How Can CIA Help You?

Request Consultation
Ask an Advisor
Financial Tools
Request Consultation
Ask an Advisor
Financial Tools
Couple Retires By Mid-30s

Couple Retires By Mid-30s

What’s your definition of “early” retirement? Sixty? Fifty-two?

A California couple recently retired in their mid-30s with $1 million in the bank, according to a story in Forbes magazine. 

That remarkable accomplishment would be difficult for most of us to replicate. I know I couldn’t do it — not with four kids!

The couple, Travis and Amanda, had no kids, were well-paid tech professionals, and already had $350,000 saved when they undertook this project. But their story reinforces several important lessons about building wealth for retirement.

Set a goal. When Travis lost his information systems job in 2012, he quickly realized he really didn’t like working. He preferred the freedom of not working. So, he and Amanda set a goal of amassing enough money to retire as soon as possible. They pegged that number at $1 million. The couple planned to live on 3 percent to 4 percent of their portfolio’s value every year and expected a 7 percent annual growth rate.

Get organized. You can’t map a journey unless you know the starting point. Travis and Amanda put all their financial information into the free budgeting site and did a deep dive analysis of their assets and spending. They also combined several 401(k)s from former employers.

Your job is your biggest asset. Travis went back to work purely to make the couple’s retirement dream come true. He switched jobs three times in three years to obtain salary increases. Travis told Forbes he kept his eyes on the prize, which made a great employee. Amanda, a chemical engineer, stayed in her job and racked up seniority increases. At their earnings peak, the couple was making a combined $200,000.

Prioritize saving. The couple saved as much as 65 percent of their income during the three years it took to amass $1 million. They lived in a rent-controlled $2,200-a-month Oakland, Calif., house (crazy cheap for the Bay Area) and aggressively cut costs by doing things like riding bikes instead of driving, and hanging the laundry outside to save on running the dryer. The two credit their frugal parents for teaching them how to live modestly.

Watch out for fees, penalties and taxes. High fees can be a great return-killer. You should review and question every fee you pay, even on funds inside your 401(k). Amanda and Travis put much of their retirement money in low-cost ETFs and index funds. These paid off nicely, as the couple rode a more than 60 percent increase in the S&P 500 from 2012 until 2015.

The couple planned ahead and was able to avoid the 10 percent IRA early withdrawal penalty by using a Roth IRA conversion ladder. In this forward-looking strategy, they transferred a certain amount of money each year from their traditional IRA to a Roth IRA. Once five years had passed from the initial IRA to Roth conversion, they were able to tap the amount converted to their Roth in an annual laddered sequence and avoid the early withdraw penalty.

Simplify before retirement. As they approached their goal, Amanda and Travis sold much of the stuff in their two-story house.

Watch the outflow in retirement. While most conversations about retirement planning center in saving, you need to think carefully about your post-work spending if you want your nest egg to see you through 20 or more years.

Travis and Amanda are very disciplined about this. They stuck to their plan to spend no more than 4 percent of their portfolio’s current value per year. As a result, they sometimes had to cut back their monthly spending when the market dipped. They did so even while on their long-planned retirement adventure, a driving trip from San Francisco to Costa Rica. They made that journey in their frugal fashion, driving a used Toyota 4Runner that often doubled as their nighttime accommodations. When the couple arrived in Costa Rica, they leased a house for $1,000 a month — about $30 a night. They cooked most of their own meals and weren’t interested in expensive resorts or tourist activities.

Relocate and save. When Amanda and Travis returned to the U.S., they left the super-pricey Bay Area and bought a $270,000 house in Asheville, N.C. They chose the artsy mountain town because the cost of living is relatively low. They also believe it will be easy to rent the house during their coming summer travels.

Travis and Amanda insist they are done working. But they plan to have a family in the future. Their frugality is impressive, but the cost of kids is a game changer for any couple’s finances. So, we’ll see.

Again, this is an extreme example of achieving an early retirement. But if these two 30-somethings can accumulate about $650,000 in three years, surely you can achieve your savings goals in 20 or 30 years by adopting some of these same mindsets and tactics.

Hey, wait. We just learned a financial lesson from two millennials! Will wonders never cease?

Read the original AJC article here.


8 Secrets of Millionaires That Might Surprise You

“Dad, how do people become millionaires?” It’s a question I’ve gotten many times from my kids. I typically listen to financial talk radio while I’m driving, and “millionaire” or “billionaire” verbiage gets thrown around on a daily basis. Naturally, as kids grow up, they begin to learn about money, and their curiosity turns to the relatively abstract subject of what it takes to build wealth.

