6 Reasons Senior Citizens Should Consider Leasing Over Buying

Senior couple
Credit: Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock.com
On last Saturday's Car Pro Show, we had a number of callers who identify themselves as senior citizens who are considering leasing for the first time.

I explain on the air that as we age, our mobility becomes more and more important and, frankly, precious. For many seniors, they have never given much thought to leasing a vehicle; many grew up in a time that this just wasnít done. However, it should be considered, along with the purchase option. It is wise to look at both in-depth to make the right decision.

Here are some of the reasons I think senior citizens should look at leasing their next vehicle:

1. Lower monthly payments.

There is no doubt if you are not in a position to pay cash for your next car, a lease will cost you less per month. Depending on the vehicle and the incentives, at times the lease payment will be substantially lower.

2. Keep your cash.

Just about any lease can be done with little or no money down. While certificates of deposit and other interest-bearing accounts are not paying huge dividends, for some people it gives them peace of mind to know where their money is.

3. More options.

With leasing, if the vehicle you chose turns out not to be right for you, it is easier and quicker to get out of a lease than a long-term finance contract. Iíve seen many cases of people suddenly needing something very different, like a mobility van and, again, getting out of a lease will be easier. If leasing just did not work for you, you can purchase your lease car at any time.

4. Lower out of pocket expenses.

For most people who lease, over the term of a lease, you will only be out the lease payment, gasoline, insurance, and very minor things like a few oil changes and tire rotations. Most wonít even need to buy a set of tires. Your leased vehicle will be under warranty for the entire time you have it, and some automakers even cover the cost of maintenance.

5. Having the latest features.

Cars are changing quickly and there is a race to see which automaker can perfect new safety features and creature comforts. If you get on a lease cycle, meaning you lease again and again, youíll almost always have a safer car than the one before. Vehicles today often have power lift gates and emergency stopping, will keep you in your lane, and warn you when someone is in your blind spot.

6. Making it easier for heirs.

Nobody wants to think about being gone, but none of us is immortal. Should the end come with a purchase, especially early in a normal finance contract, unless a lot of money was put down, the balance owed will be greater than the value of the vehicle, leaving the estate or the surviving spouse liable for the deficit. As we already discussed, it is easier to get out of a short-term lease than a long-term finance contract.

A few other things to keep in mind.

Donít go over 36-39 months on a lease or you will eliminate the reason for leasing in the first place. Also, lease directly from a Car Pro Certified dealer, not a third-party lease company, youíll save money.

Click here for my FAQ page for more guidance on leasing.
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I agree wholeheartedly with your article about seniors leasing instead of buying. We decided to do that back in 2009 with our first CR-V, and have been doing so ever since. Wouldn't do it any other way. No out of pocket expenses except those you mentioned. Since 2008, we've enjoyed 4 CR-Vs and now a Mazda CX-5. The safety advances are awesome, especially with the CX-5.
The Car Pro
Good for you Joe! I am sure continuing to lease will work out very well for you! Thanks for taking the newsletter!

Jerry Reynolds
Hi Jerry I am curious as to your reasons for not doing a lease over 39 months? Also is a lease 37, 38 or 39 month lease really that valuable after taking into account the registration fees due at 36 months? You only get up to 3 months for that annual fee. Here in CA that is a hefty fee that is not recoverable

Ed N
The Car Pro
As I explain on my FAQ page, past 39 months you have to do maintenance and probably have to buy tires. I understand about the CA fees, but I write articles for all over the country, not just CA. I appreciate your feedback.

Jerry Reynolds
Scott Foree
Jerry, back in the 90's when I leased Acura's, I received a tax bill every year. Does this still occur now? Thanks!
The Car Pro
Best guess, October and even more in November, so hang on if you can, I think youíll be pleased.

Jerry Reynolds
Thomas Manders, Sr
I just leased a Ford Explorer limited and it's "more car" than I need. My "purchase was impulsive, because I needed a vehicle following my wife's death ( her Son took our car). At age 81, this is not the perfect vehicle in spite of all the bells and whistles. With the limited inventory at the dealership I ended up with a RED vehicle...not the color I wanted. Do I have an options at this time? Smaller SUV, etc.

Thomas E Manders, Sr
The Car Pro
Sorry, but no. You will be with this vehicle until the end of the lease most likely. I wish I had better news.

Jerry Reynolds