Skip IRA for 1 year to buy engagement ring

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jtundra
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Re: Skip IRA for 1 year to buy engagement ring

Post by jtundra »

For the RIGHT woman, it is okay to skip IRA for 1 year to buy engagement ring, especially if this is important to her!

This might be the only $$ you have to spend on her for a long time. Years ago, a college student emptied his pocket and bought an engagement ring for over $2000 when he only made a few hundrends doing part-time at school. He successfully won his woman's heart. Since then they have been happily married and the wife has bought a house, paid all expenses and half of his graduate school tuition with her salary. The wife has given up on $$ designer shoes, fancy clothes, eating out, etc just to help reducing husband's student loan.

They are still happily married as fo today. True story.

So be mindful of your decision. You know best if she is the right woman for you or not.
whomever
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Re: Skip IRA for 1 year to buy engagement ring

Post by whomever »

I may win the cheapskate prize for this thread, which is quite an accomplishment for this site :-)

My bride of 30 years and I skipped engagement rings and went shopping together for a wedding ring (for her, I've never worn one - I'm always messing around with machinery or something where rings are contra-indicated). She picked out a nice gold band that was, if memory serves, $39 :-).

A couple can be happy and frugal, or happy and spendthrift. What I don't think is common, or maybe even possible, is to have a happy marriage of opposites. I have spendthrift friends whose lives seem like financial disasters to me, but the financial worries just run off their backs and they seem perfectly happy - viva la difference.

And it's fine to spend money - we spend more than most on travel, for example. My bride spends on things that I wouldn't give a nickel for, and vice versa. That's all part of a normal marriage, I'd think; people aren't clones.

But the OP really needs to have those conversations. It's not just about the ring - it's whether the fancy ring will lead to the fancy car and overbuying the house and on and on. You certainly don't want the marriage to be ten years of arguing about money followed by a divorce. That would make a ring look pretty cheap :-)
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720pete
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Re: Skip IRA for 1 year to buy engagement ring

Post by 720pete »

JonnyDVM wrote:Anybody else think 26 is too young to get married? Borderline, but I kinda feel like 28+ is the way to go with that decision.
We've been together for 3 1/2 years now. If I proposed now the engagement would definitely be more of a lengthy one as she needs to finish school herself and we still need to find jobs in the same metro. We're about 150 miles apart right now.
boroc7 wrote:It's all relative, isn't it? If, e.g., you have $100k in student debt, want a $35k wedding, and make only $40k, $5k is very significant.

I would hope the op interprets the 2 pages of responses (and the variability of responses) that this is indeed a good opportunity to understand the other party.
Fortunately I have no debt, I do have a 6 month emergency fund and recently-completed my Master's degree.

Onyxmeth wrote: I mentioned the possibility of getting a side job on a temporary basis so you can fully fund both the Roth and the ring. Is that feasible for you?
I've been looking around for a side job recently. I'm hoping to get a tutoring position or something of the like where I can work on evenings and weekends.
travelnut11
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Re: Skip IRA for 1 year to buy engagement ring

Post by travelnut11 »

englishgirl wrote:I might suggest going ring shopping to my boyfriend, especially if I wanted to steer him to the cheaper rings, lol. I would worry that if left to his own devices, he might think that he had to spend a lot of money on a big flashy ring to pick out for a public proposal. Neither of which I would like. So, the fact that she has suggested going ring shopping doesn't necessary imply that she wants a giant rock. She may just want some input.
This. I'm getting married on March 1 and like many Bogleheads am very frugal. But I've also never owned a decent piece of jewelry so an engagement ring seems like a good opportunity for that. My fiance basically told me to pick out whatever I wanted and gave me a budget. I proceeded to then cut the budget in half because I thought the number he came up with was too high. Also, we don't have the same taste and I was fairly picky about what I wanted so doing the research/shopping and picking it out myself worked great. Perhaps that's not romantic but we're not really the romantic types anyway and are much more pragmatic/practical. My point is that asking to ring shop is really more about having input and making sure the man understands what she wants. I've known too many brides with rings they didn't like which is a situation that could've been resolved by asking some simple questions beforehand.
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herbie
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Re: Skip IRA for 1 year to buy engagement ring

Post by herbie »

herbie wrote:Despite being a low-maintenance, frugal woman, a diamond engagement ring was still important to me. It's the one thing I wear every single day.
I am quoting myself here to associate this reply with my original post.

Anyhow, I feel the need to defend myself because of all these posts dogging women who want a diamond engagement ring. I admit that if I were to be picking out the ring today, I would opt for an alternative to a mined diamond, but I still would like a traditional looking ring. Again, I wear it every single day. Just because I value my ring doesn't mean that I love my husband any less than those who are boasting that "my wife was happy to draw on a ring with a sharpie"!

It also does not mean that my husband is destined to a life of buying me designer handbags and shoes. Nor that every holiday requires an elaborate gift. I was not expecting a Valentine's gift this year, but thoroughly enjoyed my surprise... a Snapple iced tea that he doodled hearts on. The fact is that he thought about me and picked out something that would brighten my day, and it was appreciated! My engagement ring was a one-time purchase that I will forever cherish and hope to pass down to my children.

OP, I wish you the best! I really love being married, it just brings a wonderful feeling of security and contentment. Enjoy this time!
fposte
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Re: Skip IRA for 1 year to buy engagement ring

Post by fposte »

720pete wrote: We've been together for 3 1/2 years now. If I proposed now the engagement would definitely be more of a lengthy one as she needs to finish school herself and we still need to find jobs in the same metro. We're about 150 miles apart right now.
So does that mean you're going to need money for a wedding in a couple of years? Is the IRA contribution going to be diverted for that, too?

(No vote on the ring, because that's personal, but I'm wary of the "can't talk to her about finances" and the silence on the possibility of a substantial forthcoming expenditure.)
mayday23
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Re: Skip IRA for 1 year to buy engagement ring

Post by mayday23 »

lol @ all the suggestions at buying a CZ. Now at least I know who all the people are walking around with fake Louis bags thinking they’re pulling one over on the world - the boglehead bunch.

