Last week I came across an article on the amount of money that men tend to spend on their girlfriends’ engagement rings. The Utah-based outlet was commenting on how much money Utah men spend vs. men in other states. Its conclusion was that Utah men are “financially responsible.”
Take a look at the graphic below to see how much men across the country spend, on average:
And here’s a quote from the article that explains the graphic a little better:
Utah ranks pretty low when it comes to percent of salary, spending only 82 percent of a month’s salary on a ring. That’s the fourth lowest amount on a ring….
Meanwhile, Montana leads the nation, with men from that state spending 222 percent of their monthly salary (so basically 2.5 month’s salary) on the wedding ring….
On average, Utah men spend $4,537 on a wedding ring. That’s the sixth lowest in the nation.
Montana, which tops the list, sits at $9,523 for the average amount spent.
There’s something that rubbed me the wrong way about the term “financially responsible” when tied to engagement rings: The truth is that “financially responsible” is subjective. Some people would balk at spending over $1,000 on an engagement ring; others would never dream of spending so little.
I often look at comments on the issue made by both women and men and I’m so disheartened. I’m disheartened because these comments almost seem like they’re bashing those who do spend (sometimes, any) money on a ring.
For instance, a local radio show recently shared that article on Facebook, posing this question: “Should we be spending thousands of dollars when we’re just starting a marriage?”
Immediately, I thought, “Wait, WHAT? Who cares?” I was also taken aback because I’m a big proponent of getting married when you’re ready in every way: If you’re not ready to buy X, you’re not ready to get married.
Financial readiness is a big part of marriage. Kudos to those who get married and have to move into a tiny studio apartment and eat rice and beans for a while while they grow (up)…and actually make it. Neither my fiancé nor I think that’s the way to start a healthy marriage. Decades ago, I see how it could’ve been, but now, not so much. We strongly believe (don’t attack my beliefs now) that a marriage (and then a family) should be started on a healthy financial foundation.
So to that Facebook post, “Why spend so much when you’re just starting a marriage?”, I replied, “If he can confidently afford it, why not?” Because honestly, WHY NOT? This is a decision that both parties need to agree with. If his budget is $1K and her dream ring costs $5K, there definitely needs to be some discussion, and together they both need to be satisfied.
I’ll admit that my dream ring cost a little bit more than what my Fiancé was planning on, and I didn’t have to convince him or tell him the merits of my ring. He honestly just saw how much I liked it, and right there on the spot, he put it on layaway (i.e., he took it off the market). He sees the value and therefore prefers spending a little more on something that’ll last forever (and that I’ll be wearing 24/7 until I die) than, well, not.
So if someone criticizes how much you want to spend on a ring, or how much your fiancé did spend, that’s their problem. A lot of times those who oppose it either think they know better and can teach you a lesson (“we didn’t spend as much as we’ve been together for 50 years!”) or are, honestly, envious (and not the good kind).
And if there’s some dissonance between the cost of what you want, and what he can confidently spend, talk it out. Don’t convince him to spend more if he honestly isn’t comfortable with it. Don’t insist. Build him up–don’t put him down. Maybe try to find a similar alternative or do a smaller diamond or different stone to begin with.
You BOTH need to be a united front.
What are some things related to wedding planning that you want but that others criticize often because of its cost?