Does leasing a phone make sense for your life?

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Does leasing a phone make sense for your life?
Image Credit: Blake Patterson/Flickr.com

Leasing a phone is becoming all the rage in the cellphone industry. But does it make sense for your wallet?  

Apple leads the way in leasing

Longtime listeners know I despise contracts. I’ve long called them ‘handcuffs.’ So I’m glad to see step by step that one company after another is going to the world standard model where you buy a phone however you want, wherever you want…and then you buy service.

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With the announcement of the iPhone 6S and the 6S Plus, Apple is trying to break the relationship where it all starts with the carrier rather than the cellphone provider. So Apple’s latest move is to get you to essentially lease from them forever.

People are keeping their phones longer and longer. Apple wants to take you from a 2.5-year ownership cycle to a 1-year ownership cycle. For $30 a month, you’ll get the latest Apple phone, but you can take it and put it on any North American carrier. So if you don’t like who you’re with, you just get a chip for a different carrier and switch.

Samsung is likely to follow Apple into directly leasing phones to the public, and AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint and Verizon are all scrambling to respond to Apple’s offer.

The Big 4 carriers all have their own version of leasing and T-Mobile is by far the cheapest at $20 a month. Sprint is about $2 more. Verizon and AT&T, meanwhile, charge roughly what Apple charges.

So the choice is yours. If you love the Apple orbit, the new leasing plans make it easier for you to be up to date with the latest and greatest gadgets. But remember, you’ll always be spending money!

If you really love Apple and you want the latest, a better idea might be to buy a reconditioned 6S. Expect to see them in the marketplace by late October.

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