Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Business

June 15, 2014

Can't buy me love? Engagement ring buying tips

You’re in love and ready to buy an engagement ring.

But are you ready to part with three months’ salary as the diamond industry has traditionally suggested? If not, what’s your magic number?

Figuring that out can be a stressful, high-stakes undertaking. Engagement rings come with unique financial and emotional expectations. And in a relationship intended to last a lifetime, it’s the first big test.

“It does set a certain tone about whether a woman’s expectations will be met by her husband or not,” said Julie Albright, a sociologist and marriage and family therapist at the University of Southern California.

Even so, how much to spend rests in striking a balance between dazzling your beloved without tarnishing your future financial goals together.

Here are five tips to help you size up how much to spend on an engagement ring.

CONSIDER FUTURE FINANCIAL GOALS

Whether you have a wheelbarrow full of cash ready to bring to your local jewelry store or not, your future plans as a couple should be part of the calculus for how much you can afford.

Sit down with your partner and go over your short- and long-term financial goals. Beyond wedding expenses, goals could include saving for a down payment on a home, preparing to start a family, as well as retirement planning.

“This is the perfect entry point to see where each person’s money values come from,” said Michael Branham, a certified financial planner in Edina, Minnesota. “How are we going to put that life together and how does buying something like an engagement ring fit into that picture?”

GET A FIX ON EXPECTATIONS

First off, don’t feel compelled to heed to the expectation that a ring cost three months’ salary, the benchmark established by the De Beers diamond cartel.

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Poll

Three Goshen elementary schools — Chandler, Chamberlain and West Goshen — are providing free meals to all students during the school year as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Nearly 80 percent of students at Chandler, 89 percent of students at Chamberlain and 78 percent of students at West Goshen already qualify for free or reduced-price lunches based on their family income. How do you feel about the new lunch program?

I think it’s a good idea to feed all the students free of charge
I think those who can afford it should pay for their school meals
I think all students should be required to pay for their school meals
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