Author Topic: Rules for engagement rings post FIRE  (Read 5553 times)

ol1970

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Rules for engagement rings post FIRE
« on: February 12, 2018, 05:33:00 PM »
Ok, so maybe this isnít the right spot for this question, but have any of you gotten engaged/married after you FIRED?  So Iím not a sheep that falls for the whole ď2 months salaryĒ bs that the jewelry industry tries to tell you you should spend, but if you donít have a salary what type of guidelines would you experts suggest?  I struggle only because the actual money I would spend wonít make a difference in any plans since Iím 47 around 8 figure net worth and under a 2% withdrawal rate, but I want to first make sure she is happy but at the same time we are not flashy or extravagant people. Also we are very active in sports and activities so something obnoxious wouldnít work for either of us.  Iím a big believer in the law of diminishing returns with respect to stuff like jewelry and after a certain size/$ amount itís just kind of silly and could be detrimental.  Iím not worried about her because sheís the type who would be happy with a plastic riddle decoder ring out of a Cracker Jack box, but generally speaking what is a ďproperĒ amount to spend to show how much she means to me and our future but at the same time not being ridiculous.  Sorry for this first world problem, but hey itís the internet and opinions are free.

Off the Wheel

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Re: Rules for engagement rings post FIRE
« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2018, 06:15:28 PM »
If she's the type who would be happy with a plastic ring, stop buying into the BS that jewelry will show her (or, perhaps more a concern, the world) how much she means to you. Jewelry doesn't show that. The lifelong commitment of marriage shows that.

I am not a jewelry person. My husband proposed with a "placeholder" ring that he purchased for less than $100 because the stone was the colour of my eyes, and he respects me and our partnership enough to not make crazy decisions about me (like what I'd want to wear for the rest of my life, or whether to drop thousands of dollars) without me. Almost three years later, I still wear the placeholder ring plus a $200 wedding ring.

lizzzi

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Re: Rules for engagement rings post FIRE
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2018, 06:34:55 PM »
You should talk to her and see what she's got in mind. If you want the proposal to be a surprise, and want to present her with a ring, do what Off the Wheel did, and give her some kind of "placeholder" ring. A family ring, your high school or college class ring--whatever you've got that isn't total junk...a ring with a stone that matches her eyes is a good idea. (If it were me, I'd love a ring made from metals mined on Mars, or at least the Moon...but I guess we can't do that yet. Or if it were possible to have a ring made from metal that has been up in space on a satellite or something...) I would never foist something on her that she's going to be stuck with for years to come--she has to be involved in the process. And if she just wants a simple 1-carat round diamond in a plain setting--go and pick it out together. I love my three/quarter carat diamond engagement ring, although I can't wear it much because I'm outdoors all the time--my lifestyle would destroy it. But it's a beautiful memento from my husband, who died three years ago--much love and happiness associated with that ring. (Not that it was ever about the ring--but we found a good deal, picked it out together to go with the family ring that is my wedding band, and easily paid cash.) Some people have said it is too small--well, they can kiss my toe.

Minnowstache

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Re: Rules for engagement rings post FIRE
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2018, 06:47:28 PM »
I agree with the above posters - get a placeholder then ask her what she wants. If you are set on a metric though - what about a percentage of yearly expenses - as post fire i assume that is equivalent to income? So a month, or two months of yearly expenses. But do remember the whole tradition both for diamonds and the two month income metric was invented by deBeers to sell diamonds!

ol1970

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Re: Rules for engagement rings post FIRE
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2018, 06:56:21 PM »
Thanks peeps!  The placeholder is the perfect idea and then let her pick out what she wants.  Totally agree itís not about a size or number of months thing...thatís just plain dumb!

PKate

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Re: Rules for engagement rings post FIRE
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2018, 09:27:53 PM »
My father proposed to my mother with a single rose.  My brother proposed with a fortune cookie.  My husband shopped for the ring together before he proposed largely due to the fact I was working for a jeweler store and it made too much sense to use my employee discount.  It is not uncommon for couples to shop together. 