The late author of “The Millionaire Next Door,” Thomas Stanley of Atlanta, created an institution around the concept of what it takes to become wealthy. He crafted an image around millionaires that removes the private jets and bottles of Cristal Champagne. He found something that I see firsthand every day: There are multiple paths and seemingly endless formulas to build wealth. I’ve seen teachers, janitors, midlevel corporate managers, salespeople, doctors, lawyers, CEOs and small-business owners alike become millionaires, and all without an inheritance.

Their exact path to wealth may look dramatically different from case to case, but here are eight habits that many of them have in common.

1. They set goals.

Millionaires don’t simply expect to make more money; they plan and work toward their financial goals that they’ve outlined. Millionaires have a clear vision of what they want, and take the steps necessary to get there.

2. They’re steady savers and investors.

The majority of rich retirees began making the maximum contribution to their 401(k)s in their 20s or 30s. Remember, every dollar you put into your 401(k) is pre-tax which helps to reduce your overall tax burden and adds to your nest egg. Many companies also offer to match a percentage of your contributions which is essentially an optional bonus.

3. They save their raises.

Many millionaires see a raise as the ability to increase their overall wealth rather than just spend some extra money. While it’s tempting to spend that extra money on a vacation or a new car, I’ve seen that many of these millionaires instead save at least half of their pay raises. Those dollars end up in retirement or brokerage accounts, compounding for a larger return later.

4. They have job stability.

Interestingly enough, millionaires have often stayed with one employer for sometimes 30 or 40 years. Staying with the same company can offer big rewards, including a very nice ending salary, significant pension benefits and hefty 401(k) balances. While we constantly hear about the high rates of employee turnover these days, there are still a number of people who have this kind of job stability, like teachers and other government workers.

5. They’re not afraid to ask for advice.

Most millionaires don’t do their own taxes and aren’t do-it-yourself (DIY) investors. They know what their strengths are, and if their strengths don’t lie in investing, taxes and financial planning, they leave it up to dedicated experts.

6. They’re mortgage free.

A characteristic of the happiest retirees, according to the research for my book, “You Can Retire Sooner Than You Think,” is that they go into retirement without a mortgage or at least know they’ll pay it off within five years. On top of this, the average price of my happiest retirees’ homes was $355,000, proving you don’t need a McMansion to be happy.

7. They don’t indulge in fancy toys.

Millionaires don’t necessarily own BMWs, Mercedes, $3,000 watches, or $5,000 suits. Nearly 40 percent of the “rich” buy their cars used. In fact, many millionaires are conservative with their spending.

8. They have good credit.

The better your FICO score, the lower the interest rates you will pay on your mortgage and car loans. The “rich” do this by carrying low debt loads.

The secrets to becoming a millionaire are not as mysterious as many people think. Small tweaks, goal setting and long-term financial planning can move you closer to that seven-figure number.

Read the original AJC article here.


Robo Advisor vs. Digital Advisor

The robo-advisor: not since John Bogle came up with the idea for Vanguard in 1975 has a new development in the investment industry caused so much controversy and turmoil.

I can appreciate Wealthfront CEO’s position on his new robo competition from Charles Schwab. There are already dozens of media stories that detail the debate. I don’t want to argue about the minutia involved with each robo product offering. After all, every financial services company has a right to offer new products and evolve how they deliver investment services. However, here’s what the entire Robo Industry is missing: advice.

What neither Schwab’s nor Wealthfront’s new robo programs offer is real life advice in the form of a dedicated advisor. Ultimately, I believe both of these companies miss the true value that leveraging technology offers to the investment industry… providing better service to people who are relying on professionals to manage their life savings and offering individualized advice when faced with difficult financial decisions.

Pure robo-firms have lowered the cost to invest, the same way ETFs did back in the early 2000’s. That’s a good thing for investors. They haven’t, however, provided a better solution to deliver personalized advice to an extremely under-served area of the investor marketplace… the mass affluent, or those who have less than $1 million in investable assets.

The real future of investment advice for this group lies somewhere between what the Wealthfront and Vanguards of the world are offering, and what the full service brokerage houses are doing at places like Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley.

Study after study have shown very clearly and explicitly that for most investors the extraordinary push and pull of emotions tied to investment decisions is the real cost (or drag) on earning strong annual compounded returns over time. This is the reason that an option must exist in the middle of the robo and the traditional. That’s why my partners and I developed Wela.

