Law School Discussion

Specific Groups => Minority and Non-Traditional Law Students => Topic started by: dbk10 on February 14, 2006, 11:44:07 AM

Title: Non-Traditional Financial Decision
Post by: dbk10 on February 14, 2006, 11:44:07 AM
Here's an interesting topic.  Say 1.5 years into law school it's time to "pop the question."  If you don't know what "the question" is, then this probably isn't a good topic for you to chime in on.  I believe the "suggested" amount is about two months salary.  Now as a grad student do I consider two months salary for what I was making before graduate school, two months salary of what I'm expecting to make when I graduate, or maybe buy something small and simple with the promise that once I have the first paycheck we'll go together to buy something.  There's a big part of me that doesn't like that last choice and would rather take a loan out to buy "the ring."  What do you guys think?
Title: Re: Non-Traditional Financial Decision
Post by: jvan2619 on February 14, 2006, 11:52:36 AM
Here's my take...take it for what it is worth since I'm a girl :)

When my husband was buying my ring, his Father gave him what I consider the best advice ever...a ring is not an "investment".  Spend whatever you possibly can because is you average it out on a per-day basis, it is nothing.  Think how much you spend on clothes, haricuts, etc...well, a ring is something that she will always be wearing. Always!

GO FOR BROKE!
 ;)
Title: Re: Non-Traditional Financial Decision
Post by: thenextstep on February 14, 2006, 12:34:59 PM
I think it's worth talking to your prospective ring-wearer about what she likes (I assume she, could be wanting to buy a ring for a guy I suppose).  Anyway, you might be surprised at the cost (in a wow too high or wow lower than I thought way) of what she wants - which helps you plan.  Also, she may not want a diamond ring, which would really change your money considerations.  Just food for thought.  But I would really not spend much on the ring - do what is financially reasonable at the time.  But I am also perhaps an atypical girl... I think my ring is too big, too expensive and it was pretty cheap by engagement ring standards.  Also shop around and tell stores that you are - I had a friend get a ring for about half the price by bargaining with the sales people of two stores.
Title: Re: Non-Traditional Financial Decision
Post by: Phatmal on February 14, 2006, 01:08:51 PM
My brother gave his wife a family heirloom....

I've seen women wearing all sizes of wedding rings with the same level of pride.  It's not the "size" that matters IMO.  I don't even have an engagement ring (but there were only 5 days between engagement and marriage (no one was pregnant  :P) so I'm not the typical example).  If you can't afford or don't want to buy the big ring, then get creative with the way you ask her.  Show that you've put some time into it and that it really mattered to you.
Title: Re: Non-Traditional Financial Decision
Post by: dbk10 on February 14, 2006, 02:15:05 PM
I actually have a jeweler I would use, that's not the problem.  I was more curious about what others' thoughts were on the whole proposing while in grad school.  It sounds as though people suggest to just go all out when I'm ready and not to do a little token while in school with the promise of something else later.

Thanks all.
Title: Re: Non-Traditional Financial Decision
Post by: UGAfootballfanatic on February 14, 2006, 02:33:01 PM
I also say skip the 2 months salary consideration. Depending on your budget you can be flexible with diamond size and adjust your budget by quality. Also, consider what line of work your wife will be in, and that if you decide to do biglaw you might need to "upgrade" her ring. In the long run, it will be a status symbol that people in biglaw would judge you on. Painful and materialistic? yes. but true. If you status won't matter, get her whatever you want to. One carat is a nice round number... My husband bought me a ring well below 2 months salary btw, and I love it.
Title: Re: Non-Traditional Financial Decision
Post by: thenextstep on February 14, 2006, 02:43:07 PM
I'd like to just say that proposing when you are ready to get married is the key - the ring is secondary.
Title: Re: Non-Traditional Financial Decision
Post by: cayberr on February 14, 2006, 02:46:11 PM
I actually have a jeweler I would use, that's not the problem.  I was more curious about what others' thoughts were on the whole proposing while in grad school.  It sounds as though people suggest to just go all out when I'm ready and not to do a little token while in school with the promise of something else later.

Thanks all.

The key is that you're completely ready.  Whether you're going all out or doing it in a small token manner, that takes a backseat to you being ready.

See what's more important to her, to be engaged sooner or have a bigger ring later?

