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Anyone successfully navigate the mentality of I need an engagement ring that's at least 3 months of your salary? I love my gf, but can't bring myself to drop that kind of money on a ring

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OP — I was kidding about the “how much you love her” thing. Look, let’s align on a few basic facts: 1) Any money you spend on a ring has no real value. It’s just decoration: no function, not an investment. 2). You’re in your 20s or 30s, which means hopefully, she will wear it for 30-50 years. That’s a long time. 3) Other people will judge her by it when they see it at dinner parties and events or whatever over the course of those 30-50 years. She’s probably a little self conscious, too. She wants something she is proud to show off not a bit embarrassed. Right or wrong, this is how it works. 4) $20K won’t make or break your retirement, or even your home down payment. It’s a lot, but in the long run not that much. CONCLUSION: you need to balance point 1 vs. points 2-4 to figure out how much to spend.

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I spent less than 2k on my wife’s ring a decade ago. At the time we were both grad students and broke(ish). Now I’m close to making partner and for the last few years, we’ve said if I make partner I’ll upgrade her to a big diamond... the other day she actually said she’s not sure she wants that, she likes her ring and likes remembering what our lives were like then.

If your girlfriend has a hard and fast rule how much money you need to spend, don’t marry her. Period. You’ll thank me later. (My current wife is my second, I know from painful experience, being married to the wrong person is hell on earth.)

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Lady 🐠 here: So don’t! That’s such an archaic rule anyway.

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Lady 🐟 and I agree that it's a stupid rule

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There is no rule for how big her diamond should be. Anyone who tries to correlate the size of the rock to the depth of your affection is a vapid moron.

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Get what you can afford or what you feel is worthy. A woman that gets upset over the size of a ring isn’t worth your time or effort

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Seriously! I would be happy with a thousand dollar ring. Why do people care so much about what others are going to think? Wear it proud and defiant. Would much rather spend that money on a vacation where we make happy memories .

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Ring size is proportional to how much you love her, OP

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Remind her that these sort of trinkets have their origin in the "purchase" of the bride. In effect, they were not tokens of affection but a purchase price for a good. It hardens to a time when women were property and unequal.

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KPMG1 — wait it appraised for 45k and you want to sell for 35k? That’s a ripoff, dude. I got my wife’s appraised for insurance purposes post purchase — appraised for ~55K. I paid 22 for main stone and 4 for ring and smaller stones, or $26k total. Appraisals are almost always for WAY more than market price, unless you buy Tiffany or something in which case you get less hardware for your money. The really way to do it is find the same stone on blue nile (best off the shelf pricing) and price it that way.

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Just ask her what she wants. NYC is the only city in America where people still believe that.

And in the podunk Midwest. But I doubt you live in Boise Idaho

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Get her something nice, put the rest into something for the future. If she doesn't appreciate those values, you gotta reconsider if this is going to work.

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D2, please don't take this personally, the thought of spending in the neighborhood of 20 makes me queasy

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Surprise her with a different stone than a diamond. Tell her it is unique, just like her. Problem solved.

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Even 12-20k is obscene. Diamonds aren’t rare. You fell for the marketing meme.

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Point 2 is silly because it is highly likely that you will upgrade over time or that the ring (not the diamond) will get damaged requiring replacement.

Point 3 is actually even more absurd. People will judge her for the size of her ring? Given that mentality, how much is enough? There will always be people who will judge it inadequate. Plus, if she defines your relationship through the judgement of others..well, sounds like there are bigger problems than a ring involved.

Point 4 can apply to an act of fiscal indiscipline. Once you set a precedence, you cannot unset that expectation. $20k over 30 - 40 yrs of cumulative growth is actually a very sizable amount (depending on market returns likely to be at least one year of income when you need it most).

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"Splitting the cost" when youre about to get married makes no sense. One pot.

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To each their own I guess. I've been married 14 years and spent less than $1k on the ring. We decided together that being debt free except for the house was worth it. In general, aligning on financial priorities ahead of time is critical.

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Diamonds are intrinsically worthless. And that 3 month salary thing was actually an ad campaign run by De Beers in the early 19th century to boost sales. People are sheep and don’t even research today’s ‘traditions’ before buying into them. I personally prefer gemstones due to their natural beauty and they are much more affordable because they aren’t controlled by a monopoly!!

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P1 - my wife has declined an upgrade offer as well.

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