Wela leverages technology to deliver a low-cost investment solution while also providing access to personalized investment advice. We’re a company with real people, using technology to make our jobs easier, and more importantly, to make our clients’ experience better, simpler, and comprehensive.

On the platform, there is no fee charged to our users who simply want to aggregate and monitor their investment accounts, cash accounts, real estate values, mortgage balances, etc. We do, however, charge a fee when one of our users raises their hand and says, “Wela, I need help with this account. Can you help me manage this piece of my financial equation?” Our average Wela client pays between 0.75% – 1%, and we use no proprietary ETFs or mutual funds. We use only what our Investment Committee and technology deem to be the best, low-cost investment solution depending on your specific situation.

Clearly I have a vested interest in spreading the word about Wela, what we deem as a Digital Advisor, not a robo investment solution. There are $20 trillion of investable assets in the US right now, and with such a large pie, there is plenty of room for all types of investment strategies. A portion of that pie will always use the lowest cost provider. In the investment industry, this means the majority of clients will end up talking to a call center when they have questions, and have their portfolios managed by R2D2. On the other end of the spectrum are the investors who will always need a full service financial advisor to consistently consult on all financial matters.

It is my belief that, over time, the biggest slice of the investor pie will likely employ a thoughtful combination of R2D2 and Harrison Ford, embracing technology while also maintaining a human element as they consume financial advice. We believe a company that is able to leverage technology to more efficiently serve a broader group of people with more personalized service is ultimately going to stand the test of time.

Read the original article here


One Secret To Retiring Sooner

As people have really dug into my new book over the last few months, You Can Retire Sooner Than You Think: The Five Money Secrets of the Happiest Retirees, I’ve had a common question come back to me:

“Given the fact that people are already living longer, requiring a longer draw-down period from their nest egg, how do you reconcile people retiring even earlier?”

It reminds me of the quote, “No man on their deathbed says, I wish I had worked more.”

My answer to this may sound a little grim but it’s realistic. While as a whole people in the US are living longer, it doesn’t guarantee that we’ll all live to age 100.

I have known too many wonderful people who spent years planning their retirement, but when they finally reached their “golden years” they sadly passed away unexpectedly just a few short years into their perfectly planned retirement.

Of course none of us knows exactly how long we will be on this earth. If we did know, retirement planning would be much easier. This leaves people with the difficult decision of retiring with the fear of possibly running out of money, or potentially missing out on the ability to enjoy retirement altogether. That’s why I suggest that if you’re looking to retire early, you might want to consider phasing into retirement.

Rather than diving straight into the retirement pool, you can wade in by first moving to part-time work. By continuing to work you may be able to stop saving for the future while also not spending from your savings. Just working part-time will give you more of the free time you’re looking for in retirement, but delays when you have to start using your savings.

Traditional retirement planning is often seen as black and white. Meaning you go from full speed building your nest egg to full speed spending your nest egg. By instead moving to part-time work you’re able to have more freedom with your time while also extending the life of your nest egg.

Think of this phase as your retirement happy hour before the party really starts.

It’s helpful to start planning that move to part-time work a few years out, before actually enacting it. While for many careers it may simply be a matter of reallocating priorities and cutting back, there are careers that do not easily offer part-time work. If that is your position, use the few years beforehand to start thinking through and planning your part-time career move.

Ideally, your part-time work just needs to cover your monthly expenses, so you may be able to switch to a new field. You could even take up a hobby as a part-time gig. If you’re crafty, enjoy woodcarving or have other skills like this, consider opening an online Etsy store. If you love shopping you should consider applying to work at your favorite store. On top of a job you’ll likely get an employee discount. You should be realistic, though. It’s probably pretty tough to get paid to go fishing or to watch college football.

An important happiness pillar from my book’s research stems from retirees participating in many different “core pursuits” also known as hobbies on steroids. If you can find a way to get paid while enjoying your core pursuits, then all the better.

Everyone seems to know someone who died too young to enjoy the money they had diligently socked away for retirement. I’ve personally seen it too many times to ever recommend that anyone stay somewhere they don’t love when they could potentially move to the next phase. Rather than focusing on continuing to build your nest egg, just be sure you’ve reached some of the benchmarks I’ve outlined before, and then get creative with how you ease into retirement.

Remember, it’s five-o’clock somewhere.

Read the original article here.