FWIW, my SO and I are getting married, but we just don't know when.  He's in med school and I'm going to LS.  If we wait, I can surely have a fat rock and we can have an elaborate wedding, but I'm not really into all that.  I don't need $30k on my finger.  Now a down payment on a house, that I can drool over.  You can always get more baubles and trinkets for her right hand.  ;)

Title: Re: Non-Traditional Financial Decision
Post by: cayberr on February 14, 2006, 02:47:54 PM
I'd like to just say that proposing when you are ready to get married is the key - the ring is secondary.

Just what I wanted to say!  But you were quicker and to the point.  :D
Title: Re: Non-Traditional Financial Decision
Post by: dbk10 on February 14, 2006, 03:05:45 PM
She's definitely not a showy person and would probably rather a lower key ring.  To go the heirloom route, I think my grandmother's ring would be too big for her finger and would look awkward and showy, thus I would want to buy something new.  Plus, I think she'd want to have some say in the shape of the diamond.  She's currently getting her PhD and we would graduate at the same time if I started school next fall.  I don't see myself getting married while in school, but shortly after.  This would probably entail getting engaged while in law school.  And I think I am now leaning towards going all out up front as opposed to doing some sort of "promise ring" type of thing.  We'll be moving in together when I start graduate school.  And I've been thinking about this next step for about six months now, but I feel like I just don't know what will happen/change with the whole moving in together and the whole grad school thing so I just assumed I wouldn't be buying the ring until after 1L.
Title: Re: Non-Traditional Financial Decision
Post by: potato on February 14, 2006, 04:49:53 PM
Rings can be resized.

I'd be very upset if my boyfriend bought me a ring he couldn't afford and had to go into debt for. Then again, I'm atypical, in that I don't want a diamond engagement ring because of the issues involving conflict diamonds, the DeBeers cartel keeping the cost of diamonds artificially high, etc.  It's a marketing scam that DeBeers came up with in early 1900s to sell diamonds.   Which is too bad, cause they are pretty.  Ah well. 


Oh, or you could go with a wedding ring with diamonds on it, rather than an engagement ring/wedding ring combo.

Have you talked about this?

And congrats and best of luck!
Title: Re: Non-Traditional Financial Decision
Post by: cayberr on February 14, 2006, 05:40:24 PM
I'd be very upset if my boyfriend bought me a ring he couldn't afford and had to go into debt for. Then again, I'm atypical, in that I don't want a diamond engagement ring because of the issues involving conflict diamonds, the DeBeers cartel keeping the cost of diamonds artificially high, etc.  It's a marketing scam that DeBeers came up with in early 1900s to sell diamonds.   Which is too bad, cause they are pretty.  Ah well.

I couldn't agree more.  I would be beyond pissed if he bought me a ring beyond what he could afford.  But I'm atypical too.  :)

I actually don't want mined diamonds either because I'd rather not support the ugliness of the diamond trade (I was going to bring this up earlier but I didn't want to hijack someone else's thread and flame).  I'm looking into man-made/cultured diamonds for my engagement ring.  However, they are more abundant in pink, blue, and yellow, but I actually want colorless, which is rare for man-made diamonds.
Title: Re: Non-Traditional Financial Decision
Post by: lsatflunkie on February 14, 2006, 06:15:20 PM
 ::)  I'm not a materialistic person and I am not a jewelry freak, so my response may be biased. In any event, here it is....

I have a wonderful husband who I married because he was my best friend, has a wonderful spirit, an even more wonderful heart, an awesome sense of humor, and because he's great in bed  :-*  However, he did not have a lot of money when we met; in fact, he had a lot less than me.  I owned a home already, had finished college and was making a decent living. When he proposed, the only thing that mattered to me was that he did so because he truly loved me for who I am as I loved him the same.  Yes, your rings are "forever"- however, the love you share is more important than anything one can purchase- I hate to use the words of a commercial- but the love is "priceless".
Title: Re: Non-Traditional Financial Decision
Post by: lsatflunkie on February 14, 2006, 06:21:08 PM
oops, I forgot to add- my ring- it's beautiful, not because it is big or expensive, but because it came from the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with....
AND
FYI- I only wear it on special occasions- it has a very high setting and when I got pregnant, it didn't fit.  Thereafter, I was always afraid to wear it b/c I'd scratch my son-- so it only comes out when we're going out someplace kinda "formal".
Title: Re: Non-Traditional Financial Decision
Post by: jashdey on February 14, 2006, 09:09:34 PM
I disagree with the notion that you can only have one ring, i.e. the ring given during a proposal.  The worst thing you can do, IMHO, is take out a loan for a diamond ring that devalues so fast it's not even funny.

