Would You Sell Your Wedding Ring – Part 2

And The Votes Are In!

For those of you that missed it, last week I wrote a rather polarizing post, Should I Sell My Wife’s Wedding Ring?, and as expected there were some mixed emotions from the readers.

How Did the Votes Talley Up?

Wedding ring debate

I will admit that I was EXTREMELY shocked at the number of people that voted “YES!” Frankly, it was pretty impressive to see some of the discipline it appears the readers and the other financial bloggers have.

So Why Did I Write It & Was I Serious?

After a couple of the comments revealed how appalled some were at my consideration of selling the ring, I realized I had to write this follow-up post to explain my rationale.

In honesty, the thought of selling the ring did cross my mind for all of 5 minutes. When my wife told me about the appraisal we jokingly acknowledged that the ring was worth quite a bit more than our beater car and it would be nice to sell it and buy a new (to us) one.

Beyond that though the only serious conversation Toots – one reader asked me if she knows I call her that and the answer is YES! 🙂 – and I had about selling the ring was on a much deeper level than paying off debt (which I’ll get to in a second).

The 3 Primary Reasons I Wrote the Post:

    1. Are Men Different Than Women?

    In light of the fact that my mother-in-law had recently been into town to drop off my wife’s old childhood/high school belongings, I’ve recently realized how different my wife and I are when it comes to sentimental items.

    So, I thought it would be interesting to test the reactions from men and women on this topic and to see if others are similarly different.

    THE RESULTS WERE MUCH OF WHAT I EXPECTED.

    wedding ring breakdown

    77% of women that voted, voted “NO!” I will acknowledge that I was quite surprised by the 6 “YES” votes from the ladies – I think that’s pretty cool.

    On the YES! side I certainly assumed I would see far more men go that route, HOWEVER, only 9 men voted yes while over half (57%) voted “NO!”.

    I think it’s fun to look into the human mind and emotions, and again, I wasn’t too shocked by the breakdown.

    With that said, I still wonder about the guys that voted “NO” – that number was WAY higher than I expected. I think it would be interesting for them to answer again under the assumption their wives had no attachment to the ring. Nearly HALF of the men that voted “NO” mentioned emotional attachment on the wife’s end as their reasoning.

    Maybe the votes would stay the same but I don’t think they would. Who knows…

    2. A Look at Human Psychology – The Emotions Behind Our Spending Habits & Material Possessions

    Having been a financial coach for a couple of years, one of the biggest traps I see people fall into is emotional spending.

    We will do ANYTHING to justify our stupid financial decisions as long as it means enough to us.

    I see parents spend money they don’t have on their children for a myriad of reasons, and they nearly always come back to an emotional trap that they’ve somehow justified to be okay in their minds.

    Why is there pressure to buy everybody a gift at Christmas? Why can’t you skip little Bobby Joe’s birthday present and not feel like you somehow let them down?

    Why have I had clients that budget $300/month for gifts (includes saving for Christmas, birthdays, etc) when they were barely making it?

    Why do you think it’s important to
    the MAJORITY of men to spend a decent amount of
    money on an engagement or wedding ring?

    Because the majority of us show and receive love through material possessions.

    ring post

    Picture by Ohmmy3d

    It is what we have become – whether or not we’re willing to understand that and accept it is an entirely different issue. Of course there are some of us that have overcome SOME ‘patterns of our world’ but for the majority of us, our lives are clearly defined by a pursuit of material things.

    So What Makes the Wedding Ring So Polarizing?

    There are few things in each of our lives that we hold dear to our hearts.

    Sure, some people have more than others, but each person generally has a few things that they’re simply not willing to give up.

    Why?

    Because it means so much to us! Sometimes it’s monetary and others it’s emotional/sentimental.

    However, our inability to separate emotion from possessions (and buying them)
    is the reason most of us struggle (or have struggled) with money.

    Jeremy from Modest Money commented on the post and it stood out to me: “If she is more than willing to take the logical approach, it (selling the ring) could be a smart financial decision.”

    Americans’ problem is that we don’t use logic; we make 70-80% of our decisions based on emotion.

    3. Worldly View of Money

    I mentioned before that my wife and I had a 5 minute conversation about selling the ring and what extended beyond that was a more in-depth conversation.

    Toots and I are no different than anybody else reading this post – we have our flaws. One of them being that we place too much value in some material possessions and one of those possessions just happens to be her wedding ring. Just like most of the people that voted “NO!”, the ring is a deeply sentimental item and I wouldn’t want to get rid of it unless we had to.

    However, understanding our DESIRE for material possessions, and realizing we consistently place comfort, our personal goals/desires, and stuff at a greater priority over He who deserves it, I challenged my wife with a question:

    If we had to get rid of the ring to survive or if God wanted us to get rid of it, would we do it?

    Of course our answer was “YES!”

    Furthermore, understanding that I am extremely wealthy (as we all are) from a worldly perspective, I am constantly reminded of two passages from the Bible:

    Romans 12:2

    Do not conform to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

    Mark 10: 17-25

    As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him.
    “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

    “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’”

    “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”

    Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have
    and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

    At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.

    Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”

    The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

    This passage from Mark is a clear warning to us about placing too much importance on monetary and material possessions.

    I think Jeremiah from Finance Yoga also made a very important comment: “After all, nothing is truly ours anyway, just temporarily in our possession. God gives us what we have and expects us to be good stewards with it.”

