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Singaporeans going through a broken engagement have a number of things they need to deal with immediately. Apart from the emotional distress, ending an engagement can cause financial complications.
While you probably are not in the mood to deal with these, it's best to address them as soon as you can. Resolving the financial side of your broken engagement can help ease the pain.
Dealing with the Engagement Ring
We cannot advise you on the legal implications if your ex-fiancee decides to keep the ring.
Consult a legal professional in such a situation.
However, there are a number of ways to minimise the financial damage from this.
The most advisable method for dealing with the ring, if it does not distress you, is to keep it and see if you can use it again in the future.
This is because jewellers place a markup on diamond rings that can go as high as 300 per cent.
While there is no universal depreciation rate for jewellery, it is difficult to resell it without taking a loss.
If you do want to get rid of the ring, there are three options:
1. Take It to a Pawn Shop
The first is to take it to a pawn shop, where an appraiser will decide on the correct price.
This is the fastest and most painless way to sell jewellery.
As different appraisers will give you different dollar values, you should visit more than one.
2. Place it On Consignment at a Non-Chain Jewellery Store
The second option is to approach a non-chain jewellery store - not a big brand name like Tiffany's, but a local jeweller.
Many of these stores will keep the ring on consignment, and try to sell it for you. In return, the store expects a cut of the sale as its commission.
There is no "industry price" for this, so be prepared to negotiate aggressively and visit multiple shops.
While you could get more money than from a pawn shop sale, it could take much longer to sell the ring this way.
Note that if the commission you agree to pay the store is too low, they may not be inclined to "push" your ring to potential buyers.
3. Visit an Auction House
The third option is to use an auction house, such as GP Jewellery and Watches Gallery (GPJW).
There is a fee charged to auction your ring (this varies based on the ring and the auction house), but it typically ranges between 15 per cent - 25 per cent of the final sale price.
You may find it difficult to haggle over the price of your former engagement ring, so engage the help of a financially savvy friend or family member.
Dealing with the HDB BTO Flat
If you have already applied for an HDB flat, note that neither you nor your ex can retain the flat.
It has to be disposed of, and the proceeds split between the two of you.
If the flat has gone past the Minimum Occupancy Period (MOP) of five years, the flat can be sold on the open market.
If the flat is not yet past the MOP, then HDB will assess the value of the flat and compensate you accordingly.
In order to get a sense of the general amount you will get, you can check the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) price transaction history (available online), for properties in your area.
The main difference between the two is that, if the flat is sold on the open market, there is a chance to earn more due to Cash Over Valuation (COV).
Some buyers are willing to pay more than the appraised value.
Dealing with Booked Wedding Banquets and Services
Always check the penalties for cancelling your booking, be it with a wedding package or venue.
This is especially true for the wedding dinner, which is often the most costly part.
The good news is that most wedding planners in Singapore (and associated service providers such as wedding photographers) are inclined to be sympathetic.
Along with legal reasons, they will usually only charge you "for work done".
In other words, you will have to pay for any services already rendered, but they will drop the others without further cost.
With regard to the wedding banquet, restaurants will usually impose some form of cancellation fee.
This varies based on the size of the room you booked, as the restaurant will seek to cover the cost of their revenue for the night.
If you want your ex to pay for part of the costs, you may have to resort to legal action (for which we cannot dispense advice).
However, we can tell you that for amounts of S$20,000 or below, you can go to the small claims court.
The lodgement fees you will face are as follows:
For claims above S$10,000 but not exceeding S$20,000, the fee is 3 per cent of the involved sum.
For claims above S$5,000 but not more than S$10,000, the fee is $100.
For claims of S$5,000 or below, the cost is S$50.
If you feel you have been unfairly treated by your ex with regard to the financial difficulties incurred, it could be worth your time to go to small claims.
With regard to handling the cost, consolidate the debt involved.
So if you have used a credit card to pay for the wedding planner, for example, consider taking out a 0 per cent interest balance transfer to pay off the card.
If you are able to spread out repayments over a period of 6 months, a balance transfer will help you avoid high credit card interest rates.
Some Financial Damage After a Broken Engagement is Inevitable
When your engagement ends, do not be so caught up with trying to retrieve every cost - whether out of real financial need or simple revenge - at the risk of spending more.
Remember that time spent arguing, whether with others or in front of a magistrate, is time that can be spent on more productive ventures, including emotional healing.
If you attempt to claim the cost of every last holiday or gift you've given, you will find the cost exceeds any amount of money you could get back.
To put it into an admittedly cold but effective financial perspective: you made a failed investment (the engagement).
Right now, you need to cut your losses and move on, instead of letting things get worse.