The ring can be anything that makes both of you happy.  If you don't want to do diamonds sapphires and rubies are durable colored stones.  Other colored stones are great options but they don't take as much abuse if the recipient wants to wear it 24 -7.

RetirementDreaming

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Re: Rules for engagement rings post FIRE
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2018, 09:45:57 PM »
My husband proposed with no ring.  We picked them out after we got engaged.  My cost $700.  His was $75.

formerlydivorcedmom

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Re: Rules for engagement rings post FIRE
« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2018, 01:20:51 PM »
My second husband proposed without a ring.  It was a beautiful proposal.  He re-proposed with a ring a few weeks later.  Although I didn't help pick it out, he chose EXACTLY the kind of ring I would have gotten on my own.  It is not expensive and the antithesis of flashy, but it suits me perfectly.  At the time he couldn't afford much, and he was worried I'd be embarrassed because it doesn't compare to the rings of many women we know.  I'd have been appalled if he'd given me anything like their rings.  Seriously appalled.

Get her a ring that suits her personality and lifestyle, and don't think about how much it ought to cost.  She won't either - and if she does, well....

SachaFiscal

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Re: Rules for engagement rings post FIRE
« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2018, 05:40:07 PM »
My husband proposed to me with a cheap ring from Claire's boutique...haha!  But he put a note in the box saying it was a placeholder ring.  We ended up just getting plain gold bands. Mine was $150 and his was a few hundered more (bigger ring so more gold).  He eventually got me a ring that had a ruby and a couple of small diamonds but I don't really wear it much because it gets caught on everything. A wedding band without a protruding stone is much nicer for everyday wear.

Firehazard

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Re: Rules for engagement rings post FIRE
« Reply #9 on: February 14, 2018, 07:26:02 PM »
We just got married 10 days ago, and I chose as my wedding ring a beautiful colorless moissanite ring with a 1 ct center and a halo that makes the setting look like a flower.  It's the most lovely ring I've ever seen and it only set us back $800.  The stones will easily last for the rest of my life, just as diamonds would.  Diamonds would not have made me any happier.

MrsTuxedocat

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Re: Rules for engagement rings post FIRE
« Reply #10 on: February 14, 2018, 08:28:19 PM »
I second the moissanite recommendation. They are absolutely beautiful and actually outshine a diamond.

PKate

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Re: Rules for engagement rings post FIRE
« Reply #11 on: February 14, 2018, 08:47:37 PM »
Moissanite is great option as long as the recipient knows it is moissanite.  Working as a jeweler I have been in the position of having to tell someone that the ring they have is not diamonds.  It gets awkward fast but  the stones have to be identified at the time the piece is dropped off for sizing or repairs can be done so the stones aren't damaged when the ring is being worked on.   

PBandJelli

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Re: Rules for engagement rings post FIRE
« Reply #12 on: February 14, 2018, 09:03:57 PM »
My husband bought me a beautiful 3.3 carat diamond, triple Ex, GIA certified.  Seriously.  All my friends had larger stones, and I like big flashy costume jewelry (like bib necklaces and stuff - not necessarily expensive) and so he felt that was the safest choice.  All of that was when we were new to higher earning incomes, but had no sense.  And hadn't discovered this website or had dreams of FIRE.

All of that to say: I love that ring, but today I would not make the same choice for a few reasons.  First: I would have been happy with something much smaller.  Actually I would have been happier with something of similar size but moissanite.  I also would have been happy with something inexpensive and nontraditional.  (Unusual in design, or material, or whatever.)  Second, I know how painful it must have been for him to part with that cash, and how that much money invested would have been something far greater of benefit to us both now.

Moral of the story: I say follow the advice of others and propose with a placeholder and then ask her what she'd like, and maybe look together.

PS: My friend got matching tattoos.  Not my thing, but also cool.

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: Rules for engagement rings post FIRE
« Reply #13 on: February 15, 2018, 04:38:29 AM »
I got lucky, I was told explicitly, no diamonds! Had the ring custom made, was insanely expensive and very meaningful.