I overspent for my wife's ring and don't regret it. I put it on a cc that had no interest for 15 months and gradually paid it off before the interest hit. Some people like to eat skirt steak from sizzler to celebrate and some people like to go to Morton’s every once in a while to enjoy a good meal. Nothing wrong with either approach and nothing wrong with marrying someone who may like something very nice on her finger to monument the greatest day of her life (until she has a child).
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StormShadow
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Re: Skip IRA for 1 year to buy engagement ring

Post by StormShadow »

DonCamillo wrote:Has anyone else reading this forum noticed that while Bogleheads is a great place to get financial advice, it is a terrible place to get romantic advice?
Boglehead alternative to the engagement ring? A used copy of Atlas Shrugged.
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jpsfranks
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Re: Skip IRA for 1 year to buy engagement ring

Post by jpsfranks »

StormShadow wrote:Boglehead alternative to the engagement ring? A used copy of Atlas Shrugged.
:shock: Let us know how well that works out for you.
technovelist
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Re: Skip IRA for 1 year to buy engagement ring

Post by technovelist »

StormShadow wrote:
DonCamillo wrote:Has anyone else reading this forum noticed that while Bogleheads is a great place to get financial advice, it is a terrible place to get romantic advice?
Boglehead alternative to the engagement ring? A used copy of Atlas Shrugged.
Or a Kindle copy, I assume. :D
In theory, theory and practice are identical. In practice, they often differ.
privatepilot
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Re: Skip IRA for 1 year to buy engagement ring

Post by privatepilot »

Everyone and every situation is different.
We have been married for 31 years and have lived a frugal life, saving for the future. Our engagement ring was rather inexpensive, but was what I could afford.
She took the ring off years ago and put it in the safe deposit box. She even considered selling it but I suggested she just keep it.
I think someone else said it would be a good test for a possible future wife and her attitude about money/things.
Continue saving for the future.
The ring may loose significance as years pass buy, but the money you set aside now will increase in significance.
TexasPenny
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Re: Skip IRA for 1 year to buy engagement ring

Post by TexasPenny »

Personally, I knew I would only want to wear a wedding band after the wedding and not an engagement ring plus the band. With that in mind, we found a beautiful amber and silver ring for $18 to be the "engagement ring". But, the wedding bands we picked out were about $2500 each (http://www.mokume-gane.com/) and we couldn't be happier. Although to be honest, we only paid $5000 for rings because of an unexpected inheritance right at the time of the wedding. Originally we had picked out $300 tungsten rings.

I would say to go ring shopping with her and see what she picks. If she picks a huge/expensive ring, ask her why she's drawn to that. Is it the size? It is bigger than the ones her friends have? Is that important? If she compares her possessions to what others have, that may be a red flag for future purchases. What is she expecting for the wedding? Does she want a huge blowout with 300 people? What are her priorities? I don't see a problem with a young person cutting back on retirement savings for one year, but if it becomes a habit, that's a problem.
letsgobobby
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Re: Skip IRA for 1 year to buy engagement ring

Post by letsgobobby »

in_reality wrote:
Is she making Roth contributions? If not, put it in her account! It would always be there for her until she needs it!!!
This is actually quite a clever suggestion. It speaks to your values. And it is a sure sign of commitment. At least I would have no qualms about proposing this. She might surprise you and tell you it's the best engagement gift you could have given her.
Zytos
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Re: Skip IRA for 1 year to buy engagement ring

Post by Zytos »

letsgobobby wrote:
in_reality wrote:
Is she making Roth contributions? If not, put it in her account! It would always be there for her until she needs it!!!
This is actually quite a clever suggestion. It speaks to your values. And it is a sure sign of commitment. At least I would have no qualms about proposing this. She might surprise you and tell you it's the best engagement gift you could have given her.
This forum...

You guys are so out of touch. A deposit into your fiance's Roth IRA in lieu of engagement ring. Any normal woman, and that normal woman's friends, would be mortified. I am talking about normal society. This would be mocked mercilessly. Print out the debit from Vanguard.com? Put a bow on it and give it your fiance? I'm sure her post to Facebook will get many likes.

There are times to gently guide/push your spouse into better financial habits. This is not the time to do that.
leonard
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Re: Skip IRA for 1 year to buy engagement ring

Post by leonard »

Zytos wrote:
letsgobobby wrote:
in_reality wrote:
Is she making Roth contributions? If not, put it in her account! It would always be there for her until she needs it!!!
This is actually quite a clever suggestion. It speaks to your values. And it is a sure sign of commitment. At least I would have no qualms about proposing this. She might surprise you and tell you it's the best engagement gift you could have given her.
This forum...

You guys are so out of touch. A deposit into your fiance's Roth IRA in lieu of engagement ring. Any normal woman, and that normal woman's friends, would be mortified. I am talking about normal society. This would be mocked mercilessly. Print out the debit from Vanguard.com? Put a bow on it and give it your fiance? I'm sure her post to Facebook will get many likes.

There are times to gently guide/push your spouse into better financial habits. This is not the time to do that.
One is either making good financial decisions or they are not. Has nothing to do with "This forum...".
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sls239
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Re: Skip IRA for 1 year to buy engagement ring

Post by sls239 »

So why is the title of this thread "Skip IRA for 1 year to buy engagement ring" and not "Eat Ramen for 1 year to buy engagement ring?"

If you are going to buy a nice ring (a choice I leave up to you) the money shouldn't come from a sacrifice in the future, but from a sacrifice in the present.
Gnirk
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Re: Skip IRA for 1 year to buy engagement ring

Post by Gnirk »

I say skip the engagement ring for now. Select a nice modest wedding band, and buy a really nice ring later, when your financials are on better footing.
That's what we did in my first marriage. No engagement ring, but he bought me a beautiful solitaire diamond ring for our thirteenth anniversary (And after the divorce I had it set into a nice ring for my oldest daughter on her 40th birthday).

