All right, so I know I owe you a third post in my three-part series on how I invest my nest egg. But I got distracted today by Penelope Trunk’s blog post on bed bugs. Professional hazard I guess. Anyway, it led me to want to write a post about diamond wedding rings, which is much more fun to write than a post about periodic rebalancing. So I’m writing about wedding rings.
Actually her post was only sort of about bed bugs, it was more about understanding your relationship with money, illustrated through bed bugs and a great photo of a bed bug-sniffing Beagle.
But the part that got me distracted was the part about Laura Vanderkam’s new book All the Money in the World. Because I didn’t know the book was out yet. Severall months ago, Laura Vanderkam interviewed me for the section of her book about rethinking retirement. And so of course, I spent the next three minutes purchasing and downloading the book to my ebook reader. Because obviously I wanted to read the part about me, page 70 by the way.
And then I was distracted because I wanted to start reading all the pages before and after my part too. I got as far as the first chapter about diamond rings, which distracted me from reading the rest of the book, because then I wanted to write another post about wedding rings and retirement instead of reading the rest of the book or writing a post about periodic rebalancing.
Because I totally identified with the point of her first chapter. If you buy a diamond wedding ring, that’s money you can’t spend on other stuff. She writes that the average cost of an engagement ring in 2010 was $5,392. That got her thinking about what a couple could have spent that money on instead, later in the marriage. Like a babysitter for 107 nights when the kids are little, or several years of a housecleaning service, or years and years of surprising your wife with flowers.
I so identified with this chapter because I tried to explain exact same concept to my sister-in-law many, many years ago. A couple years after my wedding, she asked me when we were ever going to get me a diamond wedding ring. She thought it was a money issue when it was really a what-money-can-buy issue.
When Doug and I got engaged I told him I didn’t want a ring yet because we were saving for a house. After we bought the house, I said I didn’t want a ring yet because we needed a new car. After that it was a new deck and who remembers what it was after that.
Spending money on a diamond ring means you’re not going to spend that money on something else, something now or something later. By thinking about what I’d rather have each time the subject came up, I finally realized that I never really wanted a diamond ring. For me it was something you were just supposed to have, not something I really wanted.
Which brings me, in more ways than one, to retirement. Not spending money on something I didn't really want, got me closer to having money for something I did really want, retirement. Which isn't to say that you shouldn't buy a diamond engagement ring if you want it. Just that you should know what you really want and spend the money you have accordingly.
Accordingly, I wear my mom’s wedding band, and I’m just as married as I would be with that diamond ring.
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