BrakeForTurtles

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Re: Rules for engagement rings post FIRE
« Reply #14 on: February 15, 2018, 05:08:14 AM »
If you know she'd be satisfied with something simple, it's worth using a placeholder and picking out a ring together. As for a rule of thumb...I think whatever makes you both happy and gives you meaning. I'm not at all a ring person and I never wear jewellery, but one option my SO offered for wedding rings when we eventually do tie the knot is to take two quarters from our favourite US state and turn them into rings. I was actually pretty astonished he came up with this idea, as he is not at all romantic but those rings would mean a lot of both of us. The bonus is they would on cost 25c each (plus work time).

I've also considered wedding skis, though my SO pointed out that skis get replaced, so maybe not such a great options for a symbol of permanency.

Firehazard

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Re: Rules for engagement rings post FIRE
« Reply #15 on: February 15, 2018, 09:49:18 AM »
One thing I would just mention is that you may feel she'll be satisfied with something plain, but it could be she just hasn't ever had a really beautiful piece of jewelry.  If she's going to wear it for a lifetime, it should be something she enjoys looking at.  I told my first husband that I didn't want an engagement ring.  We were very young and couldn't afford more than a plain band, and I really didn't care about jewelry.  He purchased a diamond anyway (and got us into debit in the process), and even though it was quite small, I really loved wearing it.   

I feel the same way plus 1000 about this new ring so many years later.  It's certainly fancier than I need, but man, I love the way it sparkles and shines.  I can't imagine I'll ever tire of looking at it.   The design and proportions of the stones and the thin band are just right for my hand.  That's what I love about moissanite....it's inexpensive enough that you can get something that looks just right on your hand, you don't have to settle for something tiny to save money or break the bank to get what you want.  We went shopping in a high-end jewelry store to see and try on different styles and sizes of diamond rings to figure out what I'd like, knowing in advance that we wouldn't be purchasing any diamonds.  We could have easily afforded a similar ring in diamonds, and my husband was on board for whatever I wanted, it just wasn't at all important to me to have my ring be diamonds.    I don't feel the need to lead anyone to believe they are either!

Livingthedream55

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Re: Rules for engagement rings post FIRE
« Reply #16 on: February 15, 2018, 01:59:53 PM »
And when (if) you both shop together, please don't just walk into a store and pay retail. The depreciation once you walk out the door is obscene, much worse than a car!

Look at online sites, consider vintage, estate sales. There's a place in New York (but they sell online) that acts like eBay but they verify that the rings are genuine and they hold money until all is verified.

https://www.idonowidont.com/selling

px4shooter

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Re: Rules for engagement rings post FIRE
« Reply #17 on: February 24, 2018, 09:16:04 AM »
I would avoid typical retail, as the mark-up is obscene. Keep in mind that you can grab a nice engagement/wedding ring and still have travel/everyday rings. My spouse rarely wears her actual wedding ring and prefers a smaller simple ring.

Bluenile is an online retailer with decent pricing, compared to normal jewelers and big box stores. Having done some wholesale shopping for certain sets, bluenile was with a couple hundred of what my cost was going to be. They are a good price comparison and can give you an idea if you want to actually buy the over-rated diamond or prefer some of the common settings.

Just be careful with some of the fictitious appraisal values (they are all grossly over reality) and certs. There was a rash of fake GIA certs floating around, which were coming from a certain Asian country and being used to accompany fake or mismatched diamonds.

peabody58

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Re: Rules for engagement rings post FIRE
« Reply #18 on: February 25, 2018, 06:02:47 PM »
What.......  this is 2018.  She can go buy her own ring! 

nottoolatetostart

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Re: Rules for engagement rings post FIRE
« Reply #19 on: March 17, 2018, 04:24:13 AM »
Another spin on this...does she want a ring? I only wear mine for special occassions nowadays. I have gotten used to the funny looks I get of having my kids in tow and no wedding ring. Otherwise,  I get too messy and fear taking it off and losing it.