I didn't want an engagement ring for my second marriage, just a simple wedding band. But my husband bought me a beautiful diamond ring for my retirement, which I wear on my right hand.
Jeff7
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Re: Skip IRA for 1 year to buy engagement ring

Post by Jeff7 »

The ring preference definitely depends on the person.

My mother's ring is a simple one, a plain gold band with a small diamond.
- She didn't want an expensive piece of jewelry to worry about.
- She usually takes it off because it's just something else in the way when she's working on a sewing project or gardening.
- It's not as if the marriage is invalid if the ring isn't expensive, or if it isn't worn all the time.


I might like a ring made of tungsten carbide, simply because it's an excellent material. Or even one made of a ceramic material. (I love ceramics. You sit through a semester of a Materials course, and you are prone to develop a few favorites. :shock:)
whomever
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Re: Skip IRA for 1 year to buy engagement ring

Post by whomever »

"You guys are so out of touch. A deposit into your fiance's Roth IRA in lieu of engagement ring. Any normal woman, and that normal woman's friends, would be mortified. I am talking about normal society. This would be mocked mercilessly. Print out the debit from Vanguard.com? Put a bow on it and give it your fiance? I'm sure her post to Facebook will get many likes.

There are times to gently guide/push your spouse into better financial habits. This is not the time to do that."

1)Whether one wants to marry a normal woman will vary from person to person; personally, I went with 'extraordinary' instead of 'normal' :-)

2)What's the matter with 'Honey, we can buy a so-so ring for $1000 or a nice one for $5000. If we save the difference and get 6% return, in 40 years it will be worth $40000. That might mean being able to retire at 64 instead of 65. I'm wondering if an extra year of relatively youthful retirement to enjoy with you would be more valuable than a nicer ring.'

To no small degree, your financial life consists of making that decision over and over again; you want to know your relative values in that regard.

Note: I'm not saying there is a right or wrong answer; people can be happy in relationships that have a wide range of views on money, kids, ambition, fidelity, and so on - I just think you should understand where you are similar and different before the wedding, instead of being surprised by incompatibilities later.
stoptothink
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Re: Skip IRA for 1 year to buy engagement ring

Post by stoptothink »

Zytos wrote:
letsgobobby wrote:
in_reality wrote:
Is she making Roth contributions? If not, put it in her account! It would always be there for her until she needs it!!!
This is actually quite a clever suggestion. It speaks to your values. And it is a sure sign of commitment. At least I would have no qualms about proposing this. She might surprise you and tell you it's the best engagement gift you could have given her.
This forum...

You guys are so out of touch. A deposit into your fiance's Roth IRA in lieu of engagement ring. Any normal woman, and that normal woman's friends, would be mortified. I am talking about normal society. This would be mocked mercilessly. Print out the debit from Vanguard.com? Put a bow on it and give it your fiance? I'm sure her post to Facebook will get many likes.

There are times to gently guide/push your spouse into better financial habits. This is not the time to do that.
As noted earlier in this thread, I was married November 15th of last year and that is exactly what we did. Told her she could have whatever she wanted, she picked a $500 rose gold ring with a Morganite stone and then was pumped when I told her I'd max her Roth IRA because she spent way less than I anticipated. Two cousins and a friend have since gotten engaged and followed the exact same path (~$500 ring with non-diamond stone from http://www.etsy.com/, don't know about the Roth part). "Different" rings are definitely becoming popular; although I don't know that my wife's ring looks "different," everybody mistakes it for a large (2.5 carat) pink diamond.

I don't see any posts about guiding or pushing the fiance-to-be into getting something she doesn't want, plenty suggesting that her feelings about this and uneasiness discussing finances might be something worth discussing.
MrMiyagi
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Re: Skip IRA for 1 year to buy engagement ring

Post by MrMiyagi »

Zytos wrote:
letsgobobby wrote:
in_reality wrote:
Is she making Roth contributions? If not, put it in her account! It would always be there for her until she needs it!!!
This is actually quite a clever suggestion. It speaks to your values. And it is a sure sign of commitment. At least I would have no qualms about proposing this. She might surprise you and tell you it's the best engagement gift you could have given her.
This forum...

You guys are so out of touch. A deposit into your fiance's Roth IRA in lieu of engagement ring. Any normal woman, and that normal woman's friends, would be mortified. I am talking about normal society. This would be mocked mercilessly. Print out the debit from Vanguard.com? Put a bow on it and give it your fiance? I'm sure her post to Facebook will get many likes.

There are times to gently guide/push your spouse into better financial habits. This is not the time to do that.
I'm certain that most women (and men) in their mid 20s don't even know what a Roth IRA is - I know I didn't know. I guess the upside of a Roth IRA is that if the OP presented his fiancee with a $500 ring and a $5000 Roth IRA, she can withdraw from the Roth IRA whenever she needs the money...most likely right away to upgrade the ring. I agree, some of her friends would probably laugh behind her back if he presented her a $500 ring (unfortunately that is the society we live in today). Our society has been brainwashed by consumerism, that we don't even value financial freedom anymore. Hopefully the OP's girlfriend is frugal in other ways (i.e. doesn't need a flashy car or big house), but if a large engagement ring is important to her, he should get her what she wants if she is "the one." Or maybe a large ring isn't important to her, but a nice wedding is. Who are we to judge? As long as he's happy with her, and she isn't the type that "lives on credit" I don't think OP can go wrong.

OP let us know what you end up doing. A lot of these times these threads just disappear into oblivion and we're left wondering...what did he end up doing?
sls239 wrote:So why is the title of this thread "Skip IRA for 1 year to buy engagement ring" and not "Eat Ramen for 1 year to buy engagement ring?"

