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Is leasing a vehicle instead of purchasing a vehicle that stupid a financial decision?


Considering that cars seem to lose half their value the first time you use the chirpy thing to get in, I question the wisdom of acquiring new wheels through either means instead of buying something a year old, especially in the new era of austerity. Maybe that’s just me.

For those who want a new car or truck, not just now but every couple of years, leasing could be the right option. A lease often can put someone on the road for a lower up-front cost than buying. But it may not work out unless the driver treats the vehicle well and doesn’t do an excessive amount of driving (if you’re the legendary little old lady who only drives to church on Sunday, leasing may be the way to go, but I suspect you’re not, based on your user name).

For drivers who can go without the latest model and who go pretty hard on the one they’ve got, buying might be the better choice, especially now that financing costs are so  low and dealers are eager to push their vehicles out the door with you in one of them. The edge that lease arrangements may have in making vehicles more affordable early in the life of a contract tends to diminish when prices and financing rates are comparatively low. That could explain why leasing has become less popular. According to, leases accounted for only 16 percent of retail car deals in 2009, down from 21 percent in 2008.

-Conrad de Aenlle