Hula Hoop

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Re: Rules for engagement rings post FIRE
« Reply #20 on: March 17, 2018, 10:18:42 AM »
I proposed to my husband with no ring...the horror!  Honestly, though, diamonds just aren't his thing.  :)

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: Rules for engagement rings post FIRE
« Reply #21 on: March 17, 2018, 03:39:45 PM »
I got lucky, I was told explicitly, no diamonds! Had the ring custom made, was insanely expensive and very meaningful.

Oops, realized I made a mistake, I had it custom made and it was insanely inexpensive!

gaja

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Re: Rules for engagement rings post FIRE
« Reply #22 on: March 17, 2018, 04:28:49 PM »
I would put my money on fair trade and ethics. Certified fair trade gold costs a bit more, but is worth it to me. My ring is made from Finnish gold, pan washed without polluting the rivers with chemicals. One day, when we have the time to go there, I will get hold of some peridot from a mine close to where I grew up, and add it to the ring.

TheWifeHalf

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Re: Rules for engagement rings post FIRE
« Reply #23 on: March 17, 2018, 09:14:39 PM »
I did not get an engagement ring because I told him I did not want one. I got a wedding ring,because that's the one that means something to me. (The marriage has lasted 37 years so far)
We were not FIRE then, but it's things like that that enable us to be FI now.

Sun Hat

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Re: Rules for engagement rings post FIRE
« Reply #24 on: March 18, 2018, 07:02:28 AM »
For placeholder rings, consider something fun and memorable. My dad proposed to my mother with a ring of garlic sausage, and she still swoons about the memory because it was him. They make all sorts of things in ring form, sausage, cakes, flower garlands / leis, hula hoops, inflatable water toys, hoop earrings, tires... have fun with it!

RedmondStash

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Re: Rules for engagement rings post FIRE
« Reply #25 on: March 22, 2018, 10:52:56 PM »
Are you sure she wants an engagement ring? Spouse & I got engaged without one and never saw the need. We picked out simple wedding rings together.

Some folks would rather invest money in something besides an engagement ring, like a nice vacation or the down payment for a house. Honestly I never got the big deal about spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on a ring for her when he doesn't wear one signifying that he too is off the market. Somehow matching wedding rings seem more egalitarian.

But everyone's different. Probably best to ask her what's most meaningful for her. Or maybe a close friend of hers, if you're okay involving someone else.

RetiredAt63

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Re: Rules for engagement rings post FIRE
« Reply #26 on: March 24, 2018, 08:44:18 AM »
I would put my money on fair trade and ethics. Certified fair trade gold costs a bit more, but is worth it to me. My ring is made from Finnish gold, pan washed without polluting the rivers with chemicals. One day, when we have the time to go there, I will get hold of some peridot from a mine close to where I grew up, and add it to the ring.

Canadian diamonds are also ethical (for those who like diamonds), although there are always environmental issues with diamond mining, no matter the location.

SwordGuy

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Re: Rules for engagement rings post FIRE
« Reply #27 on: March 24, 2018, 09:23:34 AM »
There are only two rules for purchasing engagement rings (and proceeding to marriage):

"Do not buy one for a woman who cares about how much the ring is worth."

"Only buy one for a woman who will love whatever you give her because you gave it to her."


SwordGuy

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Re: Rules for engagement rings post FIRE
« Reply #28 on: March 24, 2018, 04:41:04 PM »
There are only two rules for purchasing engagement rings (and proceeding to marriage):

"Do not buy one for a woman who cares about how much the ring is worth."

"Only buy one for a woman who will love whatever you give her because you gave it to her."

If a man bought me a big, ugly, tacky, super expensive ring, I would definitely take issue with that.

I definitely care what a ring is worth because I care how much my partner is spending on any major purchase. Plus, if my partner doesnít know that Iím picky as fuck about jewelry, then he definitely hasnít taken the time to value how I feel about the whole thing.

According to your metrics, Iím not worth marrying.
FTR, I paid for my own ring because I make more money, and I also bought him a nice watch at the same time.

@Malkynn, sorry, I wasn't clear enough.