If you are going to buy a nice ring (a choice I leave up to you) the money shouldn't come from a sacrifice in the future, but from a sacrifice in the present.
Comments like this make me wonder sometimes...why do we save so much? I'm a pretty frugal guy, but I've loosened my spending in recent years. I've witnessed WAY too many tragedies and scams, and now I realize, life is actually really short (Yeah I didn't believe it either when I was 20). Saving for financial freedom is important, but not at the expense of living happily right now. I don't spend more than I make, I still save 15-20% but I no longer kill myself to save for important purchases or maximize that Roth IRA.

We should start a thread about "What's the saddest story that you've seen that reminds us to save for the future, but don't forget to live in the present." I'm sure it'll be filled with accounts of friends who were misers and regretted it, when they got taken to the cleaners in divorce court, ended up getting diagnosed with metastatic cancer at age 37 and died shortly after, lived frugally to make that downpayment on that house only to have the real estate bust of 2008 bankrupt them, etc. Or even something as simple as people who "saved for a rainy day" but now their health, physical shape, work/family commitments doesn't allow them to travel, go bungee jumping, hike through the Amazon, or whatever else. Things they could have done when younger but didn't because it would "costs too much."

Just my 0.02.

Edit: I'm sure there are an equal (or more) number of stories of "wow my neighbor lived like a baller, now his house is getting repossessed and his wife is leaving him" type stories.
Last edited by MrMiyagi on Thu Feb 20, 2014 1:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
countdown
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Re: Skip IRA for 1 year to buy engagement ring

Post by countdown »

Can't believe some of these responses! :oops:

There are certain moments in life that are priceless.
Hopefully, this is a once in a lifetime event.

IF she is the right one, go ring shopping together.
Buy her the nicest ring you can reasonably afford and that she will love.
She will wear it every single day.

Good luck and congratulations on the next chapter in your life.
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720pete
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Re: Skip IRA for 1 year to buy engagement ring

Post by 720pete »

MrMiyagi wrote: OP let us know what you end up doing. A lot of these times these threads just disappear into oblivion and we're left wondering...what did he end up doing?
I don't plan on doing anything... immediately. She is just starting grad school and won't be done for a couple of years, and I can't really see being married if she's going to school in a different state than where my job is. She's wanted to go "just to look" but I'm afraid that doing that will just lead to buying one or will send the wrong message to our families, and that if we go "just to look" I will constantly be bombarded with questions about it until I propose.

Honestly this thread is kind of depressing. I just got my Master's degree in a field that was obliterated by the recession. I graduated at the top of my class 4.0, lots of internships and whatnot, zero debt, a few thousand in savings. I thought I was doing it right by getting a master's degree and going to a school with a full ride + stipend.

It took 7 months to find a full-time job, and as I mentioned before, it only pays $45,000 per year in a high cost of living area. I've been together with my girlfriend for 3 1/2 years and told her once I found a job that we'd look at rings, but after maxing my IRA and making the pension contribution I don't see that being in the cards financially.
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JupiterJones
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Re: Skip IRA for 1 year to buy engagement ring

Post by JupiterJones »

countdown wrote:Buy her the nicest ring you can reasonably afford and that she will love.
I think we all agree on most of that. The bone of contention here is the "reasonably afford" part.

Is cutting back or eliminating IRA contributions in order to buy the ring considered to be "affording" it?

Is retirement a luxury or necessity? What about an engagement ring?


(Then there's the consideration that "the nicest ring you can reasonably afford" and "the ring that she will love" makes a Venn diagram that may or may not actually overlap...)
Stay on target...
countdown
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Re: Skip IRA for 1 year to buy engagement ring

Post by countdown »

The poster doesn't sound likes he's really ready to get married anyway, to anyone.

BUT, these answers are very interesting.
Very romantic :wink:

I wonder how many Boglehead S.O.s have left because their Boglehead was TOO frugal (read CHEAP!)
Now THAT would be an interesting poll.
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Random Musings
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Re: Skip IRA for 1 year to buy engagement ring

Post by Random Musings »

720pete wrote:OK.

1. My girlfriend is incredibly frugal herself and we have talked about finances before. In fact I've sat down with her a couple of times in the last year and given her boglehead lectures. It's a valid point that she should share the same opinion about saving/retirement that I do if we are going to spend the rest of our lives together. Thank you for that advice.
2. I really don't think its unreasonable for her to want a traditional diamond engagement ring.
3. I may have missed saying this, but she isn't expecting a $5500 ring. It's not really All IRA or All Ring. She knows how to live within her means and understands that I am in a career right now that doesn't pay much.
Spend $2K on the ring. About 1/2 month's salary.

RM
I figure the odds be fifty-fifty I just might have something to say. FZ
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Re: Skip IRA for 1 year to buy engagement ring

Post by pradador »

whomever wrote:2)What's the matter with 'Honey, we can buy a so-so ring for $1000 or a nice one for $5000. If we save the difference and get 6% return, in 40 years it will be worth $40000. That might mean being able to retire at 64 instead of 65. I'm wondering if an extra year of relatively youthful retirement to enjoy with you would be more valuable than a nicer ring.
Just make sure you include inflation into that number. With average inflation of 3.5% and 6% return, real return would be closer to $10,750.
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Re: Skip IRA for 1 year to buy engagement ring

Post by technovelist »

countdown wrote:The poster doesn't sound likes he's really ready to get married anyway, to anyone.

BUT, these answers are very interesting.
Very romantic :wink:

I wonder how many Boglehead S.O.s have left because their Boglehead was TOO frugal (read CHEAP!)
Now THAT would be an interesting poll.
I've started a poll on basically that topic (not worded quite that way): http://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtop ... 2&t=133422
In theory, theory and practice are identical. In practice, they often differ.
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Jay69
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Re: Skip IRA for 1 year to buy engagement ring

Post by Jay69 »

3 pages and counting :wink:

I'm going to short my retirement savings this year by $500 and drink better :beer
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NaOH
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Re: Skip IRA for 1 year to buy engagement ring

Post by NaOH »

Jeff7 wrote: I might like a ring made of tungsten carbide, simply because it's an excellent material.
I was given a tungsten carbide 'mangagement ring' for Christmas this year - it's been great so far. Very durable, has a hefty, solid feel, and I think she paid about $17 on Amazon for it. If it weren't for the fact that she wants my actual wedding band to be engraved, I'd be tempted to just keep it.
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sesq
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Re: Skip IRA for 1 year to buy engagement ring

Post by sesq »

If you do go shopping with her, I would do it to just get a sense of her tastes. Tell her any purchase will happen later, possibly much later. In your pricepoint you should ask the jeweler to show you a stone that is at the desired size, and just under (say its a carat and .95 carat). You'll see that to the naked eye its impossible to tell, and in fact the jeweler will need to use a scale to confirm which is which.

