Readers' Submissions

My Thai Girlfriend Says I’m Keeneeow With Money

  • Written by Phil Ross
  • June 28th, 2004
  • 9 min read

My Girlfriend Says I'm Keeneeow With Money


Directly or indirectly money is probably the single largest contributing factor to the breakdown of a marriage or relationship no matter what culture or country you find yourself from. When there is a problem of any kind with money, it insidiously manifests itself as a problem in many other hidden ways within the relationship. If you are able to set your relationship up in such a way that problems to do with money are not an issue then you can concentrate on dealing with more important things between you and your partner and ultimately give yourself better long term chances for success in the union. Unfortunately because many Thai bargirls choose to marry for financial reasons, it is often difficult to get around these financial issues. The fact that Thai people in general show a tendency towards fiscal irresponsibility is not particularly helpful either. With this in mind I have written a short submission with some ideas for approaching this sensitive subject with your Thai partner.

Budgeting, Accountability & Responsibility

Generally speaking I think it is better to give your Thai partner some financial independence and responsibility over herself but at the same time set some clear guidelines and parameters whilst at all times maintaining clarity, transparency and above all consistency. You will notice I do not use the word honesty in there because you should never be truly honest with you Thai girl about how much you earn and it is really irrelevant anyway.

In my case I say to my Thai girlfriend Nok (this is her real name!) up front that I will cover all day to day household running expenses including rent, food, cleaning (I want my girlfriend to study hard, I can pay for cleaners) etc. I then came up with the perfect solution for any other expenditure her heart and mind desires. I say to her that I will pay exactly half of anything she wants to buy. She must use the money from her part time job to pay for the other half. I ask her: “honey, what could be more fairer than this?” Every so often she will run out of money and she will ask me to pay for something in its entirety such as a new hairdryer. I will bitch and moan but I will eventually give in. (She does not like it when I moan so she tries to avoid this situation unless she really wants the item now and it is financially beyond her reach). This policy of mine also has a double bonus in that it encourages her to work harder in her job because she is effectively earning double pay for every hour worked. It also helps our financial situation that my girlfriend is from an affluent Chinese Thai family so fortunately payments back to her family are not required.

If your Thai partner is unable to work or is studying full-time then I would suggest you sit down together to negotiate a reasonable weekly allowance. (If your Thai partner is unwilling to work then dump her lazy arse). Stick to the amount you agree to and only buy her extra things on special occasions or as incentives. You may need to make the payments on a daily basis rather than weekly because three days before the end of the week she has probably already blown all her money, or you could try to teach her extra responsibilities by letting her get by for the three days with no money whatsoever. You must also pay for most expenses on any holidays you take. It is important to set the rules together with her and then be consistent and stick to the rules. In this way you give her dignity and respect and she knows where the boundaries lie and she knows the boundaries are not going to change. If you don’t act in a decisive consistent manner then she will not respect you and if she does not respect you then she will nag you and try to play you for a sucker.

Buying Toys

I have never really had too many difficulties in getting Thai women to toe the line when it comes to money and finances. Occasionally they will nag and moan and “spit the dummy” (Australian slang term for a highly emotional tantrum) but generally I know when to hold out and when to give in to their bullshit. One thing I have noticed that throws the delicate balance out of equilibrium is when I make a substantial purchase of a luxury item that is exclusively for my pleasure alone. For example I have been eyeing off the new Sony 5 megapixel digital camera for the last four months waiting for the right opportunity and spare cash to buy the item. When I finally extend my limited funds and make the extravagant purchase, my girlfriend immediately presumes that I have more money than I actually do and that I have been holding out on her. Her logic is that if it was alright to spend obscene amount of money on myself then it should only be fair and right to spend equivalent amounts of money on her. Arguments that her day to day running costs are far greater than mine (hair, nails, clothes, fish at every restraint etc) fall on deaf ears.

The lesson from this story is hide your toys well or concoct very good stories. I am planning to buy a new Longines watch very soon and I am scheming a little white lie for my beloved tilac that goes something like this: “Honey, it was my Grandfather's old watch and he left it to me in his will. I just had to wait a few years before I could get it. You know I can’t really afford an expensive Swiss watch like this don’t you?”

