Careful, Cultural Norms can destroy your wealth and happiness

The story attached is a beautiful tale of real America. My own personal engagement story is the same. My wife and I pay cash for all of our purchases and through many sacrifices, we have absolutely no debt. I noticed that 100% of bank owned repossessed homes, once had a mortgage. So, no mortgage means no threat of the bank taking my home away from my family. That being said, our purchases are super modest because I am in no way a millionaire; I paid $400 for my wife's engagement ring at a pawn shop and my stainless steel ring was bought at Walmart for $25. Our time and money is spent on date nights, traveling together, books we read together and not working to death to support a debt driven lifestyle. We are happy. And we receive much pressure from other people with a lower net worth due to debt telling us that we should succumb to buying a better ring and wedding band blah, blah. Expensive crap is not indicative of a successful marriage. My grandparents had rings worth less than $50 USD and their marriage lasted almost 60 years before they were called home. My grandparents also lived a debt free lifestyle, a long happy life, had little possessions and a well funded retirement. I plan to do the same.

I hope the story below plants a seed that life doesn't have to be as difficult as we make it.

"My husband doesn't have a lot, neither of us do," the 22-year-old, who is in school to become a teacher, wrote in the post. "We scrape and scrape to pay bills and put food in our bellies, but after almost 2 years of dating we decided that we couldn't wait anymore, so we didn't. Ariel continued to explain that she told her then boyfriend, Quinn McRae, that she didn't need a ring and that all she wanted to do was "marry my best friend." However, he insisted on a ring, and together the two picked out a $130 sterling silver and cubic zirconia set from Pandora Jewelry.




During the special occasion, a sales associate at the jewelry store made a comment that shocked the happy couple. "Y'all can you believe that some men get these as engagement rings? How pathetic," the clerk said.
In the post, Ariel describes how she watched Quinn's "face fall" in reaction to the comment. "He already felt like a failure, asking me again and again 'Are you sure you'll be happy with these? Are you sure this is okay?'" Ariel wrote. "He was so upset at the idea of not making me happy enough and of me not wanting to marry him because my rings didn't cost enough money or weren't flashy enough."

"I love that he takes everything with a grain of salt. He's super funny," McRae told TODAY about her husband. "That's one of the reasons I fell for him in the first place." (photo courtesy Ariel McRae)

The 22-year-old quickly defended her soon-to-be-husband and their love. "It isn't the ring that matters, it is the love that goes into buying one that is," she wrote, also telling TODAY she doesn't think the clerk intentionally meant to be rude.
One week later, on the second anniversary of the day they met, the couple eloped in a Tennessee courthouse. "Y'all I would have gotten married to this man if it had been a 25¢ gum ball machine ring," Ariel explained in the post. 






Related: Wealth is behavior driven.

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