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?
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.
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:
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.
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?
Because the majority of us show and receive love through material possessions.
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.
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.
Because it means so much to us! Sometimes it’s monetary and others it’s emotional/sentimental.
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:
Mark 10: 17-25
“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.
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