Why Time Equals Money, But Money May Not Equal Time

I was scrolling through Psychology Today recently when I came upon a post originally by Anne Johnston discussing the relationship between time and money. It began by noting Ben Franklin’s timeless quote from 1748, “Time is money.” She went on to say, though, that while time might equal money, money does not equal time.

This makes sense because money is not a finite resource. In fact, there is virtually no cap on it.

You can always earn more money. You can increase what you get paid, you can work more hours, or even switch to a higher paying career.

Time, on the other hand, is a finite resource. We all have 24 hours in a day and 7 days in a week. Even Pinterest says, “You have the same number of hours in the day as Beyoncé.” Time is truly the great equalizer.

Although our time is worth money, our money is not as valuable as our time. You can never buy more time.

However, while time is more valuable than money, we still need some financial resources in order to really enjoy our time, do the things we dream to do, and live without the fear of running out of money.

Much of this agrees with the research from my recently released bestselling book, You Can Retire Sooner Than You Think – The 5 Money Secrets of the Happiest Retirees.

I learned that the happiest retirees are those who have a significant amount of “core pursuits” which are essentially hobbies on steroids. Most of the happy retirees from my research found their core pursuits while they were still working. Meaning that they found a balance of time and money that helped them reach their goal of being able to retire happily.

These core pursuits were instrumental in motivating these happy retirees to be able to stop working, but first the people reached their financial goals. They had the money saved to be able to retire happily and pursue their passions.

Harvard Business Review recently released a blog post and article about time. They examine how people have a problem with over-committing their time. The blog provides a helpful equation that you can use to see if you’re currently over budgeted on time.

People have always used budgets for money, so it makes perfect sense that time can also be put into a budget to be sure we aren’t “over spending” in either category. Budget your time and try to find your perfect balance of time and money.

I’ve written previously about how important it is for people to find their personal balance of priorities. Having all the time in the world does not guarantee happiness in the same way all the money in the world doesn’t equal happiness. Finding the balance between time and money is absolutely key for happy retirees, and should be for you as well.

I have to remind myself sometimes that my time is valuable. It’s easy to over-commit in the name of growing my business in the pursuit of making my family more financially stable. When I remind myself that my time is valuable, though, I’m able to realign my priorities for that particular day; whether it’s spending some extra time with my family, catching up with an old friend, or maybe it’s spending an extra hour getting ready for Sunday’s radio show on WSB radio so our listeners are able to learn that much more.

Remembering to budget both our time and money appropriately will help us all to not just be a happy retiree, but also a generally happier human being.

Read the original article here.


How To Double Your Money

Everyone says you should invest because it’ll help to grow your money, but let’s back this up a second and look at how it really works. Investing in the stock market yields various returns, and any investor, professional or not, will tell you that the future is never guaranteed. That’s why it’s best to invest money that you most likely will not need for several years.

With that said, one of the best investors of our time, Warren Buffett, several years ago in the aftermath of the financial crisis was quoted saying that investors should expect a return of 6 – 7 percent a year. That’s despite the S&P 500’s long term average of about 10 percent per year over its history (1928 through 2014).

The likelihood of achieving high single digit (to double digit) annual percentage returns is why people invest in the stock market for their retirement. Beyond your emergency fund, why would you put money that you aren’t planning on touching for 10, 20 or 30 years into savings account that can’t even keep up with inflation? According to today’s average money market rate in America is 0.09 percent. With inflation rising at approximately 2 percent year over year, socking away your retirement money into a savings account means you’re actually losing money!

What’s even crazier, there is a new app coming out called Digit that will help people with saving automatically, which is great except that users don’t earn any interest on their savings at all!

As new technology like this continue to pop up, it’s important to think through exactly what you’ll be using your savings for, and to make sure it’s in an account that allows your money to reach its full potential.

By investing money into the stock market your savings should be able to handily beat inflation over time. It seems like a no brainer, right?

Clearly it’s important to invest rather than just letting your money sit in your savings account when possible. If hearing 7 percent doesn’t get you excited, though, you can instead calculate how long it will take for your money to double at this rate.

The ‘Rule of 72′ is a simplified way to determine how long an investment will take to double, given a fixed annual rate of interest. By dividing 72 by the annual rate of return, investors can get a rough estimate of how many years it will take for the initial investment to increase 100 percent.

For example, the rule of 72 states that $1 invested at 10 percent would take 7.2 years ((72/10) = 7.2) to turn into $2.

Now thinking about this in terms of Warren Buffett’s belief that you’ll receive 7.2 percent a year, that would mean if you invested $10,000 at 7.2 percent it would take about 10 years to turn into $20,000 ((72/7.2) = 10).

