Engagement Rings: Have You Ever Upgraded, Downgraded, or Swapped It Out?

engagement ring upgradeSo here’s something that I know people do but never really hear people talk about: upgrading engagement rings. If you’re married, engaged, or just fond of thinking about rings: when, if ever, can one “upgrade” an engagement or wedding ring to get a larger diamond, adding more stones like baguettes or upgrading the setting to something like a Halo? When, if ever, can one replace a wedding ring for fashion/style reasons? (Obviously, the easy answer is “whenever the heck you want,” but there’s an etiquette issue here with your partner, as well as budgetary issues, fashion/lifestyle issues, and more.) We’ve talked about whether you have to take a diamond ring off to interview — but we’ve never talked about an engagement ring upgrade or anything else from this angle.upgrading an engagement ring etiquette

A few questions, to focus discussion: is buying “too much of a ring” ever a problem? For example, if your partner were to propose with an engagement ring — but still be in the midst of paying it off when you get hitched — how do you feel about that? Would you prefer zero debt in your union and a smaller ring — or did you have a mindset of “hey, you only get one engagement ring so let’s make it huuuuge!”, but then be OK with a monthly loan payment to which you contribute (or where your partner pays for it alone but then has less resources to contribute to family discretionary spending)? (After all, there are lots of different married money management methods!) Irrespective of engagement ring size, I know of several women who found that ultimately they preferred to just wear their wedding bands, and leave their engagement rings in the drawer (or safe, as the case may be)…

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How to Survive Divorce, Financially (And Other Tips on Divorce Finances)

divorce financesWe haven’t done a Money Milestone series in a while, in part because I’ve been a bit trepidatious about this one. I keep reading that divorce can decimate your finances, and there are numerous things you should do in advance of, during, and after a divorce. However: I’m happily married (knock on wood). I still think this is important for us to talk about here, both for readers who may be thinking about a divorce or going through one.  So let’s do this as an open thread (anonymous as always) — ladies who’ve been divorced (or seriously investigated getting one), please speak up. What are your best tips for financially surviving a divorce? What would you do differently with your finances during the marriage, if anything — and when would you have done it? What other tips do you have on divorce finances? What resources can you recommend, either on the finances side or otherwise?  

In this Money Milestone series, we’ve done grad school, weddings, home buying, and planning for a baby.  In terms of money and relationships, in the past we’ve also talked about pre-nups, shared accounts, married money management, dating someone with less money, dating a fellow busy overachiever, and more.

2016 Update: You can read all the advice from the readers who’ve financially survived divorce in the comments below, but some of their top tips for divorce finances and more include:

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Tales from the Wallet: Wedding Finances

Wedding, Finances, and Budget | CorporetteWhat are the financial implications of getting married — and how does your wedding budget affect your overall financial health? What other major milestones affect your financial health?  I’ve often read that how you handle a few major milestones in your life — wedding!  grad school!  baby!  buying a house!  divorce!  retirement! — can have a significant impact on your overall financial health.  So I thought we’d start a series on Money Milestones.  (We’ve already talked about how where you live affects your finances, as well as what a general money roadmap, through life, should look like.)

First up:  the financial implications of getting married.  The question to everyone who’s been through this: what choices did you make that affected finances? What would your advice be to someone just going through it (either for the first time or again)? To those of you who decided NOT to get married because of the financial implications — please share some of your thoughts with us!

For my $.02, these are my best tips:

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Tales from the Wallet: Different Money Management Methods for Marriage and Partnerships

Managing Money after Marriage or Partnership | Corporette2018 Update: We’ve still stand by this discussion on married money management methods and have updated links; you may also want to check out some of our more recent discussions about money.

We’ve talked about how to keep track of many accounts — but I don’t think we’ve ever talked about which money management method Corporette readers prefer, once married or partnered.  There are a number of different methods that I’ve heard about through the years, and I’m curious to hear from you guys (particularly those of you who are the breadwinners):  what is your family’s method for sharing money?  (Pictured: Cole Haan Parker Exotic Tech Snap Wallet, now sold out.)  There was a great series in Slate a few years ago (now available as a Kindle book) that defined these main types:how to manage your money once you get married -- image of a couple hugging and laughing

  • Common Potters – people who combine all of their money
  • Sometime Sharers – people who have both separate and joint accounts (usually with an automatic percentage going into the joint account)
  • Independent Operators – people who have completely separate accounts

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Love, Marriage, and Pre-Nups

should I sign a pre-nupReader C has a great question about how to deal with her fiance, who wants her to sign a pre-nuptial agreement…

After 7 years of dating (since my junior year of college) and one year of being engaged, my fiance just brought them up. Both of us have advanced degrees but he’s in finance and I work in public interest law. I am significantly less financially secure than him and will make significantly less in my career. But we’ve always functioned like a team. We’ve both made moves and career decisions for each other. He’s my best friend. But I’m really hurt. Our wedding is only a month and a half out and this feels very rushed to me. We both have said we would never get divorced (and after 8 happy years together, I truly believe we’ll make it), but his phrasing is that “he analyzes risk for a living and he just wants to be extra secure that in the unlikely event of divorce, he is prepared.” I think that even having a pre-nupt opens the door to divorce and don’t understand why if he says he doesn’t believe in divorce that he’d request one. This feels like the biggest breach in our relationship ever. Advice? Am I being ridiculous? Is he? How many corporette readers have pre-nupts (statistics I found said 5-10% of marriages but that includes second marriages and marriages with children from previous marriages where I think it makes more sense)? Can anyone help me get on board with this or am I right to be freaking out (after all, a pre-nupt can only hurt me)?

Interesting question.  I’ve seen articles that say pre-nups are on the rise (even though the oft-quoted statistic that 50% of couples divorce isn’t really true).  Personally, I come to pre-nups from the other side of things: even though I’m wildly in love, as well as Catholic and of the “divorce is not an option” mindset, I’m the one who brought them up with my husband, R. I broached the subject with this little speech:  Good Kat and Good R are marrying now, and we love each other and of course would want to take care of each other (or at least be fair to each other) even if something were to happen and if we were to divorce.  But — if we actually WERE to divorce, that would be a sea change (because we love each other so much right now and can’t possibly imagine it!!) and, in that event, we’d probably be dealing with either Bad Kat or Bad R or both.  And my point was that if we really loved each other now, wouldn’t it be a nice thing if Good Kat and Good R had agreed to the terms of the divorce — and not Bad Kat or Bad R, who probably would have hurt feelings and maybe a bit of blood thirst. Furthermore, even though the pre-nup terms we discussed were very close to New York state law, something else I liked was that if the law changed, or if we moved to a new state, we wouldn’t have to deal with new information — the terms of the divorce would always be a known quantity.

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