When you go to buy, you will see that the .95 carat one will have a worthwhile discount versus a similar stone that is just over.

While IRA space is finite, I have skipped years here and there and am still on track to retire early.
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Re: Skip IRA for 1 year to buy engagement ring

Post by Nowizard »

This may not be the best site for this question since responses will primarily be fiscal. The most significant "investment" you will ever make is your wife, period. Yes, there are limits to what you should spend on an engagement ring. If she expects a huge ring, you can be relatively certain that you will have other issues around expenditures that are, to some extent, discretionary. However, investing in a ring she will be proud of, within limits, is an investment in the most important single relationship of your adult life. You don't have to buy a Mercedes, but don't buy a Yugo or an Edsel. If it requires you to forego a year of your IRA, so be it. The ability to talk about and come to an agreement based on a variety of factors can be considered a microcosm of your problem solving skills in the marriage. A solid relationship is based on finances, use of leisure time, vocational choice, love and the ability to solve problems.

Tim
donall
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Re: Skip IRA for 1 year to buy engagement ring

Post by donall »

This is just a wonderful Bogelhead question. I enjoy reading the responses.
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JonnyDVM
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Re: Skip IRA for 1 year to buy engagement ring

Post by JonnyDVM »

Fund a Roth for her instead or tell her if you don't get her a ring you both can retire 6 months early?????

Absurd suggestions. You guys are going to torpedo this poor kid before he even has a chance. What is money for if not to buy a decent ring for the woman you're planning to spend the rest of your life with? She will be showing it to her friends and relatives and she will be wearing it for the rest of her life. Get what you can comfortably afford, do not spend three months salary (that rule of thumb is a joke). With your income I would once again say $2500 sounds about right if you shop at the right place to get her a nice ring. Cut back a little elsewhere and you should still be able to fund the IRA and don't sweat it too much if you come up a little short.
I’d trade it all for a little more | -C Montgomery Burns
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in_reality
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Re: Skip IRA for 1 year to buy engagement ring

Post by in_reality »

whomever wrote:"You guys are so out of touch. A deposit into your fiance's Roth IRA in lieu of engagement ring. Any normal woman, and that normal woman's friends, would be mortified. I am talking about normal society. This would be mocked mercilessly. Print out the debit from Vanguard.com? Put a bow on it and give it your fiance? I'm sure her post to Facebook will get many likes.
I hear you and agree it depends on your sweetheart but ...

If "normal society" means you are what you have, then yeah whatever. To me, and my spouse we are who we are and it's not real important to have things to show. Posting a picture of an engagement ring on facebook is just not relevant to us.

I guess I just don't know how "normal women" are supposed to be. I relate extremely well to most women though so perhaps it's something about me that influences something in them.

If people mercilessly mock good decisions well then I would put them in the I-mock-others-because-I-am-insecure-about-myself category.

I bet there is no correlation between having a big ring and having a really good partner.
ddunca1944
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Re: Skip IRA for 1 year to buy engagement ring

Post by ddunca1944 »

in_reality wrote:
I bet there is no correlation between having a big ring and having a really good partner.
+1
DH and I are going on 23 years of marriage. He tells me that marrying me was the smartest thing he's ever done. I've never had a big ring; a simple gold band was all I wanted. We are enjoying our 8th year of retirement. Have been to Europe 4 times, Asia 3 times and returned today from 2 weeks in Hawaii.
Agrippa
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Re: Skip IRA for 1 year to buy engagement ring

Post by Agrippa »

OP,

I see two issues. The first is whether you and your girlfriend are financially compatible enough for marriage. Some posters saw your line about being afraid to discuss the finances of engagement rings with her as a red flag. I'm not sure how seriously you meant it. For the sake of addressing your original question I'll assume that the two of you are financially compatible.

Which brings us to the second issue. Can you afford the ring? Yes. IF you two are financially compatible then there's nothing wrong with splurging a little on the one-time purchase of an engagement ring. You can get a gorgeous ring online from a variety of stores for $1,500 to $3,000. I bought my now-wife an Art Deco ring from Antique Jewelry Mall for $3k. I also popped the question in Paris. (I bought the plane tickets, she paid for our apartment there.) It was a bit of a stretch at the time but I didn't mind because I knew we were financially compatible. (Not to mention that she's the love of my life :-)). My wife is the frugal type who still drives a 2003 Toyota Corolla with 180k miles on it and refuses to replace her 5-year-old laptop with broken hinges that must be propped against a wall to stay open. We are now, of course, living together (a HUGE cost saver by the way!), spending below our means, and saving a significant portion of our income for retirement. I wouldn't change anything.

Of course things COULD have gone badly if we weren't financially compatible. If we followed up the ring/Paris expense by renting more apartment than we could afford, eating out every night, and buying an expensive car then our financial situation would be terrible. But the key variable is not the one-time expense of an engagement ring- it's how you live the rest of your lives.
Agrippa
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JupiterJones
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Re: Skip IRA for 1 year to buy engagement ring

Post by JupiterJones »

Agrippa wrote: But the key variable is not the one-time expense of an engagement ring- it's how you live the rest of your lives.
Very well-put, Agrippa.
Stay on target...
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Re: Skip IRA for 1 year to buy engagement ring

Post by Zytos »

in_reality wrote:
whomever wrote:"You guys are so out of touch. A deposit into your fiance's Roth IRA in lieu of engagement ring. Any normal woman, and that normal woman's friends, would be mortified. I am talking about normal society. This would be mocked mercilessly. Print out the debit from Vanguard.com? Put a bow on it and give it your fiance? I'm sure her post to Facebook will get many likes.
I hear you and agree it depends on your sweetheart but ...

