Question: A reader shoots me an e-mail and asks, “Sam, how’s it going man? I just found your blog searching for diamond engagement rings and I want to thank you for your “Bling Bling” article. I’m wondering, what size rock do you think I should get for my woman? I ask because she makes literally 5X more than me, and is a Senior Vice President at one of the major retail companies.
She has over 100 people working for her in the marketing department, and I’ve seen her crack the whip on others before, and it’s scary! However, when she’s with me, she’s a completely different person. A jokester, goofy, and SO caring.
I love her to death, and I want to give her the best. But, I’m a middle school teacher, and only make $47,000 a year! I can maybe spend $10,000, but that’s going to be really tight for me, and basically wipe out my savings. We’re both in our mid 30’s and have been dating for over 5 years now. Thoughts? Thanks! John”
Response: Hi John, thanks for your e-mail inquiry. Welcome to Financial Samurai! First of all, I want to commend you for being a school teacher. The state should be paying you guys the big bucks, and not Andrew Hall from Citigroup his $100,000,000 bonus! There are several ways to answer your question, so let me offer some suggestions. I asked your question to a number of my female friends today as well so I can give you a balanced answer.
It sounds like you guys are in love, and there’s a good chance she’ll say “YES!” Given the high likelihood of success, you don’t have to get her something extravagant to woo her over. She’s already yours. The most important thing is you show that you’ve done your research, and get her something she has shown interest in. She must be aware of your rough income level, and the massive budget cuts and therefore potential pay cuts in education. Therefore, it is highly unlikely she expects something more than you can afford. You should take her for a stroll in a shopping district and wander into a jewelry store to help her naturally reveal her tastes.
Your girlfriend might regularly hob knob with similarly wealthy people, but it is you that she wants to be with. By choosing you, she’s showing she doesn’t care about how much money you make. She may have a lot of expensive clothes and accessories, but that doesn’t compare to anything you give her. Many financially successful and single women have revealed in the past that they would give up their fancy title and big paycheck if they could find the man of their dreams. After all, what’s the use of making so much if you have nobody to share it with?
Your woman is already highly confident. Even if you spent just $3,500 and got her a 0.5 carat, G, VS2 ring, I’m sure she will LOVE IT and treasure it forever. I don’t think she’ll care what her friends think because she’ll be so happy she’s engaged! She definitely won’t care what her subordinates thinks, and may actually appreciate not having something so extravagant to show off. She can afford a 3 carat Tiffany’s if she wants to, but that’s nothing special because it won’t be from YOU. At the end of the day, put in the research, focus on quality over size, and plan something romantic and well thought out. Time and time again women tell us it’s the thought that really counts. With all your research so far, it’s clear you are going to do the right thing!
Readers, any advice you have for John? Please keep your e-mail questions coming! It’ll be great to discuss the trend towards more female breadwinners at a later point. I have a feeling that many guys would love to have a sugar mama, especially after this recession. I know I would!
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