New Auto Purchase – Lease VS Buy

Essentially, Leasing is just an alternative way to finance a new vehicle. We know that when purchasing a new vehicle the down payment, sales tax and license fees are required to be paid up front. However when leasing a new vehicle you are required to pay only the first monthly payment, a security deposit (usually same as monthly payment), and the license fees. The sales tax (which is based on the capitalized value of the vehicle) is actually amortized over the term of the lease in most states. In other words, the taxes are included in the monthly payments.

Capitalized Cost

Essentially the capitalized cost of a new vehicle is the actual price you have agreed to pay for the vehicle.

Gross Capitalized Cost

The gross capitalized cost of a new vehicle includes the selling price of the vehicle (which is the capitalized cost plus acquisition fees, extended warranty, accident & health insurance, dealer title fee, payoff on your trade-in, credit life insurance, gap insurance and any other fees the dealer decides to charge you). Buyer beware; that most people really don’t ever know what their capitalized cost is because it is buried within the gross capitalized cost and the dealer doesn’t actually reveal this number unless he has to. Most car deals made at auto dealerships are negotiated on the basis of payment rather than price. This applies to both leasing and purchasing. Don’t get caught in this trap! Make the dealer reveal the selling price for every payment offer he makes you!

Adjusted Capitalized Cost
The adjusted capitalized cost of a new vehicle is the gross capitalized cost minus (-) your down payment, net trade-in amount, rebates, license fees and taxes along with any other deductions given.

Depreciation/Residual

When purchasing a new vehicle your payments are based on the full value or selling price, plus extended warranty, tax & license, minus (-) rebate, down payment and net trade-in value. However, when you lease a vehicle your payments are based only on the “depreciation or your use” of the vehicle during the entire term of the lease. The depreciation is actually only a portion of the capitalized cost of the vehicle and is determined by the term of the lease, number of miles driven and condition of the vehicle at the end of the lease. The payments on a lease are based on the deprecation money factor (which is a form of interest rate) and the amortized taxes. Therefore, you can actually drive a more expensive vehicle with a lower payment if you lease. Please note that the depreciation is actually estimated and set at the inception of the lease.

The residual is the portion or balance of the adjusted capitalized cost after the deprecation has been deducted. The residual is just put aside in limbo until the end of the lease. The higher the residual – the lower your monthly payment. At the end of the lease you have two options. You can either turn the vehicle back into the bank or leasing company, or you can buy the vehicle outright for the residual balance. You can even refinance the residual. But keep in mind if you turn in the vehicle with more mileage than allowed on your contract, you will be charged any where from .12¢ to .25¢ for each extra mile. In an auto lease you are limited to a specific number of miles in your lease contact. The average would be from 12,000 to 15,000 miles per year. You may drive any number of miles in any given year but you cannot exceed the number of allotted miles or you will be penalized. If you purchase the vehicle the charge for the extra mileage will normally be waved. Most banks and finance companies will allow you to add an extra 15,000 to 20,000 miles to your lease contract depending on the term of the lease. However, the cost of the extra miles will be added to your gross capitalization cost and your monthly payment will be increased accordingly.

Ownership

When you have entered into a lease contract you cannot terminate the lease or turn-in your vehicle prior to the ending date of the contract. If you do this the bank will report this as a voluntary repossession on your credit record. On an auto lease the vehicle is actually registered and titled to the bank or leasing company. Therefore you do not own the vehicle, the bank does. You get to use the vehicle and are legally responsible for the upkeep and maintenance. Please note, if you don’t maintain the vehicle during the lease you will be penalized for all excessive wear-and-tear when you turn it in. Also, if you really needed to get out of your lease you can buy out of the lease if you can get the financing or you can get someone to take over your lease. Of course, they will have to qualify.

