Dear Lulu Jeh,
I’m going to keep it short and blunt: I can’t help comparing my life with everyone else’s around me. As my friends are getting engaged one after another, I’ve been paying way too much attention to how lavish their proposal was, and how big that diamond is on their ring.
This topic of course comes up once in a while when I talk to my partner of 4 years. He is very practical with his finances and has suggested a few times that we can go low-key with our future wedding, so the money can go somewhere more important. Which means: a modest ring, small dinner celebration and not so much razzle-dazzle.
I know with the high property prices and inflation rates in Hong Kong, it’s not realistic to follow Western standards — but don’t they have a general rule of thumb that a ring should cost three months’ salary? I don’t think my partner is even thinking close to that range. Even though I agree it’s a wise financial decision, from an emotional standpoint I still hope to wear a shiny diamond on par with my friends’.
How should I cope with this wish so materialistic and vain? — Bling
Don’t beat yourself down on your wishes, it’s so normal for us to want nice things! Especially when it’s something so special as an engagement ring.
It’s already a good start that you realize how a sized down wedding can benefit the household in the long run, so the next thing for you to consider is how much you can set aside to get the perfect diamond ring of your dreams.
If it’s the number of carat that matters to you, definitely look into lab-grown diamonds for gleaming good deals. Identical with your regular mined diamonds in terms of physical composition, lab-grown diamonds are way more moderately priced due to their controlled production environment.
Also look at the bright side: many couples upgrade their rings and renew their vows as their bond strengthens, which will give you more time to prepare financially for a bigger and better replacement several years down the line. My advice will be not to focus so much on the present and look forward to the future.