If "normal society" means you are what you have, then yeah whatever. To me, and my spouse we are who we are and it's not real important to have things to show. Posting a picture of an engagement ring on facebook is just not relevant to us.

I guess I just don't know how "normal women" are supposed to be. I relate extremely well to most women though so perhaps it's something about me that influences something in them.

If people mercilessly mock good decisions well then I would put them in the I-mock-others-because-I-am-insecure-about-myself category.

I bet there is no correlation between having a big ring and having a really good partner.
Both parties agreeing that they shouldn't splurge too big on a ring is all well and good. But the actual idea of the future husband contributing towards his wife's retirement fund--all I am saying is that it is a very bad idea.

First, it's not actually a gift--just a movement of money from one account to another (assuming the finances will be comingled after marriage). Second, even if it is considered a gift, it's essentially a gift of cash. How romantic! I'm sure the fiance will love to explain to her mother that her man gave basically just gave her $2,000. Third, it's incredibly paternalistic. Is is pretty much saying: "Oh, honey, I know you wanted a ring, but I will deposit this money into a Roth IRA in your name. You may be too simple-minded and lack the understanding to appreciate it now, but you will thank me for this later, when you are old." *pat, pat, pat on the head*. This type of attitude towards spouses (most often women) pervades this board, honestly.
jp3051
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Re: Skip IRA for 1 year to buy engagement ring

Post by jp3051 »

Zytos wrote:
in_reality wrote:
whomever wrote:"You guys are so out of touch. A deposit into your fiance's Roth IRA in lieu of engagement ring. Any normal woman, and that normal woman's friends, would be mortified. I am talking about normal society. This would be mocked mercilessly. Print out the debit from Vanguard.com? Put a bow on it and give it your fiance? I'm sure her post to Facebook will get many likes.
I hear you and agree it depends on your sweetheart but ...

If "normal society" means you are what you have, then yeah whatever. To me, and my spouse we are who we are and it's not real important to have things to show. Posting a picture of an engagement ring on facebook is just not relevant to us.

I guess I just don't know how "normal women" are supposed to be. I relate extremely well to most women though so perhaps it's something about me that influences something in them.

If people mercilessly mock good decisions well then I would put them in the I-mock-others-because-I-am-insecure-about-myself category.

I bet there is no correlation between having a big ring and having a really good partner.
Both parties agreeing that they shouldn't splurge too big on a ring is all well and good. But the actual idea of the future husband contributing towards his wife's retirement fund--all I am saying is that it is a very bad idea.

First, it's not actually a gift--just a movement of money from one account to another (assuming the finances will be comingled after marriage). Second, even if it is considered a gift, it's essentially a gift of cash. How romantic! I'm sure the fiance will love to explain to her mother that her man gave basically just gave her $2,000. Third, it's incredibly paternalistic. Is is pretty much saying: "Oh, honey, I know you wanted a ring, but I will deposit this money into a Roth IRA in your name. You may be too simple-minded and lack the understanding to appreciate it now, but you will thank me for this later, when you are old." *pat, pat, pat on the head*. This type of attitude towards spouses (most often women) pervades this board, honestly.
I can't agree more. Some of these responses also show a high level of greed in my opinion as well.
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windaar
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Re: Skip IRA for 1 year to buy engagement ring

Post by windaar »

I don't think that being a Boglehead means scrimping on every single thing during your lifetime. We work for money and some of that money is meant to be spent as we like. It took 7K for me to get the kind of ring that was best for my wife. 10 years later, it was still the best purchase I have made. Love and expressions of love often fall outside of cold logic. I think that being a Boglehead means getting the best deal, so educate yourself about diamonds and how they are graded, use a reputable online source such as bluenile.com, and make sure that your rock has a GIA report.
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englishgirl
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Re: Skip IRA for 1 year to buy engagement ring

Post by englishgirl »

Zytos wrote:
in_reality wrote:
whomever wrote:"You guys are so out of touch. A deposit into your fiance's Roth IRA in lieu of engagement ring. Any normal woman, and that normal woman's friends, would be mortified. I am talking about normal society. This would be mocked mercilessly. Print out the debit from Vanguard.com? Put a bow on it and give it your fiance? I'm sure her post to Facebook will get many likes.
I hear you and agree it depends on your sweetheart but ...

If "normal society" means you are what you have, then yeah whatever. To me, and my spouse we are who we are and it's not real important to have things to show. Posting a picture of an engagement ring on facebook is just not relevant to us.

I guess I just don't know how "normal women" are supposed to be. I relate extremely well to most women though so perhaps it's something about me that influences something in them.

If people mercilessly mock good decisions well then I would put them in the I-mock-others-because-I-am-insecure-about-myself category.

I bet there is no correlation between having a big ring and having a really good partner.
Both parties agreeing that they shouldn't splurge too big on a ring is all well and good. But the actual idea of the future husband contributing towards his wife's retirement fund--all I am saying is that it is a very bad idea.