Vehicle Warranties

The average new car warranty is 36 months or 36000 miles, which ever comes first. It is not recommended that you enter into a 4, 5 or 6 year lease contract because they are not economical. Even with a four-year lease it is common for the residual to be higher than the actual value of the vehicle at the end of the lease which makes it very hard to refinance. If you are like a lot of people you can lease a new vehicle every 2 to 3 years and never have to buy an extended warranty. The only time it would be beneficial to buy an extended warranty is if you knew you were going to buy the vehicle outright at the end of the lease.

Gap Insurance

Gap Insurance is basically insurance coverage on the difference between the actual value of your vehicle and the balance you owe on the lease including the residual. This kind of protection is needed in case your vehicle is involved in an accident and is declared a total loss. Gap Insurance is important especially for people who lease vehicles. The lease on a vehicle is actually designed for the balance owed to be upside-down in relation to the actual value of the vehicle until approximately the end date of the lease term. At this time the residual should fall in line or be equal to the vehicle’s actual value. Gap Insurance is good for purchase financing as well. The gap is not as large as in leasing, but you still stand the chance of having to put out a great deal of money.

Final Advice

Remember, there are two main factors you must consider when you are thinking about leasing an automobile. The first is how long you intend to keep the vehicle and the second
is how many miles you travel annually. If you intend to keep the vehicle a maximum of three years and you only average 15,000 miles a year, then you should definitely consider leasing. If you want to keep the new vehicle for more than three years, you should consider purchasing.

When you lease a vehicle, you very rarely have to put any money down, so lease a new vehicle every two to three years and you won’t owe any money on the old vehicle, plus you’ll never have to buy an extended warranty. Also, you will have spent a ton of money less for each vehicle than if you had purchased them. If you want to keep a vehicle longer just buy it at the end of the lease.

Remember, don’t let the dealer try to sell you on the basis of payments. Negotiate on the price only and when you have agreed on the price then tell them you have a trade-in. When you have agreed to your trade-in value then tell them you want to lease the new vehicle. Now you know what to do from here. Also, dealerships have a tendency to quote lease payments without the monthly tax. This makes a big difference in the monthly payments. If you don’t control this you will be sadly surprised when you go into the finance manager to sign the paperwork. One more thing – when you are signing the lease contract, be sure to verify that the trade-in value you have agreed upon is actually deducted from the capitalized cost. Otherwise the dealer could wind up purchasing your trade for pennies and you would never know.

The Best Finance App

The best finance app, in my opinion, is Mint.com’s mobile app. Here is a list of its features and finance app alternatives if you prefer to use an app other than Mint.com.

Mint.com (Free)

I have been using mint for a long time now and believe it is the best finance app. Intuit bought this web site a while back so it is very secure, using bank level encryption.

Mint gives you a quick overview of your finances, which you can put on one of your main screens in the form of a widget. The widget will show your current cash amount and your credit debt. It will also show you the last time your information was updated, so you can be sure that you are looking at the most recent information.

Once you set up a monthly budget, you can access it with the app to make sure you are staying on track for the month. Mint is very good at knowing how to categorize your transactions for budgeting purposes and it will let you know if it does not know how to categorize a transaction.

The app automatically gives you alerts for various things, which include the availability of large deposits, what bills will are due in the next few days, etc.

You can get a very general picture of you investments with this app. By that, I mean if you simply want to know the balance of you accounts, you will be happy with this app. If you want to get more information about the performance of specific investments, you will need to go to the website.

To set up this app, I would suggest you log on to the main website to input all of you account information and set your budget. Once that is completed, you simply download the app, log in, and all your accounts are ready to go.

Adaptu Wallet (Currently Free)

Adaptu Wallet has many unique features like tracking loyal programs and creating spending forecasts. The app also allows you to store photos of insurance and business cards, which will decrease the clutter inside your wallet. The app is currently free, but the word on the street is they will start charging for usage sometime in 2012.

