My car seems to be beating the stock market. It’s nothing special—a midsize, mass-market sport-utility vehicle leased in September 2020. On the pandemic supply-chain timeline, that’s after the toilet paper panic and just before the everything-else shortage. And yes: leased. I get a new car every three years to avoid the hassle of repairs and periodically clear my seat rails of Happy Meal fries.
The lease is based on a $40,000 purchase price and a $26,000 “residual” value at turn-in, which I can pay for the car if I want. I’m running so far over my mileage allotment that I’m starting to suspect myself of sleep-Uber-driving. That should subtract from the car’s actual value at turn-in, yet I see identical, high-mileage cars selling now for $33,500. If those prices hold for a few more months, I’ll be “up” on my buy option by 29%. That’s two points more than the S&P 500 index has returned over the same stretch.