Okay, now what if you have your $10,000 in a savings account that (let’s be generous) is yielding 1 percent a year? It would take you 72 years to double! ((72/1) = 72). That’s a 60 year difference from investing!

The ‘Rule of 72’ is just math. However, it’s an extremely helpful rule of thumb to put the marathon of investing into perspective. Okay, if I make 6 percent per year how long will it take your $50,000 to reach $100,000? 72 divided by 6 equals 12, so at that rate your money doubles in 12 years.

What about 9 percent per year? 72 divided by 9 equals 8, so at 9 percent per year your money doubles every 8 years. Get it?

If you’re looking to talk with someone, I would suggest heading over to, set up a financial “game plan”, or have a chat with one of the team. Wela offers free financial guidance for your big picture financial goals i.e. Saving for college, paying off your mortgage, allocating your 401k, and hitting certain investment asset goals.

No one gets rich overnight (expect lottery winners), but using the ‘Rule of 72’ will help you wrap your arms around just how long a double might take.

Read the original article here. 


How To Make The Forbes 400

On another fateful car ride to my son’s elementary school, we were listening to Bloomberg Radio, and they started discussing the Forbes list of The Richest Americans. My son asked me, “How did Bill Gates get so rich?”

I told him that Gates had started a company in his garage that grew and grew until it was so large that they decided to “take it public,” meaning that they allowed anyone to buy a “piece” of the company. When they did this, Gates still owned a large portion of the company, and everyone buying their small portions of the company caused his larger portion to increase in value. It increased so much, in fact, that he became the richest man in America (and remains at the top of the list with an estimated net worth of $80 billion).

“Oh, okay. Well who is the second richest person in America?”

“That’s Warren Buffet.”

“How did he get rich?”

Then we got to break down Buffett’s journey to wealth. I told my son how Buffett made his fortune by buying up large portions of companies like the one Bill Gates started.

“Who is the third richest person in America?” 

Finally, I just pulled up the Forbes list of the richest Americans on my iPhone, and I had my son read it to me.

I noticed while we looked over this list that many of the people in America who made this list had built their wealth by participating in the stock market. Most had either started companies, bought companies or were the children of people that had started a business that went public, like Wal-Mart or Campbell’s Soup.

When I told my son this, he asked, “Why don’t you put your company in the stock market?”

I smiled and said, “That’s called an IPO. You have to reach a certain size to be able to do that.”

Using Siri, I then pulled up the stock prices of some well-known Atlanta companies. I explained that these prices reflect the cost to buy one share of each business, Coke, Home Depot, Delta, etc.  I explained that they’re called public shares because anyone can buy them and own a piece of that business.

The point in buying into these companies, becoming an investor, is a way to participate in the company’s future growth. So if you can accumulate enough shares in the right companies or the market in general, and hold those shares for long enough, someday the value can be powerful enough to allow you to “retire early” or maybe even hit the Forbes 400 list.

“You know you don’t have to take a company public or own thousands of shares in a company to make money in the stock market, though,” I said. “You can start with a small amount of money, and that’s what my company Wela tries to people do every day.”

This conversation stuck with me for the rest of the day as I thought about how much of an impact the stock market has had in many people’s lives. I love the fact that the same system that made Bill Gates and Warren Buffett billions of dollars can also help anyone in the world grow their net worth.

With so many options now in the financial industry, it’s easier than ever for people to take advantage of this system. If you’re looking to get started, I would suggest looking at some of my past articles here, and even visiting my company’s website if you’re looking to get started investing.

God bless kids for asking important questions.


Read the original article here.  


Restaurants, Gas Prices Help Ease Unemployment

Have you ever worked in a restaurant? You’re in good company – almost 50 percent of Americans have worked in the restaurant industry at some point in their lives. In 2014, there were around 13.1 million Americans working in the restaurant industry according to, and that number is expected to increase 9.8 percent to 14.4 million by 2023.

To put those numbers in perspective, restaurants employ about 10 percent of the entire U.S. workforce, and it’s no surprise considering that this industry has a low barrier to entry and can be found just about everywhere. Even during the Great Recession, the restaurant industry weathered the downturn better than other sectors and reached pre-recession job levels by 2010.

With restaurant employment steadily on the rise, it’s impossible to not give some credit to the industry for helping the US finally reach weekly jobless claims of just 265,000 for the week ending January 24. That’s the lowest claims level since April 15, 2000 when it was 259,000.