Pageonce (Free or $4.99 for Gold version)

Pageonce arguably has the best interface of all the finance apps. Your key account balances are placed in thumbnails that appear on the home screen. Contrary to popular belief, this app does provide PayPal support even though many claim it doesn’t. Balance updates are not as fast as Mint.com or Adaptu, some transactions take days to update. The Gold version has the useful ability to pay bills directly from the app, and this is the only finance app that can do this. The gold version also removes all the ads from your app.

Top 5 iPad Finance Apps for Business

The past two years have been a whirlwind in mobile computing and people are embracing these new devices, like the iPad, at breakneck speeds. Apple’s Fourth Quarter revenues jumped 21 percent from a year ago, including the sale of over 11 million iPads. It’s clear that the huge advances in mobile devices are not only changing how we live our personal lives but also how we do business. For business, especially small business, some of the biggest advantages are coming from the app world. If you want to make your business finances a breeze, check out these apps:

1. Square: Credit card transactions have never been easier. The developers of this free app will send you an actual credit card reader that plugs into your iPad. It’s secure, easy, mobile, and even has built in analytics to track sales, collect tips and tax, and send electronic receipts via email or text. There is no need to delay the payment process anymore. Oh, and they only charge a 2.75% transaction fee: no contracts, fees, or merchant accounts necessary.

2. Expensify has the traveling business world in an uproar. The features of this app are impressive at the least: sync banking information to track purchases in real time, digitize receipts to reduce the chance of losing them (just snap a picture and the app will discern and note the necessary info), customize and email reports for approval, and be reimbursed to your checking account. You’ll be your accountant’s best friend with the organization and ease provided by this app.

3. Time Master + Billing: With a 4 star rating in the app store, this app sets the bar for time and expense tracking. The overall best feature is flexibility to be customized to fit how you work – rounding minutes, multiple running timers, billing rates, expenses, client project/tasks, and so many more options. There are even additional modules available to include invoicing, QuickBooks export, and wireless sync between mobile devices.

4. Intuit GoPayment Credit Card Terminal: Similar to Square but a little bit more involved. It’s also a free app, but you have to jump through a few more hoops (AKA a 15 minute application process) to be approved to use this service. However, if you’re looking for a proven brand name, this may be for you.

5. QuickBooks Connect: This is a great supplement to your QuickBooks Online subscription (QuickBooks 2011 users you’ll have to get a paid subscription to use this app past 30 days). Manage customer information and balances; create invoices and sales receipts; convert estimates to invoices; email estimates, invoices, and sales receipts and more with this handy app.

Mobile computing can make all the difference in the efficiency of your business. Look for the bottlenecks in your financial administration and ask yourself, is there an app for that?

Kristi Daeda is an online marketing strategist that works with companies nationwide to define and execute powerful online marketing strategies. Read more about her thoughts on online marketing at her website [http://www.powerhousestrategy.com] or as featured on Mobile Apps Designers.

Top Budget and Personal Finance Apps

Let’s face it, there are some extreme couponers, thrifters, and smart consumers out there always trying to save money and get the best deals. With budgets that much more tight in these tough economic times, it’s okay to get a little help from none other than our smartphone apps. I mean, why not, right? We have our smartphones with us nearly every minute of the day, so this kind of smart budgeting is accessible to anyone. Keep track of your monthly spending, set limits on each category of goodies you purchase, save money, and look up investment ideas and accounts has never been easier. Read on to see how you can always control and be on top of your personal finances. We’ll reveal the top budgeting and smart spending apps for you thrifty shoppers out there!

For one, there are so many budget tracking apps out there, but a really useful one would come with a budget tracker tool that will allow you to view your yearly, monthly, weekly, and daily purchases. You can further categorize them and see visually and through charts and notifications how much you spend exactly in each category. There is also a rollover option for you to transfer leftover funds from previous months or weeks to roll over and won’t mess up your budgeting. Of course, you can always opt out of this option and have a set number of expenses every month.

