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Top 5 Tips For Choosing His Engagement Ring

Top 5 Tips For Choosing His Engagement Ring

Historically, the tradition of an engagement ring is traced back to the ancient Egyptians. The Romans believed that the left ring finger had a vein that was connected to the heart, that’s why we use our left ring finger. The gift of the wedding ring is meant to be a symbol to the world that the woman wearing it is engaged to be married. It wasn’t until the 1940’s and 1950’s that men even started wearing wedding bands, but the days of these bands representing ownership are becoming water under the bridge while more and more couples are choosing relationships that are defying old stereotypes.

As much as women dislike the stereotypes pushed through the patriarch like, “women are meant to be seen and not heard” and “a real woman knows how to cook and raises the children”, many men dislike the stereotypes given to them as well. Things like “men don’t know how to talk about their feelings” or “men don’t listen”.

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Men and women have begun to realize that not only are these stereotypes untrue, but they are also creating a negative, unhealthy space for both people in the relationship. A push for equality in all things is a slow process but equality in new marriages, in life partners, is beginning to start at the onset, with the engagement ring.

Not only are couples shopping for engagement rings for both partners now, but woman are asking men to marry them more and more. If you are one of the brave, assertive woman who wants to pop the question, you know him best but we have some helpful tips to keep in mind.

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1. What are Your Options?

Seeing as how this is a recent change in the usual tradition of things the options available to you are not as vast as the women’s engagement rings. Search different jewelers and check what the options are and then consider your partner’s lifestyle. Would his profession or hobbies require a more durable band or can you go with something a little more gentle? If something durable is necessary a metal band is probably best. If not there are many handmade rings now that are made from various mediums like oak, ebony, and even antler but are not as durable as many of the metals. You can find many of these on Etsy, with a simple “men’s engagement ring” search.

2. Budget

Now that you have an idea of what is out there and the general price range, it is time to be realistic about what you both can afford. If you decide to go with a metal band, you can compare price both in store and online. Keep in mind if it’s online, no one will be making a commission off of your purchase though, so no haggling. Don’t fall for the old “rule” of spending 3 months salary on the engagement ring. That is nonsense. In the end, what matters is that you have found a ring that fits, he likes, and you haven’t put yourself into debt before you have to think about paying for a wedding and a life together.

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3. Religious/Cultural Significance

Is your future hubby religious? If so, is there a scripture of symbol that he would appreciate on the engagement ring? Does He have a strong cultural background? Some ethnic traditions are strongly intertwined in marriage. Some Irish use Claddagh rings that have Celtic script. If your Irishman is close to his ethnic roots, this might be very meaningful to him. Talk to your future partner and find out is something religious or culturally significant would add the extra personalization and originality to the engagement ring.

4. Evaluate His Style

Is he the type of man who already wears rings? If so, check out the style width and size of those rings and use them as a starting point. Does he like/wear gold or silver more often? Is he the kind of man who really just naturally dislikes rings. Some men have never worn jewelry and wearing ring is not something they are excited about, maybe think of an alternative, like putting the ring on a chain to be worn around the neck. Some couples have chosen to skip the rings altogether. Doing things like creating an adventure fund or putting a down payment on a house.

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Another thing to consider are allergies. There are many people who have allergies to certain metals. There are also many organic rings now made with things like antler or different woods which may be perfect for someone who loves hunting but a romance killer, or for someone who is allergic to oak or silver.

5. Surprise Surprise

Once you have decided this is what you want to do and found the perfect ring, the most equally exciting and stressful part of the experience is next, the proposal. Does your partner enjoy surprises? If so coming up with something elaborate involving friends and family might be the way to go. If not, something much more intimate might be best if your partner is on the timid/shy side of things.

There are many engagement ring boxes now that can also be custom made and will do most of your requests. This is a once in a lifetime chance to declare your love in a way only you can. You know your partner best, take your time, enjoy the process, and good luck!

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Last Updated on June 6, 2019

The Average Retirement Savings and How to Save Wisely

The Average Retirement Savings and How to Save Wisely

Are you on track for retirement?

If not, don’t worry, I’m not sure either. I save each month and hope for the best.

Fortunately, I’m at an age where most people don’t save so I’m ahead of the curve.

But, what if you aren’t in your 20s? What if you’re near retirement and are looking to gauge where you stand?

If so, keep reading. Here’s how to prepare for retirement and save wisely during the process.

What Does the Average American Have Saved for Retirement?

Saving for retirement is tricky.

Tell someone straight out of college to save $10k a year for retirement and it’ll be next to impossible.

Make the same request to someone decades older and they’d be more likely to be able to save this amount. But, a 20-year old college student can be “financially ahead” of someone saving more than them. Why?

Age matters in your financial journey. The younger you are, the more time you have to save and put compound interest to work. As you get older and have more saving power, you’d have less time to put compound interest to work.

Here are the average savings Americans hold by age bracket:

20’s – $16,000

During this stage, most people are paying loans and moving up the corporate ladder. Your best bet during this stage is to focus on eliminating debt and increasing your income. Don’t focus only on getting a high-paying job neither.

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Instead, focus on learning via Podcasts, reading books, and taking specialized courses. Doing this will make you more valuable and give you more career options.