Don't care how much it's worth as in, "You didn't spend ENOUGH on me, you cheapskate."

As for a potential partner not bothering to take your taste into account, I think that's a perfectly valid reason to be upset.

Unless, of course, they just bought something plain or simple because that's all that's in their budget.   

Then again, they're my rules, not the rule of law.   Use or ignore them at your pleasure.  :)


bacchi

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Re: Rules for engagement rings post FIRE
« Reply #29 on: March 25, 2018, 10:20:18 AM »
A Mustachian engagement ring? "None" is the correct answer.

chaskavitch

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Re: Rules for engagement rings post FIRE
« Reply #30 on: March 25, 2018, 10:39:44 AM »
I'd only add that you should believe her if she says she doesn't want anything huge.  I told my husband that I didn't need a big diamond, and I'd like it if our bands matched.  He ended up proposing with his mother's engagement ring (his dad passed away and she doesn't wear it anymore), which had a much larger stone than I was expecting.  We got a ring made to reset the stone into, and I really do love it - it is beautiful and shiny and people admire it all the time, plus he didn't have to spring for a center stone, so it wasn't as pricy as it could have been.

However, he got me a white gold band that matches his wedding band for Christmas this year (we've been married 5 years), and it's all I've worn since.  I love that it matches his, and it works better for me - I wear nitrile gloves all the time at work, and my other ring tore them fairly often, unless I just didn't wear it.  It's also better for yardwork and for anything in the winter, since I can just pull my gloves on over it much more easily.

I'll definitely still wear the other fancy band, because it's gorgeous, but I really think I would have been happy with the plain gold band if that's what we'd started with. 

BTDretire

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Re: Rules for engagement rings post FIRE
« Reply #31 on: April 24, 2018, 03:53:31 PM »
  I recently watched "Adam Ruins Everything" it was about the selling of diamonds to mean you love someone.
De Beer's started that compaign in 1937, to sell more diamonds. Later another campaign was you had to spend 1 months salary. Then some years later bumped that to 2 months salary. Advertising works.
 Now try to sell your diamond for 1/2 what you bought it for, huh, good luck.
  My wife had to have a diamond just to keep up with her family, she bought it herself secretly* over 33 years ago,
$4k, when we didn't have much money,she hasn't worn it over 10 times in those years.

*bad idea, I never had secret money, after that, I now have 15 times that much.  A little bit at a time.

letired

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Re: Rules for engagement rings post FIRE
« Reply #32 on: April 24, 2018, 05:21:01 PM »
plus eleventy-million on asking her what she wants. And then believing her. Any man that shows up with a diamond (not that this is likely or anything) is getting a kick out the door.

One of my best friends had a close call. She said she didn't want diamonds for ethical reasons, but all his friends were like NO SHES LYING SHE'LL BE MAD IF YOU DON'T GET A DIAMOND. Thankfully, he stuck with what she wanted, and they have really lovely matching custom rings made with certified ethical materials, nary a diamond in sight. But he's said the pressure was intense.

powskier

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Re: Rules for engagement rings post FIRE
« Reply #33 on: May 05, 2018, 05:23:53 PM »
No rings even though we could afford whatever. Neither of us are into jewelery and both into sports.
Watch a few videos on injuries caused by wearing rings. I don't get the appeal or desire to show.

sui generis

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Re: Rules for engagement rings post FIRE
« Reply #34 on: May 11, 2018, 04:27:57 PM »
Curious if @ol1970 proceeded yet and can update us with how it went!

MicroRN

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Re: Rules for engagement rings post FIRE
« Reply #35 on: May 12, 2018, 10:48:39 AM »
plus eleventy-million on asking her what she wants. And then believing her. Any man that shows up with a diamond (not that this is likely or anything) is getting a kick out the door.

One of my best friends had a close call. She said she didn't want diamonds for ethical reasons, but all his friends were like NO SHES LYING SHE'LL BE MAD IF YOU DON'T GET A DIAMOND. Thankfully, he stuck with what she wanted, and they have really lovely matching custom rings made with certified ethical materials, nary a diamond in sight. But he's said the pressure was intense.

