Deciding if you should sell your ring—the essence of bittersweet sentimentality isn’t an easy decision. I get it, which is why my engagement and wedding rings sat in a drawer for about 8 years before I sold them.
I ended up selling my rings during a time when I felt like I needed extra money, and at that point, although I thought they were gorgeous rings and it was sad to part with them, I had reached a point where I became disconnected to them. In fact, when I finally physically parted with my rings, it felt almost liberating to have them out of my house and out of my life.
I realized later that the karma of keeping my rings might have been holding me back in a way from fully moving on after divorce. In other words, selling my ring was just another step further from my past and a step closer to acceptance, peace and living my best life.
I always tell people that they should wait as long as they want to sell their rings, so that they can naturally get to the same point I did, and that there will be no regrets.
But recently, I heard a story that changed my mindset!!
The story was about a woman who contacted Judy Herbst, who is the Director of Marketing and PR for Worthy.com, a New York City based company that empowers women and helps them sell their jewelry via a unique consumer to business online auction marketplace. FYI, Worthy has been a partner of Divorced Girl Smiling for two years, so I know Judy well.
So, the woman called Judy because she wanted to sell her ring to help pay for her daughter’s college education. The woman had been divorced for 15 years (since her daughter was 3 years old) and the price she hoped to get for the ring was $10,000. She ended up selling the ring via Worthy and is happy about how the process went, and what she ended up walking away with.
But here’s the part that got me. This woman sold the ring to help pay for her daughter’s college. Coincidentally, my son is looking at colleges right now, so I know what the tuition costs at many schools across the country. Based on what I know, the $10,000 will probably cover a semester—in some cases, not even.
I’m not saying that the woman shouldn’t have sold the ring. Every bit helps, and good for her for a selfless act that will help her daughter’s education. But, what Judy brought to my attention is, had this woman sold her ring 15 years ago, gotten the $10,000, and invested it with a Wealth Management Advisor, what would have happened?
Let’s take into account the market performance history. From 1957-2018, the average S & P annual return is 8%. Now, while no one can invest in an index, (which is what the S & P is) the index represents the value of the 500 largest corporations, and it often used as a quick measure of the stock market and economy.
So, had this woman sold the ring 15 years ago, and made an average of 8% per year, she might now have $31,721. Had she sold the ring 10 years ago, she might have $21,589. And, even if she would have sold the ring 5 years ago, she would have $14,693. Remember, this is all based on an 8% annual return compounded; some years the returns may be higher and some years they may be lower.
The thing is, engagement rings and other precious stones don’t appreciate in value. The value stays the same—
Unless you sell it and invest.
Historically speaking, putting money under management (letting a professional invest it for you in stocks, bonds and other opportunities) pays off in the long run. Sure, the value of a financial portfolio fluctuates from time to time (sometimes so much it makes us jittery) but if you just leave it and if you are committed to keeping it in the account for several years, historically speaking, you will likely come out ahead.
Of course, there is never a guarantee with investing money, and past performance does not always guarantee future returns. But, when we look at the past 100 years of the market’s history, investors almost always come out ahead. But that means not pulling out the money when the market is down.
Additionally, you can choose to invest your money into safer, more conservative investments. You won’t make as high of a return, but you take on less risk. A good financial planner will help you with these decisions, by looking at your entire financial picture, which includes your risk tolerance, age, income, lifestyle, and several other factors.
The bottom line is, there are lots of reasons people decide to sell their rings after divorce. I wrote a whole article on the subject, which included what 35 women did with the money they got from selling their rings. Examples include a woman who donated it to a woman’s shelter, a woman who got breast implants, and a woman who bought a new set of tires.
But I truly think selling your ring to invest the money into the market is an amazing reason to sell it. I know it’s hard. I know it’s emotional. I’d even say it might be heartbreaking. But if you think about what you are really doing, think of it this way: you are taking something bad that happened (your divorce) and turning it into gold (almost literally!) You’re doing something wonderful and meaningful for your child with an object you wore on your finger, most likely during the time your child was conceived. And now you are helping that child, and that is a beautiful thing.
Remember that a ring is only a material item. The beautiful memories you have of being a young bride in love don’t come from saving your ring. Those memories live in your heart and you never have to sell those.
In closing, I’d like to recommend two resources I completely trust for selling your ring and investing your money:
I wish you all the best!