30’s – $45,000

At this stage, you’ve hopefully escaped your entry-level salary and work at a career you enjoy. Your earning power has increased but you now have more obligations. For example, marriage, kids, and a mortgage.

Set a plan to pay off all your debt and focus on eliminating unnecessary expenses. Leverage financial tools like Personal Capital to ensure you’re on track for retirement.

40’s – $63,000

This is the stage where you’re at the prime of your career. Top financial institutions recommend you have at least 2 to 4 times your salary saved up. If you’re falling behind, start maxing out your 401K and Roth IRA accounts.

50’s – $115,000

During your fifties, you’re close to retirement but still, have time to save. You may be helping your kids pay college tuition and other expenses. Since you’re at the peak of your earning power, max out all your retirement accounts.

60’s – $172,000

By this point, you should have about eight times your salary saved up. If not, you’ll depend primarily on social security benefits averaging $1400 per month. Max out all your retirement options as much as possible before retiring.

Ways to Save Money on a Tight Budget

The sad reality is that most Americans aren’t saving enough for retirement.

Even high-earning power isn’t enough to secure one’s financial future. You need to have the discipline to save for retirement while time is in your favor. Don’t wait for you to have a high salary to save, start with having a small budget.

First, get a clear picture of where you stand. Write down a list of “needs” and “wants.” For example, Netflix and Amazon Prime are “wants” and a “cell-phone” is a need.

Use tools like Personal Capital to analyze your spending patterns. Personal Capital allows you to add all your financial data in one place–making it a powerful option to gauge where you stand.

Once you know all your expenses, organize them from highest to lowest expense. When you can’t cut more expenses, call your service providers to negotiate a lower price. If you’re not good at negotiating, use services like Trimm to lower your monthly expenses.

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How to Save Money Each Month

By this point, you know the average amount of money you should have saved for retirement based on your age.

But, breaking this down into monthly goals can be challenging. Here are some rule of thumbs to follow:

Aim to contribute 10%–15% of your salary each paycheck. Review your progress each week.

Why so often? The reality is that life gets in our way and you will have many financial setbacks. Your goal isn’t to be perfect but to get back on track instead.

Reviewing your finances weekly lets you know where you stand with your retirement. This doesn’t have to be a long process either. All it takes is login in Personal Capital to view your net worth and check how much you have saved for retirement.

Turn saving into a game and aim to save more each month. It will get challenging but you’ll get creative and find more ways to save.

Top Money Saving Challenge Tips

To prepare for your financial future and not be another statistic you need to be different.

How?

By adopting new habits that’ll help you become a saving machine. Here are some ways you can save more:

Automatically Contribute Towards Retirement

If you’re working for a company, you can automatically contribute towards your 401k. If you’re not currently contributing more than 10%, make this your goal. Contribute 1% more today and automatically increase this amount a year from now.

Odds are that you’re not going to be negatively affected by contributing 1% more. Many times we spend our money on things we don’t need. Contributing more towards retirement is a great way to secure your financial future.

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Use the Right Tools to Know Where You Stand

Once you’re contributing more towards your retirement accounts, gauge your progress. Make use of finance tracking apps to help you view the big picture of your retirement.

When I’d first signed up for the app Personal Capital, I didn’t know I had a negative net worth. Despite saving thousands of dollars, my debt brought my net worth to the negative. Knowing this motivated me to save more and spend less.

Now, I have a positive net worth. But, it was because I was able to view the big picture using the app. Find out what your net worth is using a finance tracking app and you may surprise yourself.

Bring in Experts to View Your Blind Spots

If you have too little or too much money saved, you should consider hiring financial experts.

Why?

You may need someone to hold you accountable to help you reach your financial goals. Or, you may need help managing your money as effective as possible.

Regardless of the reason, getting help may help improve your financial situation.

Before you hire an expert, find out which areas you need help the most. For example, if you’re constantly overspending, find a debt counselor. If you’re struggling with choosing the best investment options, hire a financial advisor.

Speed up Your Retirement Contribution

After learning how to manage your money well, the next best thing is to earn a higher income.

You’re capped at how much you can save but not much you can earn. Even if your employer isn’t giving you a promotion, you can still take charge of your financial future. How?

By starting a side-business.

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This will be something you’d work on after you’ve finished your day job. Once you start earning income from your side-business, you’ll be financially better off.

The best part is the more work you put into your side-business,[1] the more potential it has to earn more money.

So start a side-business in an area you’re familiar with. For example, if you enjoy writing, do freelance writing for small e-commerce businesses.

Once you’re earning a higher income, you can contribute more towards your retirement. Don’t wait for the right opportunity to secure your financial future, create one.

Reach Financial Freedom with Confidence

What if you were able to retire tomorrow with no problem, all because you’d have enough money saved up and little to no debt left to pay off? How would you feel?

My guess is that you’d feel happy and relieved.

Most Americans are falling behind their retirement goals for many reasons. They’re not prepared, they carry bad money-habits and are thinking short-term.

For you to retire successfully, you need to work backward and adopt better habits. Contribute more towards your 401K and focus on growing your income.

If you do, you’ll save money and pay debt faster.

Don’t beat yourself up if you’re behind your retirement goals. Take the first step today towards a brighter financial future. Isn’t retirement worth the hard work and sacrifice to be at peace?

Featured photo credit: Huy Phan via unsplash.com

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