Thursday, March 14, 2013

Car Financing Options for Retired People

English: Car Dealer, Eastern Avenue, Gants Hill
English: Car Dealer, Eastern Avenue, Gants Hill (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Most seniors who have been through car buying experiences in the past feel that some types of torture could be preferable to going through this process again. If the old clunker appears to be gasping out its last breath, however, it may be time to think through the financing options available and prepare for the car buying process in advance in order to make it easier. Basically, seniors have three options from which to choose if they have need of a new vehicle: buying with cash, financing the cost, or signing a lease agreement. The following information may be helpful to those trying to make the best decision concerning these choices: 

Paying the Entire Amount 

Seniors who have savings stashed back for a rainy day may find that using these funds to pay for a new car is actually cost effective. Interest rates are at record lows so the money saved from buying a car outright and not paying any interest could actually be more than the interest rate paid on any some savings accounts. Of course, if the dealership is offering deals that include payments with no interest added, it may be better to keep the money in savings and take a bit longer to pay for the car. 

Financing the Price 

Most retired people, concerned about keeping enough in their nest egg for emergencies or health problems, choose to make payments on a new car. When choosing this option, it is important to negotiate not only the price of the car, but also the terms of the loan. Seniors with a great credit score should get the best interest rates on the market so always know these rates before going to the dealership. It is also wise to check other financing options before signing on the dotted line. Sometimes credit unions and banks can beat the interest rates offered by the dealership, and people who negotiate with available cash often get a better bargain on the price of the vehicle. 

Signing a Lease 

Although leasing sometimes gets a bad rap, it may actually be the best choice for many seniors, especially those who are retired and live near family. Leasing takes away the need to worry about repairs because the car is always under warranty. Most cars can be leased with very little cash exchanged upfront, and most leasing agreements give the driver at least 12,000 miles per year before any penalties apply. Monthly payments on a leased vehicle, compared to those that must be made when the car is purchased, are almost always lower. 

It is important to know that whether a car is bought with cash or financed for several years, the owner will actually have some equity in the vehicle when he decides to upgrade to a newer model. This is not true of leased vehicles; however, many retired people will find the ease and convenience of leasing a car more than makes up for the resulting lack of equity. Impulse buying may be fun for some seniors, but when it comes to obtaining a new vehicle, planning and information can sweeten any deal. 

Melanie Lewis writes for a site that offers advice on automobile loans and has tips on things to consider before purchasing a new vehicle.

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