People typically put value in the sentimental aspects of the ring, but I'm totally atypical there.  I actually ended up selling my original wedding ring (after having it redesigned twice) because it turned out that I really did not like diamonds.  Partially because of the business practices involved, and partially because they are just so - well, common.  The whole "solitaire on a platinum band" thing seems to involve zero imagination and only focuses on the carat size of the stone for showoff purposes.  I now wear a carved sterling silver ring that I got at Tiffany's for about $150, and I love it.  I get lots of compliments on it as well, as it's unusual.

I'd chat with your future fiance to see what she wants.  If it turns out she wants a big herkin' diamond, there is no reason why you couldn't get one as a replacement when you're in a better financial situation - it doesn't mean she has to stop wearing the original one.
Title: Re: Non-Traditional Financial Decision
Post by: lincolnsgrandson on February 15, 2006, 03:35:36 AM
Good question - I proposed during my 1L.  I tried to get a ring from my mother, grandmother, but could not.  Thinking about the "two months salary" didn't even make sense.  I was in about $20K debt by that point.  How would that work?
So I planned a very sweet proposal, one with extraordinary sentimental value, and popped the question with no ring.  I got down on my knee - that's crucial.  She decided to marry my broke ass, and she did. Baby's on the way around graduation time.
I did present, after she accepted, a diamond studded heart-shaped pendant with sentimental value.

A lot of your friends and acquaintances will tell you, like they told me, how lucky she is to marry a sweet guy like you even without a ring.  I don't know if they believe that, but it's nice to hear.

So my recommendation is: do it.  Plan a very sweet and romantic proposal, but not so overplanned that it can fall apart too easily.  Make it a complete surprise.  And get down on your knee.  Get married, and don't wait until after you finish law school if you don't want to.

Make no mistake about this: there is an understanding that once you become an attorney and you're earning that scrill, a big rock is forthcoming.

Mazel tov.
Title: Re: Non-Traditional Financial Decision
Post by: upNdown on February 15, 2006, 07:20:59 AM
My 2 cents is that you have no business committing to marriage before you have a job and a house (or at least the means to put a roof over your heads).  She's a student, you're a student, you're both living on borrowed money (or on your parents' money).  I think you should wait until you are card carrying members of the real world before you make such committments.  It is coldly practical and totally unromantic advice, but you are soliciting loose change . . .   
Title: Re: Non-Traditional Financial Decision
Post by: slp on February 15, 2006, 07:33:13 AM
My DH and I married 9 years ago while we were both in grad school and broke, living on borrowed money.  We wanted to get married and priced rings, found out that we were in no position to pay for it. The way I looked at it was, if we were going to be married, the debts were going to be both of ours after marriage.  The practical thing to do was to forego the huge rock.  it didnt make sense for us to buys something extravagant when we didnt even have a reliable car to drive.  I was okay with waiting for the larger rock later on, and that worked out fine for us.  Although in the "Jones'" circle, it can be intimidating for some to be okay with that arrangement.  Some of the older couples have said that it was a wise and savvy thing to not blow a huge sum on a ring we could not afford.  My younger sister, insisted on a 3 grand ring and believed that she would never upgrade and wanted to big rock right away.  To each his own. 
Another friend bought his fiance's ring a year before proposing so by the time he proposed, the ring was pretty much paid off.  Given the OP's situation, a good idea might be to take the diamonds out of his grandmother's ring and have it custom made intoa new ring so the ring is new, updated and will suit the fiance's tastes.  Most of the cost is in the diamond, anyway so if u can get for free, go for it.

When u look back at this years down the road, u wont see this as such a big deal.  I have so many friends who dont even wear their engagement ring and either wear the diamond band or downgrade to a plain band to avoid accidentally scratching their newborn. 

