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Money worries take the shine off proposing

Press release: 09/02/2012

  • British men now spend three weeks' pay on a ring when proposing

  • Money worries force one in eight (13%) engaged men to cut what they spend on a ring

  • Four in ten (38%) men won't tell their partner how much their engagement ring cost

  • Two thirds (68%) of Brits are unaware of their ring's true value

British men are breaking the rules of engagement and refusing to follow the time honoured tradition of spending between one and three month's salary on an engagement ring for their betrothed, research from LV= home insurance reveals.

The average man now spends the equivalent of three weeks' pay on a ring when they propose with nearly two thirds (59%) of grooms-to-be spending less than a month's wages. Among those men who are currently engaged and have paid for their partner's engagement ring, one in eight (13%) say financial concerns constrained the amount of money they spent and they admit they had to cut back as a result.

In contrast to the male perspective, women believe that one month's salary is the bare minimum amount a man should spend on a ring when proposing with one in twenty (4%) saying “the bigger the diamond, the better". Yet while men are economising on what they spend on a ring, the research finds that they are also stretching the truth to their fiancées. Less than four in ten men (38%) tell their partner what they've actually spent on an engagement ring, and over 3% of men admit that they lied to their partner and exaggerated the real price.

Of those women surveyed, less than half (45%) say they know exactly how much their ring is worth, with the average ring being valued by the wearer at £1,231. This estimate may actually be far lower than the truth as the price of precious metals and diamonds has risen enormously over the past year. The cost of diamonds has risen by 9% on average over the past twelve months and by 44% in the past five years [1], yet gold has risen by almost a third (32%) over the past year [2] and by 511% in the past decade [3]. This means that the real value of a ring bought in the past few years will have changed substantially from its original price and could be worth a great deal more.

The research also revealed that almost one in 20 (4%) engagement rings is lost or stolen, yet few people choose to have their engagement ring professionally valued. Two thirds (68%) have never had their ring valued and would not be insured for the full value of the ring if they needed to make an insurance claim. LV= is warning couples to take a practical approach to romance and protect their investment, by insuring all jewellery, having regular ring valuations and updating home contents insurance after becoming engaged.

John O'Roarke, managing director of LV= home insurance, said: "Whether splashing out on a diamond or buying on a budget, an engagement ring is always a valued possession, so it's really important that couples protect their investment. What many couples may not realise is that the price of diamonds and precious metals has increased dramatically recently and they may find themselves out of pocket if the ring is lost or stolen. Losing something as sentimental as an engagement ring is upsetting in itself but even worse if it is not insured - so today we're calling on couples to have their ring valued regularly to ensure they're fully protected."

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ICM interviewed a sample of 2003 British adults aged 18+ between 29th-31st June 2011. Results were weighted to be nationally representative. ICM is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

About LV

LV= employs 5,000 people and serves over five million customers with a range of financial products. We are the UK’s largest friendly society and a leading financial mutual.

When we started in 1843 our goal was to give financial security to more than just a privileged few and for many decades we were most commonly associated with providing a method of saving to people of modest means. Today we follow a similar purpose, helping people to protect and provide for the things they love, although on a much larger scale and through a wide range of financial services including insurance, investment and retirement products.

We offer our services direct to consumers, as well as through IFAs and brokers, and through strategic partnerships with organisations such as ASDA, Nationwide Building Society and a range of trades unions.

LVFS is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority, register number 110035. LVFS is a member of the ABI, the AFM and ILAG. Registered address: County Gates, Bournemouth BH1 2NF.

  1. According to the Diamond Prices Index data based on the average retail price per carat of loose diamonds at 30 January 2012.

  2. According to data based on gold prices in US dollars between 2 February 2011 and 2 February 2012.

  3. According to data based on gold prices in US dollars between 2 February 2011 and 2 February 2002.