First, it's not actually a gift--just a movement of money from one account to another (assuming the finances will be comingled after marriage). Second, even if it is considered a gift, it's essentially a gift of cash. How romantic! I'm sure the fiance will love to explain to her mother that her man gave basically just gave her $2,000. Third, it's incredibly paternalistic. Is is pretty much saying: "Oh, honey, I know you wanted a ring, but I will deposit this money into a Roth IRA in your name. You may be too simple-minded and lack the understanding to appreciate it now, but you will thank me for this later, when you are old." *pat, pat, pat on the head*. This type of attitude towards spouses (most often women) pervades this board, honestly.
Personally, I find the idea that all women want a big engagement ring to be annoying. To me, the romantic gesture is actually asking someone to marry you. The type of ring, whether or not there's a ring at all, or a big diamond is not relevant to me. The cookie cutter platinum-with-honking-diamond type of ring bores me. I wouldn't want a big ring anyway because it would get in the way of my work. I would find it much more romantic for my partner to have put some thought into it beyond "I need to buy my little lady the biggest ring I can afford." Yes, this board verges on weird attitudes to women, but assuming all women need to have their partner pick out a big diamond ring is also a paternalistic assumption.
Sarah
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Re: Skip IRA for 1 year to buy engagement ring

Post by travellight »

But, windaar, many bogleheads feel that logic is not necessarily cold, can be warm and embracing, and don't understand how things can fall out of it. :)
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hoppy08520
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Re: Skip IRA for 1 year to buy engagement ring

Post by hoppy08520 »

mrsevansc wrote:My husband proposed to me with a $70 ring. I couldn't have been happier. Granted we were fresh out of college and very poor. Now, almost 12 years later, I don't wear my engagement ring. I have't worn it in years. Our matching wedding bands are enough. I keep the ring in a special place. It means more to me than any jewelry I own.
But it seems that I'm in the minority among my friends.
That's very sweet. I got engaged when I was part-time employed and in grad school and living in my aunt's basement and getting by with student loans. I couldn't afford a nice engagement ring or much of anything else. Fortunately my girlfriend didn't care. I appreciate her all the more for that.
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in_reality
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Re: Skip IRA for 1 year to buy engagement ring

Post by in_reality »

Zytos wrote: First, it's not actually a gift--just a movement of money from one account to another (assuming the finances will be comingled after marriage). Second, even if it is considered a gift, it's essentially a gift of cash. How romantic! I'm sure the fiance will love to explain to her mother that her man gave basically just gave her $2,000. Third, it's incredibly paternalistic. Is is pretty much saying: "Oh, honey, I know you wanted a ring, but I will deposit this money into a Roth IRA in your name. You may be too simple-minded and lack the understanding to appreciate it now, but you will thank me for this later, when you are old." *pat, pat, pat on the head*. This type of attitude towards spouses (most often women) pervades this board, honestly.
Well the gift is she gets to marry me! :wink: Anyways, trying really using your ability to think and consider your use of the word paternalistic in the context of your expectations that men give a gift to women. Nice eh? Why doesn't she give him a ring? Or why doesn't the recipient simply say thanks instead of saying I want something else.

There is nothing paternalistic about being realistic about your finances and saying perhaps we should save for our future instead of getting an engagement ring. If thinking about your future together isn't romantic then I don't know what is.

Why is there any suggestion of someone being "simple-minded and lacking understanding"? That's weird that you say that.

If she wants the ring, get the ring. It's shouldn't be too tough to figure out what she values.

I really don't need a lecture on what kind of attitude I have towards my spouse. Especially when you have inferred incorrectly about what my thinking is.

By the way, my relationship is with my wife. And my wife's is with me. We agreed early on that our relationship is between us. To me it's odd that you give such importance to your mother's opinion but maybe my wife and I are just more independent of what other people think by our nature. Why a mother-in-law would see a couple who doesn't have all the money in the world deciding to save it instead of spend it as a bad thing is beyond me, but ... there are lots of threads about mother-in-laws who ran out of money and are asking for money. Why do I need to cater to her?
Last edited by in_reality on Fri Feb 21, 2014 10:07 pm, edited 3 times in total.
investor1
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Re: Skip IRA for 1 year to buy engagement ring

Post by investor1 »

You mentioned that you told her once you got a job, you would look at rings. Then you ended up getting a job with less pay than you expected in a HCOL area. Talk to her again. If she is has the finanical sense you posted about earlier (sorry, but I didn't read the whole thread), she'll want to wait for a wedding too.

Otherwise, I agree with RM. If you guys have a great relationship and are sync'ed up finanically, get her the ring.
Random Musings wrote:
720pete wrote:OK.

1. My girlfriend is incredibly frugal herself and we have talked about finances before. In fact I've sat down with her a couple of times in the last year and given her boglehead lectures. It's a valid point that she should share the same opinion about saving/retirement that I do if we are going to spend the rest of our lives together. Thank you for that advice.
2. I really don't think its unreasonable for her to want a traditional diamond engagement ring.
3. I may have missed saying this, but she isn't expecting a $5500 ring. It's not really All IRA or All Ring. She knows how to live within her means and understands that I am in a career right now that doesn't pay much.
Spend $2K on the ring. About 1/2 month's salary.

RM
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Re: Skip IRA for 1 year to buy engagement ring

Post by stoptothink »

Zytos wrote:
in_reality wrote:
whomever wrote:"You guys are so out of touch. A deposit into your fiance's Roth IRA in lieu of engagement ring. Any normal woman, and that normal woman's friends, would be mortified. I am talking about normal society. This would be mocked mercilessly. Print out the debit from Vanguard.com? Put a bow on it and give it your fiance? I'm sure her post to Facebook will get many likes.
I hear you and agree it depends on your sweetheart but ...

If "normal society" means you are what you have, then yeah whatever. To me, and my spouse we are who we are and it's not real important to have things to show. Posting a picture of an engagement ring on facebook is just not relevant to us.

I guess I just don't know how "normal women" are supposed to be. I relate extremely well to most women though so perhaps it's something about me that influences something in them.

If people mercilessly mock good decisions well then I would put them in the I-mock-others-because-I-am-insecure-about-myself category.

I bet there is no correlation between having a big ring and having a really good partner.
Both parties agreeing that they shouldn't splurge too big on a ring is all well and good. But the actual idea of the future husband contributing towards his wife's retirement fund--all I am saying is that it is a very bad idea.