Yup, my husband got me a purple sapphire in a vintage style setting because I don't care for diamonds, but he apparently asked around and several people tried to talk him into going for a big diamond anyway.  The problem is, while I love the ring and it's very "me," I don't wear jewelry.  I rarely wore the engagement ring, and have worn it only a handful of times since we got married.  I would have been perfectly happy with no engagement ring at all.   We did get custom wedding bands, so that we had exactly what we wanted.  I wear that everyday, but it's very simple and low profile with no stones.   

ixtap

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Re: Rules for engagement rings post FIRE
« Reply #36 on: May 12, 2018, 10:57:19 AM »
If she has simple tastes, are you sure she wants a ring at all?

As others have said, this is really best discussed with the woman in question.

Zaga

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Re: Rules for engagement rings post FIRE
« Reply #37 on: May 12, 2018, 11:43:02 AM »
My DH listened to me when I told him I didn't like diamonds and liked purple stones.  I have a lovely tanzenite engagement ring set in white gold, and we have matching paladium bands.  Total cost for all of that was less than $500.  I adore my engagement ring, even though tanzenite is supposed to be a softer stone I've never had any trouble with it getting damaged.  I would have been horrified to wear a huge diamond.  I also have very petite delicate hands, so my center stone is very small and doesn't stick up like a solitaire, which I'm grateful for.  I can wear it under nitrile gloves with no issues and it rarely gets caught on things.

Since then we have bought a few fun bands, we each have 2 sets of tungsten carbide rings, super cheap and durable!  They are heavy though.  I also have a set of silicone rings in different colors for when I'll be doing something that has the potential to cause my hands to swell and need the ring cut off.  Or for when I just want to wear a colored ring!  Any of these would be super easy and cheap to replace if something happened to them.

domo

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Re: Rules for engagement rings post FIRE
« Reply #38 on: August 03, 2018, 02:14:15 PM »
Meaningful is always better than expensive. My husband bought me a 3D printed engagement ring because I am a huge nerd. No stones, just a simple knot-work design. I love it, though we never wear our rings for fear of damaging/losing them. Our wedding bands were both heirloom simple bands from grandparents. Our rings stay safe at home and we wear silicone bands day-to-day. My husband is an oil and gas engineer and one Google search for "degloving accident" will turn you off of metal rings forever. The silicone rings we wear are metallic in color and most people don't even notice.

StetsTerhune

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Re: Rules for engagement rings post FIRE
« Reply #39 on: August 03, 2018, 02:59:41 PM »
I wasn't FIREd when I bought my engagement ring, but I was well on my way and could have spent whatever I wanted on a ring. I considered three factors in my purchase:
1. I needed to show that I was serious (not because I wasn't committed, just because I'm a joker, and if I went down on one knee with a plastic ring she'd have thought I was just joking around)
2. What sort of ring my wife likes (obviously)
3. I wanted something that would be appropriate in my peer group. Basically, and this will sound ridiculous, I wanted something that wouldn't make us seem rich to anyone, and wouldn't make us seem poor to anyone.

fwiw, I spent about 4k on a simple diamond solitaire platinum ring.

LouLou

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Re: Rules for engagement rings post FIRE
« Reply #40 on: August 07, 2018, 07:10:50 AM »
Another vote for discussing it with her. I did not want an engagement ring. I don't like jewelry or long engagements.

I allowed my husband to buy a non-diamond ring at his insistence - it was about $200. I can't remember what stone it was, and I have already lost it. My husband didn't even realize that I had lost it.

We picked out our wedding bands together. Simple white gold bands from Amazon. My wedding band is very meaningful to me as a symbol of my marriage.

brute

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Re: Rules for engagement rings post FIRE
« Reply #41 on: August 07, 2018, 07:24:30 AM »
Go diamond hunting. There are a few places around that used to have active mines that are now open to the public. Take a screen, a bucket, and shovel. It worked for me pretty darn well.