It is far better to be able to provide financially to allow ure wife to stay home to raise kids if she chooses, live in a nice area, nice house, etc than get a rock u can't afford or will be paying on it for years.
A little off topic....A colleague of mine has a beautiful diamond and I said jokingly to her, "You cant be that brokw with that diamond on your finger" and she just looked at it and laughed saying, "Yeah right! this was bought back when we had no mortgage, car payment or other big bills. We could afford to make payments on it back then, but now forget it!"   
Title: Re: Non-Traditional Financial Decision
Post by: jvan2619 on February 15, 2006, 01:47:48 PM
I guess ring size really does depend on what you like.  I think I was the only one who said spend the money :)  Sorry guys – didn’t realize how many people opposed it! 

To answer the original question (not about rings), my husband and I got married right after he quit his job to start his own business.  We went from two great incomes to losing his and mine being significantly decreased by a transfer.  Being married while struggling financially is hard…really hard.  My husband is truly my best friend and we have a wonderful marriage, but financially hard times really do cause tension.  It is the only thing we have EVER fought about.  It’s difficult when you have to split your money…no matter who is making/not making it.  If you are trying to be frugal, you get angry when the other person buys something (case in point – I now have a plasma tv in my living room – WHAT!!!! – yea, we really needed that).  Also, what is important to you as far as spending of your money often doesn’t coincide with your partners.  I like shoes – he likes eating out.  It’s just tough.

That said…I WOULD NOT CHANGE A THING. 

I would still without a doubt marry him again at that time, no matter how poor we were.  The one thing that we might “reconsider” was having a child while still strapped financially.  Children are EXPENSIVE!  We are so much stronger as a couple for having gone through this together.  We can make it through anything.

I think the real question is – do you want to marry her?

I only ask because I've seen way to many friends get married because they thought that was the "next step" in life.  Unfortunately it was the wrong person.  If she is the right person, it won't matter when, where or how you get married.

Best of luck with whatever you decide :)
Title: Re: Non-Traditional Financial Decision
Post by: lincolnsgrandson on February 15, 2006, 02:48:55 PM
My 2 cents is that you have no business committing to marriage before you have a job and a house...I think you should wait until you are card carrying members of the real world before you make such committments. It is coldly practical and totally unromantic advice, but you are soliciting loose change . . .

And you have no business telling someone else not to married, especially where it's because that doesn't person doesn't meet your own standards.  He asked about a ring, not for some fool like you to tell him whether or not he should get married.  You have no f--king clue whether or not he is a "card carrying member of the real world."  Save your judgments for yourself and your own children.  Don't tell other people not to get married.
Title: Re: Non-Traditional Financial Decision
Post by: queencruella on February 15, 2006, 03:02:08 PM
I think it's best to buy what you can afford right now.  It's definitely not a wise idea to go all out on the ring or the wedding right now, but there's nothing that says you can't upgrade the ring later or have a small ceremony now and renew your vows in a bigger ceremony once you can better afford it. I have one friend who had a tiny ceremony when he got married and gave his wife a small pendant, but 4 or 5 years later gave her a nice ring. 
Title: Re: Non-Traditional Financial Decision
Post by: UGAfootballfanatic on February 16, 2006, 12:23:15 PM
whether or not you agree with upndown's statement (which I happen to think makes some real sense) this is an anonymous internet chat board, and I believe posting a new message pretty much obligates you to comments from the peanut gallery. comes with the territory, folks.
Title: Re: Non-Traditional Financial Decision
Post by: SkullTatt on February 16, 2006, 12:32:27 PM
STRAIGHT PEOPLE !!!

I think what the OP should do depends on the girl. She may be charmed by a "no ring" romantic proposal scenario. Or she may be embarrassed or mortified in front of friends or family to have no ring, or even a ring that's not big enough. I have a friend who just got a big rock from her BF, and they seem to be getting married for reasons similar to what another poster brought up -- all her friends are doing it. I think in that competitive type of situation, rock size matters.

