Let the numbers tell the story.

Lease or buy? The answer depends on many factors, but the most compelling reason is payments. Let's look at a real world comparison between leasing and buying. In terms of a monthly budget, you come out ahead by leasing since the payments are less. Plus, you're not locked into five years of payments. But long term, the numbers shift a bit. We'll compare the cost of leasing for six years to the cost of ownership for six years (six years is the average time a person holds onto a vehicle). The numbers are real, and based pricing from January of 2014.

Example Vehicle: 2014 Ford Fusion SE

Lease Terms: One penny down
$389.64 monthly payment
$28,054.08 total monthly payments (Three two year leases paid over 60 months)

$28,000 Total Investment

Purchase Terms: No money down
$450 / monthly payment
$27,000 total monthly payments (paid over 60 months)
$5,000 maintenance and repairs
$32,000 out of pocket
-$8,000 asset (value of vehicle after 6 year depreciation)

$26,000 Total Investment

Now let's consider the untold story within the numbers.

This scenario uses three consecutive two-year leases. That means over the six year span you could have enjoyed three brand new cars, with the latest safety features, styling, amenities and performance upgrades. With the purchase vehicle, you have the same deteriorating car, that will become aged and time-worn.