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Free Money Finance

How Much Should You Spend on an Engagement Ring?

Posted: 18 Oct 2016 02:05 AM PDT

Here's an interesting question: how much should you spend on an engagement ring?

Before we get to the "answer", let's look at some very interesting quotes from the piece linked above.

Let's begin with this one:

If De Beers put the burden on men to buy the perfect stone, Facebook and Instagram have ratcheted up the symbol of love to new levels. Jewelers report that their male customers indicate with increasing frequency their fear of proposing with an inferior ring not worthy of posting on social media. Some men who are especially reticent resort to purchasing "holding rings," temporary tokens of engagement that the woman can later swap for a handpicked ring.

I'm not sure exactly what they are saying here so maybe someone can enlighten me.

Are they saying the guy picks a ring that's generally "ok" with the shop's knowledge that he'll return it later for a bigger/better ring that his fiance picks out?

That's not a bad idea if it ensures she gets the ring she wants and they both agree on it.

If it's because she's going to demand at least 3 carats and there's no way he can make her happy by picking something, then that's out of control IMO.

They then add some very interesting information:

A 2014 Emory University study revealed that a correlation exists between the amount spent on wedding expenses, including the engagement ring, and the success of the marriage. The correlation is actually quite strong, and categorically inverse. Spending $1,000 or less on wedding expenses was associated with the strongest likelihood of a positive outcome and the lowest divorce hazard. Exceeding $20,000 on wedding expenses was associated with a sharp increase in divorce hazard.

Given that money trouble has been repeatedly indicated in previous studies as a leading cause of divorce, the Emory University researchers posit that stretching budgets or incurring debt to pay for a wedding ceremony or ring potentially sets a new marriage on a trajectory toward the kind of financial strain that can lead to a divorce.

Very interesting...

Especially in light of the fact that so many people spend so much on their wedding

We spent somewhere south of $5,000 (probably more like $3k), but that was in the stone ages. We'll be married 25 years this fall so it worked for us.

Finally, Investopedia does not answer their own question, but they do say this:

The answer to how much you should spend on an engagement ring is not three months' salary, the amount suggested by De Beers decades ago, nor is it more than your girlfriend's friend's fiancé spent on the ring that racked up all those Facebook likes. Spending less may not make you a social media superstar, but if the data is correct, it could lead to a happier, longer-lasting marriage.

I can't remember how much I spent on my wife's engagement ring but I do know this:

1. I paid cash.

2. The cost was somewhere around two months' salary, but it could have been less.

3. I got the diamond at a wholesaler for a fraction of the cost I would have paid at a jeweler.

4. The ring was appraised at several times its value once we put the stone together with a setting. Somewhere around $25k. Yikes!

I'm not sure what I'd pay these days but something like $5k would probably be my limit. If the woman was upset by that then I think it would be an indication that we were not matched properly.

How about you? Do you have any guidelines or suggestions on what an engagement ring should cost?


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