When you find the right person to spend the rest of your life with, everything else suddenly seems less important. True love has a way of lending clarity to life—all at once, we can see what really matters.
Or can we? It’s certainly true that choosing the right partner is one of the most important things in life. But love also has a way of getting people swept up in the moment. It’s all too easy to drop entire paychecks on engagement rings with natural diamonds from De Beers and the like; it’s all too easy to overspend on weddings and all of the things that go with them, from rings to DJs.
If you can afford big expenses, there’s nothing wrong with splashing a lot of cash down on your big day. But newlyweds need money, too, and marriage means making smart long-term plans about your future with your partner. That’s incompatible with overspending on frivolities, no matter how romantic they might seem.
Smart Ring Shopping
Natural diamonds are the result of immensely high pressure. So, unfortunately, are many engagement ring purchasing decisions!
Diamonds haven’t always been a mandatory part of popping the question. It’s taken years of influence from the diamond industry to build up this idea—along with all of the things that go with it, like ridiculous spending recommendations of two, three, or even six months’ salary (pre-tax, no less!).
It’s all nonsense, of course, but customs create pressure, and diamonds really can be beautiful. So what can you do? You could consider asking around to see if there’s a ring in the family that you could use as an engagement ring. Such a ring will have a lot of history and meaning—and will cost you a lot less.
Or you could opt for lab grown diamonds— to the naked eye, lab diamonds and natural diamonds are identical. So why do retailers charge so much more for one than for the other? Simple scarcity is the main answer, along with a rather hard to define belief in the value of natural diamonds and all of the time and pressure that it took to create them.
Ultimately, though, only a jewelry expert with a loupe can really tell the difference between a lab diamond and a natural diamond. If you don’t know carats from carrots, then why should you spend big on so-called real diamonds instead of lab diamonds that, to the naked eye, exhibit just as much crystal clarity, sparkle, and brilliance?
Besides, mined diamonds are sometimes a cruel form of consumption (due to unethical diamond mining practices and related conflicts)—and more ethical natural diamonds cost even more than the unethical ones. You should consider getting a beautiful lab diamond and using the cash you save to kick-start your financial future with your loved on.
A Big Day Without a Big Budget
Just as you finish up worrying about nonsense like carats, the mined diamond industry, conflict diamonds, and all of that, you’ll want to relax and enjoy your loving relationship. But you’ll barely be able to catch a breather before it’s wedding planning time!
Affording a wedding is no easy task these days. In fact, a typical wedding now costs tens of thousands of dollars; even a relatively low-key affair in some states can run you north of $40,000.
There’s only so much that you can do to control wedding costs. Your best bet for doing so is to be firm in your budgetary restraints and creative in your methods for cutting costs. This may mean getting less traditional about the whole thing—some of those traditions are very expensive! Cutting menus in favor of buffets can save you cash, as can opting to provide your own booze (make sure you choose a wedding venue that will let you do so).
Your Financial Future
Planning a long-term financial future is about more than just deciding what type of diamond you want for your ring or cutting costs at your wedding. But saving on these things will give you a nest egg to start with. Be sure to make the most of it! Work with financial planners before and after your wedding. And consider your legal needs, too, suggest family law attorneys. Work with family law attorneys to craft a prenuptial agreement that will protect all parties and make life easier should the worst things happen.
Issues like child custody and child support, spousal support, and the fate of shared and individual assets can and should be discussed ahead of time, just in case, say family law attorneys. Meanwhile, you and your financial advisors can work on investing and growing your wealth. In all likelihood, your future together is bright. Remember, though, that it’s only as bright as you make it. Plan ahead, make smart decisions, and never stop working to build a beautiful future and a more perfect partnership.