Holidays

Last year I made a fatal error in financial judgment with my Thai girlfriend Nok which I will never repeat. I noticed an advertisement for a very good twin share package deal to Thailand and on the spur of the moment I impulsively purchased the tickets over the phone on my credit card as a surprise for Nok. (It was a reputable travel company so I had no problems with the deal). Our flight departure date was two weeks away and I was very clear with Nok that this was to be a budget holiday as I was financing the whole deal on my credit card. Here is where the problems started; Nok who is usually quite responsible with money decided to have a momentary leave of her senses and went out and got her hair done, nails done, her everything done. She bought umpteen new outfits from bikinis to bras to bracelets to anything else of Western style that she thought she could use to differentiate herself from the regular bar girls considering we were going to spend some of our time around Sukumvit area and some of our time on the islands. Nok then decided she needed to buy every extended member of her family extravagant Western influenced presents because she had not seen them in a long time. (She also insisted on leaving all the kids with considerable amounts of cash too).

The lesson I learnt from this experience is that in hindsight I should have included Nok in the decision making process and entered into an agreement with her whereby I cover the cost of the air tickets, accommodation, food and entertainment expenses but she must pay for all other costs. Most importantly I must give her at least 3 months notice when making this agreement so that she has enough time to save money from her part time job and her fortnightly Austudy payments she receives from the government for her studying (she studies hairdressing and she has become an Australian citizen).

Savings

I have found that no matter what class or background the Thai girl comes from she is really only capable of thinking for the moment and has no ability to save money. Any half hearted attempts she makes to save money is not genuine and is only to please me. Chinese Thais are a little more hard working and fiscally responsible than the regular Thais but they still really have no ability to save money. There is not much more I can say on the subject of savings. There is a word in the Thai language to describe saving money. It is called gep ngern but I think it is rarely used.

Perspective

I am not going to suggest you try to understand the Thai way of thinking in order to try to improve the situation because that would be impossible and besides I don’t think that you have to. I am going to suggest you forget about cultural background and simply look at the situation from the perspective of somebody who is from a poor background, has no savings and no ability to save, has limited practical education and has had no positive role models for guidance.

If a person from that kind of background is brought into your affluent and privileged world they are going to have a lot of difficulty coming to terms with where they stand unless clear parameters are set and adhered to. It will be very difficult for them to understand the concept of the value of money. If one day you wake up and in a fit of generosity you decide to buy your girlfriend an expensive present for no apparent reason but the next day your mortgage payment is due so you are acting extra stingy in dishing out your money, then the mixed signals you are sending your girlfriend are enormously destructive. You know how much money you make and how much you spend on running costs and how much disposable income you have left and where you are heading and where your budget stands overall. Your girlfriend has no understanding or appreciation of these concepts and she just knows that some days the money tree is dropping leaves and other days it is not.

She will not feel inclined to save money or assist you to save money because she will not know if savings are required because she will not know what is around the next corner. By not having any idea of the future, she will not value the present. She will not be able to get a grasp on her financial position with respect to you.

Your girlfriend will do a lot better with some structure to her personal finances and some clearly defined rules to work with. She will be able to budget for herself and in time learn to appreciate the value of money. As I have said all along, I would strongly suggest you set the rules together with her rather than impose them on her. A very important part of the exercise is maintaining her self respect and dignity and encouraging her to work with you rather than against you.

If your girlfriend is a money hungry manipulative scheming devious conniving grave digging slimy rotten low down sneaky deceitful underhanded leach then you’ve only got yourself to blame for choosing the dodgiest girl in the bar and there’s not a lot you can do about it – but good luck anyway.

Stickman’s thoughts:

A lot of really good ideas here. The one thing that is difficult is that Thais REALLY dislike the idea of rules. While we might see these parameters as a fair way to set boundaries, many of them abhor the idea of limits. Money problems in Farang / Thai relationships are huge.