First, it's not actually a gift--just a movement of money from one account to another (assuming the finances will be comingled after marriage). Second, even if it is considered a gift, it's essentially a gift of cash. How romantic! I'm sure the fiance will love to explain to her mother that her man gave basically just gave her $2,000. Third, it's incredibly paternalistic. Is is pretty much saying: "Oh, honey, I know you wanted a ring, but I will deposit this money into a Roth IRA in your name. You may be too simple-minded and lack the understanding to appreciate it now, but you will thank me for this later, when you are old." *pat, pat, pat on the head*. This type of attitude towards spouses (most often women) pervades this board, honestly.
I'm going to go ahead and respond for a third time to posts like this. My wife chose a $500 ring which made it possible for me to max her Roth and pay off her car (with the savings I had set aside for said ring), both of which I did within a week of us actually getting married. She was absolutely ecstatic to tell her mom and friends about it. It was her first foray into retirement investing and it was very exciting to her, apparently moreso than if she had a diamond because it is what she chose. It's not an outlandish suggestion, especially considering the fact that it hasn't even been discussed. There are so many assumptions going on in this thread, we don't even have a clue if the OP's GF wants an expensive ring. The most glaring problem is that the couple hasn't discussed it.

Step #1, stop making assumptions and have a talk with the girl about what she wants.
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pennstater2005
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Re: Skip IRA for 1 year to buy engagement ring

Post by pennstater2005 »

englishgirl wrote:
Zytos wrote:
in_reality wrote:
whomever wrote:"You guys are so out of touch. A deposit into your fiance's Roth IRA in lieu of engagement ring. Any normal woman, and that normal woman's friends, would be mortified. I am talking about normal society. This would be mocked mercilessly. Print out the debit from Vanguard.com? Put a bow on it and give it your fiance? I'm sure her post to Facebook will get many likes.
I hear you and agree it depends on your sweetheart but ...

If "normal society" means you are what you have, then yeah whatever. To me, and my spouse we are who we are and it's not real important to have things to show. Posting a picture of an engagement ring on facebook is just not relevant to us.

I guess I just don't know how "normal women" are supposed to be. I relate extremely well to most women though so perhaps it's something about me that influences something in them.

If people mercilessly mock good decisions well then I would put them in the I-mock-others-because-I-am-insecure-about-myself category.

I bet there is no correlation between having a big ring and having a really good partner.
Both parties agreeing that they shouldn't splurge too big on a ring is all well and good. But the actual idea of the future husband contributing towards his wife's retirement fund--all I am saying is that it is a very bad idea.

First, it's not actually a gift--just a movement of money from one account to another (assuming the finances will be comingled after marriage). Second, even if it is considered a gift, it's essentially a gift of cash. How romantic! I'm sure the fiance will love to explain to her mother that her man gave basically just gave her $2,000. Third, it's incredibly paternalistic. Is is pretty much saying: "Oh, honey, I know you wanted a ring, but I will deposit this money into a Roth IRA in your name. You may be too simple-minded and lack the understanding to appreciate it now, but you will thank me for this later, when you are old." *pat, pat, pat on the head*. This type of attitude towards spouses (most often women) pervades this board, honestly.
Personally, I find the idea that all women want a big engagement ring to be annoying. To me, the romantic gesture is actually asking someone to marry you. The type of ring, whether or not there's a ring at all, or a big diamond is not relevant to me. The cookie cutter platinum-with-honking-diamond type of ring bores me. I wouldn't want a big ring anyway because it would get in the way of my work. I would find it much more romantic for my partner to have put some thought into it beyond "I need to buy my little lady the biggest ring I can afford." Yes, this board verges on weird attitudes to women, but assuming all women need to have their partner pick out a big diamond ring is also a paternalistic assumption.
I spent less than a $1,000 by buying the engagement ring and wedding band as a set. I also spent $99 which gave each ring free rhodium plating for life which she has used multiple times. My wife works with her hands and I knew she wouldn't like a big, gaudy ring. My ring cost $79 which is good because I've almost lost it more than once. We spent most of our savings on the downpayment of our house.
“If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of car payments.” – Earl Wilson
HopeToGolf
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Re: Skip IRA for 1 year to buy engagement ring

Post by HopeToGolf »

1) Figure out if you and your girlfriend are financially compatible...talk about finances and the future. What are her dreams, desires, expectations (rich and famous, frugal, SAHM, rent for a while or new big house, etc.)

My wife and I attended group religious classes before we got married and when the priest got to the part where he asked couples to discuss money, we were shocked that we were one of the few who had done so before getting engaged (a few couples had very heated disagreements during the class).

2) Assuming you are compatible with your girlfriend, when will you get married and who is paying for it and the honeymoon? Any woman who uses the term "ring shopping" sounds like a traditional girl who will want, at a minimum, a standard wedding one year or so after engagement. If you have to fund any part of that, can you do it?

To be frank, it does not seem like you have too much income to spare on an engagement ring and wedding, I think you need to figure out what works for you as an individual and couple and go from there. Dare I say it, your girlfriend may need to wait for you to save enough money to get what she wants or what you are willing to give.

FWIW, I sold taxable funds to buy my wife's engagement ring. I did not use a savings account back then and I just saved...little did I know that I would be selling stock to buy a diamond....I think I remember which stocks I sold...I refuse to look at the prices then vs now.

Btw, I do not think it is a huge deal to forego a little of your retirement savings to buy the ring and fund the wedding. However, I would absolutely fund the pension and any 401K up to the match....no room for negotiation. At 26, if you need to spend a bit on the woman you love that is OK. That said, you do not have much in savings and make $45k....I would not fund 5 figure ring and wedding purchases in that situation.
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market timer
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Re: Skip IRA for 1 year to buy engagement ring

Post by market timer »

HopeToGolf wrote:FWIW, I sold taxable funds to buy my wife's engagement ring. I did not use a savings account back then and I just saved...little did I know that I would be selling stock to buy a diamond....I think I remember which stocks I sold...I refuse to look at the prices then vs now.
Apparently, diamonds have been a respectable investment over the years, plus you get some enjoyment from wearing them.
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