Is it True? Should You Purchase an Engagement Ring That Cost Two Times Your Monthly Salary?

Conventional wisdom has it that a gentleman should purchase an engagement ring for his soon-to-be betrothed that costs two times his monthly salary. And that’s gross salary, not a besotted young man’s take home pay.

So if a young man in his mid-twenties makes $40,000 a year (or $3,333 a month) at two months’ salary, he should purchase a ring valued at $6,666.


It’s wise to remember where that two-months’ salary figure comes from: a diamond company, which has an obvious stake in how much someone should spend on an engagement ring when emotions are high and a young man wants to show his fiancée how much she means to him. reported in May that this “tradition” of two-months’ salary started in the 1930s by De Beers when the company – extremely hard hit by the Great Depression – started connecting diamonds to becoming engaged.

Before the 1930s, young men didn’t normally present their bride-to-be with a diamond ring at their engagement and the practice still hadn’t grown that much even several years later at the start of World War II, when only 10 percent of engagement rings contained diamonds.

De Beers started its campaign, the BBC reports, by suggesting that the equivalent of one months’ salary was an appropriate price to pay for an engagement ring. It grew to two months’ salary in the 1980s.

So are people following this rule today?


Did he spend the equivalent of two months’ gross salary on her engagement ring? Probably!

The Jewelers of America recently reported that people in the U.S. are spending about $4,000 on an engagement ring. Considering that the average salary nationwide in 2012, according to the Social Security Administration, was about $44,000, then the $4K amount is still less than two months of gross income.

But $44,000 is the average salary for everyone in the U.S.: young, old, male or female, blue collar or professional, plastic surgeon or hard-working manager of a fast-food restaurant. So a young man who makes less than $44,000 is spending $4K on an engagement ring, he very well may be spending close to two months – or more – of his gross salary on his fiancée’s engagement ring.

After all, an engaged couple believe they’re in it for life. They’re madly in love. A young man wants to show the gal he’s crazy about how much he loves her. He believes she deserves the best because he’s absolutely, positively the luckiest man in the world! Bottom line: two months’ salary is nothing when it comes to showing her how much he loves her.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Doominici/

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