In my view, lower gas prices may continue driving some of this employment expansion in the restaurant industry. CNBC recently released a story with research showing exactly where people are spending their gas savings. The number one area is restaurants. “Our data shows overall spending is up, consistent with our improving economy,” said Kasey Byrne, chief marketing officer for Cardlytics.

Spending at restaurants is growing pretty much across the board, but the restaurants with the most growth weren’t the fancy ones. Instead it was the quick service restaurants, otherwise known as fast food.

While CNBC has labeled fast food the winner, I have to wonder if it’s really fast casual that’s taking the lead. Over the last few years, as the economy has continued to strengthen, we’ve seen people moving away from fast food (McDonald’s) in favor of fast casual (Chipotle). The trend is making waves – McDonald’s recently reported another bad quarter for sales and promptly announced that they were changing CEOs.

There is a lot of speculation right now as to how McDonalds and fast food in general will handle the move from “yummy” to “yoga” (milkshakes to kale smoothies, hearty to healthy, fast to fresh) that Americans seem to be embracing. It seems clear to me, though, that while Americans are saving money at the gas pump, they’re also pumping those savings into higher quality restaurants in their community, and in turn supporting employment.

After all this food talk, I’m now hungry.

Tweet me your favorite restaurant or a place you think I should try @WesMoss365!


Read the original article here.


The Truth About Diamond Rings

These days with social media pictures everywhere, there’s more pressure than ever to buy the perfect diamond ring for your future fiancée. Did you know, though, that diamond rings have only been an engagement staple since the 1930’s?

While engagement and wedding rings have been around for much longer, it was only when De Beers launched a major advertising campaign in 1938 when they began to rise to popularity. De Beers later came up with the famous slogan, “A Diamond Is Forever,” in 1947 which helped diamond rings quickly become commonplace. Before the ad campaign you were more likely to see a bride wearing a sapphire or a different gemstone rather than a diamond because diamonds were considered relatively low-brow and even old-fashioned.

The marketing campaign behind diamonds also created the now common thought that to-be grooms must spend at least two months’ salary on an engagement ring. For many people, that’s a ridiculous amount of money to spend on anything, let alone jewelry!

It’s amazing to me to look back and realize exactly how effective a marketing campaign was at reshaping people’s image and budget for a stone. While a diamond might be forever, I would argue that so is granite, and it’s considerably cheaper.

What’s really important with purchasing an engagement ring is finding a ring that match’s your fiancée’s personal style. Whether it’s getting her a diamond, sapphire or a granite ring, the trick is to first do your homework, and know exactly what you’re looking to buy.

Once you know the direction you’re headed, then it’s time to put a budget to it. While De Beers and Madison Ave. execs will push you to spend two month’s salary, remember that that’s coming from a marketer, and not someone trying to help you get to retirement sooner. Instead, talk with your fiancée or at least think independently about what you think is a realistic and comfortable amount to spend.

If you’re paying for the wedding, thinking about buying a home, or have other looming financial obligations, you don’t want to spend all your savings on one piece of jewelry. Remember you can always upgrade your lady’s ring as an anniversary or holiday gift at a later time. The ring itself won’t be what causes your fiancée to say “yes or no” when you pop the question.

Many rings cost just as much as a car, and you wouldn’t go car shopping without having done your research. If you’re feeling like bucking the De Beer’s standard, and buying something other than a diamond engagement ring, then you need to do some research online for ideas on the price ranges associated with your options.

If you do decide to go in the newly traditional direction of a diamond engagement ring, be sure to learn about the four C’s; cut, carat, color and clarity. You can prioritize the four C’s to actually give you more flexibility when choosing your diamond. For example, if you’re looking to get the biggest carat possible, you might give a lower priority to the clarity to free up some of your budget for a larger rock.

Bottom Line

You should not feel obligated to purchase a diamond or to spend two months’ salary on an engagement ring. These “traditions” were made up by an advertising agency in the 1940s. However, when you’re going to make a large purchase on any kind of engagement ring, you should first do your research and also set a budget. There are several online articles and tools (such as Price Scope) that you can use when researching engagement rings. I would suggest going to and reading some of the articles that we’ve put together on engagement rings, and setting up a savings goal to track when you’re ready to make that big purchase.

Congratulations on taking this big life step!

Read the original article here.


Get Started Today

Request Consultation
Ask an Advisor
Retirement Calculator
Retirement Calculator
Social Security Optimizer