    At the end of the day the ring is just a piece of metal. Nothing more. Our emotions and where our values lie just happen to get in our way of understanding that.

About the Author

By , on Apr 20, 2012
Andy Tenton
Andy is a 30-something New Yorker who turned his financial life around. He took charge of his finances, got out of debt, and is now working his way toward financial success. He is the publisher of WorkSaveLive.com.

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{19 Comments}

  1. Franie Fargo says:

    Just because the appraised value went up 60% does not really mean anything. If you bought a 1,000 ring if you go to hock it you may get 200 for it, if you are lucky. See how much you can really get for the ring then consider selling.

  2. eemusings says:

    If it was us, I don’t think I would have the final say, despite being the woman! My engagement ring is a family heirloom passed down from his grandma, and I wouldn’t presume to even bring up the topic myself.

  3. Great post, Andy. We have an unhealthy attachment to things now that cause us to react strongly when selling a wedding ring is suggested.

  4. Katie says:

    I don’t get sentimental attachments to material possessions for myself. But when it comes to my kids if I seem something I think that they will love, then I feel like I need to get it for them. It’s a habit I need to break but it’s just so hard to do.

  5. JAMES says:

    We were born with no material possessions and we will die with no material possessions. Whatever we own right now is simply a distraction

    • SB @ FPR says:

      We make our living worth while by creating values and emotions. If there’s no emotion, no values and no principles what’s in life? Why are you working? leave work and just make enough to live , why blogging? Leave blogging would you die with your blog?

  6. Michelle says:

    We have friends who make decent money, but the husband bought his fiance a cubic zirconia ring and she knew it and was completely okay with that. While I feel like a huge brat for saying it….I have to be honest. That’s so not cool with me! I understand their reasoning was due to the fact that diamonds are often not acquired under the best circumstances, so why not buy her a nice sapphire or ruby instead? Geez…I’m such a brat! 😉

  7. Shilpan says:

    Nice post Andy. This proves that we are still emotionally driven — no matter how disciplined we are financially — when it comes to important events or things in our lives. You’ve done wonderful job of writing initial post, and then writing a follow-up post to reveal hard facts.

  8. I’m one of the men who would say “no” in our case. But it’s a bit different since the ring I bought wasn’t too expensive and it probably be another 12-15 years before our current car is worth less than it. It’s definitely not the most important thing but it’s worth more to us than the cash value.

    I wonder if anyone would rent a “show” ring during their engagement so they get to carry it around for a while without having to pay full price?

  9. I may be in the minority here, but things are things, and they can always be replaced.

  10. Modest Money says:

    Glad to hear that you weren’t seriously considering selling your wife’s wedding ring. At first I thought it was a completely serious question, but in hindsight I should’ve known better. It is interesting to see the breakdown of the votes like this. I do wonder how many people would actually act the same way they voted. It’s one thing to agree with someone’s idea for their own actions, but a completely different thing to do that same thing yourself. I think most people would hold onto that ring unless it became absolutely necessary to part with it.

  11. Great follow up article. I was curious to see how people voted. FYI I call my wife toots also. Not her favorite name in the world though 🙂

  12. Alexm says:

    One thing to keep in mind… an appraisal, especially for insurance purpose is higher than what someone who would buy the ring from you would offer. Many get duped into those “Sell your old gold for cash” pitches. But you might as well hand out your gold to friends and relatives and be repaid with their good will. Selling jewelry is rarely a winning proposition.

    But I do so agree with your stance on stuff! I am admittedly a jewelry lover who has made real attempts to curb the habit. I never buy a piece based on “investment” or what it will be worth. You will hardly ever recoup the price. Which is why it is worth it to hold on to sentimental pieces. IMO, what is foolish is to be sucked into sentiment and sales ploy to spend more than you can afford when you are buying the pieces.

  13. AverageJoe says:

    Very thoughtful wrap-up, Andy! it’s interesting to see how a “symbol” such as a ring would have such polarizing votes for and against selling.

    But were all the votes about selling or keeping? It seems some of the votes were against “you” selling when it’s your wife’s ring.

    • Andy says:

      This is a good point AJ and I’ll simply tell how I perceived those types of responses/comments: when somebody responds in such a manner then there is 0 doubt in my mind that they have a high emotional connection to THEIR ring (obviously as that person views it as THEIRS and not “ours”). With that type of emotional attachment I have no doubt they’d be unwilling to sell their ring. The people that weren’t as emotionally attached prefaced their answer with, ‘well, it’s your wife’s decision, BUT I’d keep/sell…’

      Most of them had the qualifying statement and still gave an answer, however there were a few that just got mad and stated “it’s hers.”

      Depending on the comment though I didn’t count those votes. There were over 50 comments and I received 4 different emails about the topic…so I didn’t count everybody if they didn’t leave a clear answer.

  14. I firmly believe that it’s emotional attachments that make us work harder, more than any logical inducement. So if the love for a diamond ring or any other material possession will help you work harder to achieve your goals, I’m all for it. Of course, you gotta make sure your goals are the right ones, however you define it.

  15. Great followup, I thought the breakdown was very interesting! And I laughed at the nickname you have for your wife 🙂

  16. To be honest I’ve never really been one of those people who is attached to items. But I’m still not sure about the wedding ring thing. I do agree though, that the emotion behind the item is the important thing.

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