Two more cents, I think many (if not most) women if presented a ring that was a little too expensive, would protest about the cost, but they would secretly be thrilled. I think it is an investment that would pay off.
Title: Re: Non-Traditional Financial Decision
Post by: slp on February 16, 2006, 12:37:21 PM
The previous poster is right, it does depend on the girl.  For me, i didnt care a whole lot, but ask some of my friends and some of my relatives and u get a whole different story.  In some ways it is like buying a hose or a car.  for some, they arent satisfied unless it is a new Mercedes and for others, it could be a used Hyundai.   What is traditional in your family and in your circle has some bearing on your decision as well. 
To the OP, what have u decided?  Or have u become even more confused:)
Title: Re: Non-Traditional Financial Decision
Post by: plaintext on February 16, 2006, 12:42:43 PM
Here's an interesting topic.  Say 1.5 years into law school it's time to "pop the question."  If you don't know what "the question" is, then this probably isn't a good topic for you to chime in on.  I believe the "suggested" amount is about two months salary.  Now as a grad student do I consider two months salary for what I was making before graduate school, two months salary of what I'm expecting to make when I graduate, or maybe buy something small and simple with the promise that once I have the first paycheck we'll go together to buy something.  There's a big part of me that doesn't like that last choice and would rather take a loan out to buy "the ring."  What do you guys think?


This clearly falls within the Statute of Frauds.  After you're down on your knee and before the ring is transferred, make sure she signs the dotted line.

My advice is to get a ring for under $500 and a marriage date less than a year.

Title: Re: Non-Traditional Financial Decision
Post by: dbk10 on February 16, 2006, 01:05:28 PM
Also, perhaps I wasn't explicit enough in my original post, but the plan is to get engaged during law school so that I can marry after I graduate, not while still in school.  My girlfriend is a sentimental person and she would want to keep whatever I gave her during a proposal.  She is traditional when it comes to something like this and a ring is what she would want versus some other type of token; she would want to be able to signify a traditional engagement in some way.  Therefore, I am thinking of going in possibly one of two routes: to either go all out and go for the perfect ring or to get the perfect band and setting with the plan of replacing whatever I put in there with something better down the road.  I think my father has already figured this out as on the phone the other day he made a comment, "you would say something to me before going ring shopping, right?"  That complicates the situation because I have a feeling that both my family and hers would expect a nice ring.  And I believe that the ring needs to come from me, not from someone else offering to provide funds for it.

I appreciate everyones' feedback.  Thanks!
Title: Re: Non-Traditional Financial Decision
Post by: plaintext on February 16, 2006, 04:45:08 PM
dude.. wtf.. you're talking about 1.5 years from now!

the only thing worthy of consideration that far in advance is the bachelor party  ;)
Title: Re: Non-Traditional Financial Decision
Post by: dbk10 on February 17, 2006, 06:36:18 AM
dude.. wtf.. you're talking about 1.5 years from now!

the only thing worthy of consideration that far in advance is the bachelor party  ;)

Ha ha ha, I have 4 of those to go to this summer, so I am not  quite concerned with mine yet.  I know she's the one, but I don't want to have a 3 year engagement that's why I'm thinking about this now, but not going to do anything for a little bit.  Now that I've filled out my FAFSA, and learned of my EFC, I probably should have bought the ring now, left it in a safe deposit box for a year, and then correct my FAFSA with updates to my savings.
Title: Re: Non-Traditional Financial Decision
Post by: UGAfootballfanatic on February 17, 2006, 07:33:07 AM
I agree that engagements should be short. If that person is the one, then wait long enough to plan the wedding and get it over with before you kill each other during engagement (my hubby and I fought more while we were engaged than we ever did before or after; it's a stressful time, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise). We planned for around 8 or 9 months from engagement in early May to wedding in late February.
Title: Re: Non-Traditional Financial Decision
Post by: slp on February 17, 2006, 08:01:13 AM
Thanks for the defense lincolnsgrandson, but I didn't put much stock into upNdown's comment as I am a card carrying member of the real world and actually have 6 figures in my savings account (not including my IRAs and 401K). 

OP, Knowing the info that u do have money in the bank, the info regarding what ure family and her family are probably expecting, and the info u provided on your girlfriend, it is easier to give  u better feedback.  In your unique situation, it sounds to me that you will probably want to buy the real ring u want her to have, not a smaller one or something to upgrade later.  i was under the impression that you were surviving on loans for law school because u had to and taking a loan out through some chain store with high interest rates,etc. while in school  was not the best idea.  If you ahve the money in savings, get what u want to get her. Just curious,  if u do have $$$ in ure savings already, then why are you even concerned  about this?  I mean, in my husband's situation, we were both in school and depending solely on loans for school and living expenses with no other financial cushion at the time.  There was no option but to get something small or just wait.  Your situation is different.  You have the money, it won't put u in a financial bind,  and you have plenty of time on ure side to get the ring.  Get her what you want to get her (the big rock) and enjoy life:)
Title: Re: Non-Traditional Financial Decision
Post by: upNdown on February 17, 2006, 08:08:31 AM
Just so you know why I said what I said, here was my line of thinking. 

