Good news for many of the soon-to-be-grooms out there! It turns out that money doesn't buy love, and you don't need to go broke buying your fiancée's ring bling.
As it turns out, spending less than $2,000 on an engagement ring and less than $10,000 on a wedding leads to longer, perhaps happier marriages, according to the study "'A Diamond is Forever' and Other Fairy Tales: The Relationship between Wedding Expenses and Marriage Duration" by Emory professors Andrew M. Francis and Hugo M. Mialon.
Francis and Mialon collected the results from an online survey of more than 3,000 people, and even after controlling for demographic and relationship characteristics, they found an inverse association between money spent on engagement rings and weddings and the duration of marriages. The less money people spent, the longer their marriages were.
The average cost of an engagement ring is $4,000, no matter what Kim Kardashian or De Beers ads tell you, but going under-budget may benefit you in the long-term. According to this survey, spending between $2,000 to $4,000 is associated with a 1.3 times greater chance of divorce compared to spending between $500-2,000. Just don't avoid the ring all together – those who bypassed engagement rings had higher divorce risks, too.
The same rule applies for your big day. The risk of divorce in couples spending more than $20,000 on their wedding is 3.5 times more than the risk of divorce for couples spending between $5,000 and $10,000 on a wedding. With weddings averaging about $29,858, per theknot.com, it's not surprising that 50 percent of marriages end in divorce.
So what gives? The experts speculate that spending a lot of money, especially money that you don't really have to spend, can cause what they call "wedding-related debt stress." Because financial or economic stress is a known cause of divorce, starting your marriage with money troubles may intensify other lingering issues, too.
But, there is a silver lining. Having all your friends and family present at a large event didn't seem to have a negative effect on marriage, and neither did going on a honeymoon, no matter how much your post-nuptial trip costs.
But guys, be sure to check with your fiancée before downsizing her engagement ring. Keeping your wife-to-be in good spirits is important before you walk down the aisle. Remember, happy wife, happy life!
-- Mara Betsch
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