Another useful app gives you control to add new transactions over your allotted sum of money and spending finances. Pre-setting an overall budget for the entire month, and thereby deducing every time you make a purchase gives you instant updates on the money you have and the money you are losing. These transactions are totally customizable. Currency converters may also be useful if you plan on spending your money in a foreign country. We all get carried away when we travel, but this app makes it easy to stay focused on the budget, even when you’re not familiar with the currency exchange.

Another great app gives you total control over importing your finances onto your phone from an external memory device – your laptop, desktop, or anything with wireless. You can also set a password to manage your personal finances with utmost privacy. Charts and graphs give you short and easy to read summaries of your account activity. You can share these things in the form of PDF, Excel spreadsheet, or import to Google Documents in order to share with your family, business collegiate, execs, or co-workers.

If you are comfortable, some apps may even connect directly to your bank account and give you automatic categorized notifications of your spending. It will constantly update your spending profile and read instant in depth overviews. Any suspicious activity will be announced. Budget tracking is that easy!

In fact, budget tracking has made it easier to keep track of your credit scores, and credit score reports. Why not try to improve your credit score while you are managing your personal finances? If you use the right app, your personal finances will be in a much better place.

The Best Free Android Finance Apps

Obviously many people will be skeptical as to how good free apps actually are, with many consumers actually purposefully not downloading free apps due to fears that they will crash or being infected with various ways of stealing your money. However these fears are totally unfounded and without evidence so do not let this put you off. Now to the apps:

PayPal

If you have been on the internet at some point then you will have undoubtedly heard of PayPal. The service facilitates payments between people via a simple email address, avoiding the complexities usually associated with bank transfers and the like. The PayPal Android app allows users to manage their PayPal account just as they would through the official website. The app is totally secure and allows you to make purchases or deposits also amongst other activities on the move, a very useful addition to the marketplace.

Quote Pro

Quote Pro is also an incredibly useful app, used by many on a daily basis it has fast become one of the most downloaded in its range. Not only can you obtain extremely detailed and accurate information about the range of stocks you have an interest in, but you can also keep an eye on your portfolio of stocks and shares.

Tip Calculator by TradeFields

Tip Calculator is perhaps one of the most imaginative apps I have personally seen on the app marketplace. It is incredibly useful for an aspect you will have probably have struggled with every time you’ve been out for a meal, the tip. Not only will the app inform you of the total tip you should be leaving behind, but will also divide the total tip amount between the number of people at the dinner, saving much embarrassment, delays and napkin calculations!

Currency Converter

How many times have you been in a foreign country or at the airport and have been wondering how much you will actually get in return for your dollars? Numerous times in all probability. The currency converter provided by Pocketools will enable you to be provided with an accurate, up to date and independent currency exchange valuation allowing you to shop around to find the best exchange rate. Not only does this app provide you with the current exchange rate, it will also give you data on the currency of your choice over the last 5 year period through the use of many easy to read graphs.

Mileage

This is without doubt one of the best apps I have personally seen. With the rising prices of gas which look set to continue for the foreseeable future it is a great way of ensuring that you are driving as economically as possible and therefore saving as much gas as possible. I haven’t an idea about how it works but it does, the interface is also extremely slick, simple to navigate through and to understand.

Finance

Finance, whilst the name of the app may not excite you or conjure up ideas that this app is going to change the world it certainly fills a gap in the market which needed a simple app. It’s similar to Google search in many aspects, it provides a very basic user interface, but one that is incredibly effective and performs its job excellently. If you already use Google Finance or are considering starting to use it then this app is vital, it synchronizes everything meaning it’s like being on your main PC.

Financisto

Financisto is another great money manager. The ability to create long and short term budgets for holidays, short breaks or just a simple shopping trip is a real plus point for this app and one which has seen it rocket in terms of popularity. In addition to this the app has the capability to check your recurring payments amongst many other essential financial activities; this has left many users of the marketplace wondering why there is no charge.