1) Most women would prefer an impressive ring.  Sure, there are plenty exceptions, but since we don't know your girlfriend, we can only assume she sides with the majority.  AND you seem to want to buy her an impressive ring.  And I really believe the majority of women would be happy with an impressive ring. 

2) Most students can't afford an impressive ring.  It would be stupid to go deep in debt for a ring while you're a student. 

so

3) If the woman wants a nice ring and you can't afford a nice ring, you should wait until you can afford a nice ring.

Now, all that being said (and I don't care who agrees with it - as somebody pointed out, this is a public board; you're going to get all kinds of opinions) - DBK10, if you really have over 100K in the bank, why not just buy the ring now, or then, or whenever?  2 months salary is a nice rule of thumb, but everybody knows it isn't a hard and fast rule.  So pick a number you're comfortable with (I'd suggest 10-15 grand, but you don't seem interested in my suggestions even though you've solicited them) and buy a ring.  Why would you finance it, with that kind of money in the bank? 
Title: Re: Non-Traditional Financial Decision
Post by: jvan2619 on February 17, 2006, 08:14:08 AM
Thanks for the defense lincolnsgrandson, but I didn't put much stock into upNdown's comment as I am a card carrying member of the real world and actually have 6 figures in my savings account (not including my IRAs and 401K). 

OP, Knowing the info that u do have money in the bank, the info regarding what ure family and her family are probably expecting, and the info u provided on your girlfriend, it is easier to give  u better feedback.  In your unique situation, it sounds to me that you will probably want to buy the real ring u want her to have, not a smaller one or something to upgrade later.  i was under the impression that you were surviving on loans for law school because u had to and taking a loan out through some chain store with high interest rates,etc. while in school  was not the best idea.  If you ahve the money in savings, get what u want to get her. Just curious,  if u do have $$$ in ure savings already, then why are you even concerned  about this?  I mean, in my husband's situation, we were both in school and depending solely on loans for school and living expenses with no other financial cushion at the time.  There was no option but to get something small or just wait.  Your situation is different.  You have the money, it won't put u in a financial bind,  and you have plenty of time on ure side to get the ring.  Get her what you want to get her (the big rock) and enjoy life:)

Amen :)  I hope you find the perfect ring - be it big, small or unique.    

I can tell you that the ring my Mom got from my Dad when they got engaged was small with him saying that he would buy something bigger later...they now have the money...same ring.  She doesn't wear it.  This year is their 30th anniversary and he is FINALLY getting her the ring.  IMO, if you can afford to get her a lifetime ring, do it!  It's hard to go back and justify the money later.  Again, JUST MY OPINION - please don't crucify me.

Another thing - and NO, my friends aren't shallow - but after girls get engaged, they tell everyone...the first stupid question out of other girls' mouths is "let me see the ring"...don't ask me why, but it is.  Annoying?  HELL YEA - but true.  
Title: Re: Non-Traditional Financial Decision
Post by: upNdown on February 17, 2006, 08:15:17 AM
My 2 cents is that you have no business committing to marriage before you have a job and a house...I think you should wait until you are card carrying members of the real world before you make such committments. It is coldly practical and totally unromantic advice, but you are soliciting loose change . . .

And you have no business telling someone else not to married, especially where it's because that doesn't person doesn't meet your own standards.  He asked about a ring, not for some fool like you to tell him whether or not he should get married.  You have no f--king clue whether or not he is a "card carrying member of the real world."  Save your judgments for yourself and your own children.  Don't tell other people not to get married.

