more car than you can afford,” he tells ABC News, adding, “You have to look at your budget and make sure it makes sense.”

Rose uses his own family as an example.

“We just went from a family of five to six just last year, and that totally changed the dynamic of our car needs. We went from being able to handle a smaller size SUV, and when we got our daughter, we couldn’t fit groceries in there.”

He says families considering buying a new vehicle should ensure they are not putting their families in debt for the sake of adding one or two luxuries.

Rose adds that each family has different goals and should consider those goals before making a purchase also, recommending, “If you have a growing family or you’re expecting to have more children take that into consideration as well.”

The Back to Driving Survey examined 789 drivers licensed in the U.S. who have at least one child 15-years-old or younger living in their home. It is commissioned by the GM BuyPower Card.

Jeff Rose is the CEO and Founder of Alliance Wealth Management, LLC, an investment advisory firm. He is also the founder of
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