Patrick Hanlon’s Leasing v. Buying

Patrick Hanlon is a Certified Financial Planner with Bickling Financial Services (BFS) who has recently authorized this Leasing v. Buying blog which is also available at www.bickling.com.  As children are back in school and schedules are back on track perhaps this article may be a helpful resource to you and your family when contemplating Leasing v. Buying options.

Leasing v. Buying Blog

“Let me go check with my manager and see what we can do.” Most people that have had to purchase or lease a car in their lifetime are familiar with this phrase. In 2019, I vividly remember being in the dealership weighing our best options for my wife, Marina. Being new parents, we chose an affordable option, with an expectation of low miles driven. It was roomy and left enough space for all the fun things that come with traveling with an infant.

Fast forward to this year, the lease was up. Because of the Covid-19 Pandemic, we were well under the expected mileage, and the car had retained a lot of its value. We also are a family of four now (Austin 4, Lila 11 months), so all the space we thought we had seemed to shrink. We needed to make the decision on whether we should renew our lease, start a new one, or buy a car.

This can be a big financial decision regardless of what stage of life a person is in. Here are some considerations that you may want to think about as you begin the process:

Maintenance Costs

New brakes, steering issues, or any other unforeseen car expenses can be huge burdens if you don’t have an emergency fund built up. In general, these costs would be covered in a short-term lease and would be the owner’s responsibility when they buy the car.


With most cars today, you can customize it right down to the smallest detail. Some finance companies would require modifications to be changed back prior to returning it at the end of a lease, which can be costly and time consuming.

Cash Flow and Net Worth

Leasing a car usually results in lower monthly payments compared to buying and financing a vehicle. However, as you make monthly payments when you buy, you are building your net-worth (albeit with a depreciating asset). With a lease, you’ll be in the same spot as you were when you started your payments.

In our circumstance, buying the car made the most sense, and financially it usually does if you plan to hold onto the vehicle for a long time. But every person’s situation and preferences help determine whether buying or leasing is the way to go for you.

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Securities offered through PKS, Member FINRA/SIPC. Headquartered at 80 State St, Albany NY 12207. Bickling Financial Services, Inc and PKS are not affiliated entities.

Investment Advice offered through Bickling Financial Services, Inc., a registered investment advisor. Securities offered through Purshe Kaplan Sterling Investments, Member FINRA/SIPC Headquartered at 80 State Street, Albany, NY 12207. Purshe Kaplan Sterling Investments and Bickling Financial Services are not affiliated companies.