I didn't make any judgements, I made assumptions.  There's a difference.  And, perhaps you should consider the divorce rate in this country before you bar all anti-marriage advice.  
Title: Re: Non-Traditional Financial Decision
Post by: dbk10 on February 17, 2006, 08:24:29 AM
For the next three years I will not be working a full-time job.  After completing my FAFSA, I am basically not eligible for any financial aid.  Over the next three years, depending upon where I end up, Law School and Cost of Living will probably be over 100K.  I do not want to allow my bank account to go down to zero and I will do a partial financing (maybe half) of my education as you can earn a higher rate of return on your savings than you would owe in interest on a student loan.  However, buying the ring that I would probably want would take a $15K - $20K chunk out of my savings forcing me to finance a higher percentage of my education.  In my opinion it was a completely rational question.  I don't think my financial situation is as much of a factor as compared to how one justifies laying down that kind of money when you're not working for 3 years and to add to that my financial situation in 3 years will be very different from where I am now with a lot of unknowns.
Title: Re: Non-Traditional Financial Decision
Post by: cfreder on February 17, 2006, 08:55:14 AM
No matter when you choose to propose, there will always be issues/concerns with money, timing, careers, etc.  There is no perfect time.

In regards to your ring question:

1.  I concur, you should have purchased the ring before filing the FAFSA.  If possible, do it now and amend your SAR.  Any other major purchases?  Do it now and amend, amend, amend.  Then again, why am I giving you financial advice?  You have a crapload more than me in the bank.  I am so jealous ;o)

2.  Consider pricing your 15K - 20K diamond on Bluenile, which typically has much cheaper prices.  Then take the price estimate to a place like Shane Co., which will price-match Bluenile, and voila, you've saved yourself several grand.  Furthermore, if Shane Co. (or insert other company name) messes up and can't match your diamond exactly, they'll head over to that lovely diamond city in Europe and you'll find yourself with the upgrade closest to your original request.  Voila, another grand or so.

3.  Don't leave the paperwork where she might find it prior to proposal.  She'll figure it out, but she won't tell you since she doesn't want to hurt your feelings. And then she'll mention it to would-be proposers on anonymous chat boards to help them avoid making the same mistake her husband did ;o).

Best of luck.  Marriage is harder than it looks and much more exciting, too.
Title: Re: Non-Traditional Financial Decision
Post by: jvan2619 on February 17, 2006, 09:15:50 AM
Those are great comments cfreder!

As dumb as it sounds, I know a ton of people who have gotten their diamonds in the Bahamas for a fraction of the cost...they actually paid to fly down there just to save the money.  Then you bring it back to the states to have it appraised.

Just a thought!  Good luck!
Title: Re: Non-Traditional Financial Decision
Post by: upNdown on February 17, 2006, 09:39:15 AM
my financial situation in 3 years will be very different from where I am now with a lot of unknowns.

It sounds to me like you know exactly what you want to do, but the above statement is holding you back.  We're all facing a few years of financial uncertainty, so I can certainly sympathize.
Title: Re: Non-Traditional Financial Decision
Post by: slp on February 17, 2006, 10:21:09 AM
If you have cash in the bank versus no cash, u are in a better position to buy the ring now.  Yes, definitely amend the FAFSA.  As u probably already know, when u repay student loans, u do get a tax break (or at least i do).  A separate loan or credit card loan to finance a ring is not going
 to give uthat tax break.  As for future financial uncertainty in 3 years coupled  with the three years of full-time schooling, the reality is, the future is uncertain for all of us.  You may end up with triplets within a year out of school and ure soon-to-be wife may stay home, u may buy an expensive car or house, who knows?
Get her a nice ring. A good friend of mine is married to a partner in a mid sized law firm.  Her husband used a wholesale jeweler who pretty much made her a platinum set for less than 6k and appraised at 11k.   This  is a couple with quite a bit of money, living in a nice area, nice cars, kids in expensive private schools, etc.  her ring is gorgeous, the center diamond is a good size as well.  These are people who got engaged right about the time the husband made partner.  You may not have to go that high if u are savvy enough to find the right ring for a great price. 
This is a very interesting thread, by the way.....
Title: Re: Non-Traditional Financial Decision
Post by: thenextstep on February 17, 2006, 07:18:25 PM
You know maybe I don't belong in this discussion anymore, you all are way more comfortable dropping money on a ring that we were!  My ring was $1K and that was way more than I expected!  I love it and we are happy to be married (got married during grad school, seemed like a good time for us).  That said, it took a while to even pay off that amount for us, so it's a different situation.