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Auto Lease vs. Purchase: Which Is Right for You?

, by Rob Kaufman

Monetary Resources are just one consideration when deciding between an auto lease and financing an auto purchase.

When most people are considering whether to lease or purchase a car, their first thought goes to the financial aspect of the decision. "Will my monthly payments increase or decrease with an auto lease?", "Will I save money in the long-term if I purchase my automobile?", "Does it pay to have equity in my car?" No doubt these are important questions, but as you continue to read, you'll see there's more to making this decision than money alone.

The reasons for one person to lease a car might be different for another. For instance, if your business requires that you always have a luxury vehicle for entertaining clients, leasing a car could help make this happen. However, if you don't drive much and tend to keep the same car for many years, it might be best for you to purchase a new or used vehicle. Again, it all depends on your individual wants, needs and finances.

Pros and Cons of Leasing a Car
Lower monthly payments as compared to a similar purchased vehicle Your yearly mileage is limited
Little or no down payment You don't own the car at lease's end
Low repair costs Typically pay more in long-term
New car every few years Charges for normal/excessive wear-and-tear
Easy trade-in at lease end Early termination fee

As you can see, the majority of the pros and cons above relate to finances, which is most likely why this is the first topic that comes to mind when considering a lease versus purchase. Still, there are other considerations... Convenience, for example: do you want to have to worry about staying within an annual mileage limit? Peace of mind is another: would you feel more comfortable having a new car every few years or not having to concern yourself with the hassle of trading in or selling your car? These are personal preferences and, in the end, should be part of the decision-making process.

Pros and Cons of Purchasing a Car
No mileage limits Higher down payment
Money savings over long-term Higher monthly payments as compared to a similar leased vehicle
Sell your vehicle when you're ready Repair costs not covered by warranty/ after warranty expires
Use car as trade-in on next purchase Trade-in/Selling problems if vehicle needs repairs
Add any customization you want Cash is tied up in a depreciable asset

As mentioned above, the decision to finance a purchase or to lease a vehicle is an individual matter. The factors that are of priority to you and that also impact you and your family the most are the ones that will help sway your decision.

FINAL NOTE: Whether you decide to lease or purchase, your FICO® Score will play an important role.

There are more than 10 different auto finance calculators at They are a great resource for credit education. Use them to find out anything from what vehicle you can afford to how much depreciation should cost you .

Rob Kaufman

Rob is a writer... of blogs, books and business. His financial investment experience combined with a long background in marketing credit protection services provides a source of information that helps fill the gaps on one's journey toward financial well-being. His goal is simple: The more people he can help, the better.