Thai women and money are a sensitive topic for many foreigners and is a subject often misunderstood by people that have little experience with Thai culture or life in Thailand in general. We have written this article to try and offer guidance and clear up misconceptions about supporting a Thai girlfriend.
In traditional Thai culture, a husband is responsible for supporting his wife and her parents/children. The man’s own parents will be helped financially by his sisters, as females are traditionally responsible for looking after their parents in old age. This means that if you marry into a Thai family, you will generally be looked on to help out your wife’s family with money.
It’s important to note that Thai men carry the exact same obligations when they are involved in a serious relationship with a Thai woman… This is not a case where Thai people are trying to take advantage of foreigners, it is simply how things are done in Thailand.
Of course, if your Thai girlfriend’s family are comfortable financially then you might not be asked or expected to help out with their cost of living. However, if your Thai girlfriend comes from an impoverished family, then things may be different. Many foreigners involve themselves with ladies that are originally from a rural farming communities in northern Thailand where money is hard to come by.
We think it’s important to get to know your girlfriend’s family… This would mean visiting them and staying in their home. You will be able to see for yourselves how they live from day to day and any revenue streams that they have (if any).
Meeting them and understanding their way of life would be a good start; you could also use the opportunity to speak with your girlfriend’s parents and learn more about their expectations from you. While some Thai people might seek to take advantage of their daughter’s foreign boyfriend (there are many horror stories floating around on the internet!) most Thais are reasonable people and will not start to demand stacks of cash from their daughter’s boyfriend or husband.
If your Thai girlfriend’s family are comfortable, and your girlfriend is university educated, then there might not be any need for you to give money to your girlfriend on a regular basis. Of course, many foreigners that are involved with Thai ladies do pay their girlfriends money every month as an allowance or to help out with their expenses.
If your Thai girlfriend works at a bar and you are sending her money then be aware, she is probably continuing to sleep with other men while you are not around. We have seen thousands of cases over the years and even compiled statistics relating to this. Similarly, if your girlfriend is working at an a go-go, nightclub, massage parlour, or any similar venue, then you might find yourself giving her money whilst not being the only other man in her life.
How much money you need to give your Thai girlfriend will depend entirely on her circumstances… Start by looking at her monthly salary, no deduct her rent, utilities and food from that. If she is giving money to her parents, then deduct a monthly allowance for them. If the lady has children that are living with her children then there will be costs associated with them (school uniform, food, transport to/from school). If the lady has debt, again, add a monthly allowance for this. If her parents are rice farmers, then there will be cost associated with that such as planting rice fields, harvesting the rice, and for pesticide/herbicide treatment to their farmland.
We have spoken to foreigners that were giving their girlfriends anywhere between 10,000 – 100,000 THB per month. A common figure is usually in the 30,000 – 50,000 THB range, however, the answer to this question really depends on your girlfriend’s lifestyle and the amount of people she is supporting.
Household debt in Thailand accounted for a massive 83.8% of the country's Nominal GDP in June 2020. If we are making our calculations based purely on the statistics, then it’s likely your Thai girlfriend’s family will have some form of debt. This could include vehicle finance (through hire purchase agreements or otherwise), mortgages, or cash loans which are set against land.
With unfavourable (and sometimes eye watering) interest charged on personal loans, many Thais can find themselves in difficult predicaments, and may fall victim to having their assets repossessed.
If you ask your Thai girlfriend about any debt that she or her family are responsible for, you might not get an honest and upfront answer. The reason for this is due to the Thai concept of saving face, and the obvious fear that you will run away and leave her if she is honest about her finances. Thai ladies might come up with other excuses for needing to repay debts, such as a family member being unwell, for example.
While many foreigners joke about Thai ladies needing money for sick buffalos; the financial predicament of many women that are driven to work in adult entertainment venues such as beer bars, nightclubs, a go-gos, massage parlours, etcetera, can be a driving force behind their choice of work. While this is difficult to demonstrate statistically, the likelihood that your Thai girlfriend might be underneath a mountain of debt is likely higher should she be working in an adult entertainment venue.
Similarly, ladies that are working in adult entertainment venues might be more likely to have other financial problems, such as their family home being a wooden shack in a state of near collapse, or having to support many siblings/children with money as well as her parents. Don’t expect your Thai girlfriend to be honest with you about her personal debt until you have been in a relationship for some time (years) and she feels comfortable sharing the information with you.
This is something we hear every now and again… A foreign man will travel to Thailand and start to fall in love with a Thai woman. As their relationship becomes more serious, the foreign man might try to apply Western principals over the relationship by saying “I will give you money, but I’m not going to help your parents”. We have also heard “I love my Thai girlfriend, but if she ever requests money from me then the relationship is over”. Traditions in Thai culture have existed for hundreds of years. A foreign man dating a Thai woman is not going to change Thai culture, or the mindset of the lady’s family, by laying out ultimatums or demands. If you are involved with a Thai woman that comes from an impoverished background, you will be looked at to help her survive financially… If you don’t agree with that, or you don’t have enough money to support your partner, then our advice would be not date a Thai lady from an impoverished background, as your relationship is likely doomed to failure.
Similarly, if you are involved in a relationship with a Thai bar girl, then it is highly likely she will continue to sleep with other men whether or not you give her money.
When we think of sending people to Thai girlfriends and their family, the adage of giving a man a fishing rod becomes relevant. Many foreigners that find themselves involved with Thai women that are struggling financially will help the lady to attend university so that she is able to support herself long term with a well-paid career. Other Thai women might prefer to open a business with support from their foreign boyfriends, or even plant farms or purchase livestock with the ultimate goal to helping their girlfriends become more financially independent. Often in Thailand a (relatively) small amount of money can go a long way when it comes to things like schooling costs or costs associated with building properties.
As a private investigation company based in Bangkok, we are seeing a growing number of fake university students in Thailand. These ladies will tell their boyfriends that they are attending a university when they in fact do not. Many men that read this article will think “That could never happen to me” … When it comes to the Thai girlfriend scam, we are talking about women that are professional scam artists. They are expert at telling lies to their foreign boyfriends, and some women are able to earn massive amounts of money by recruiting multiple farang boyfriends.
Over the years we have seen cases where ladies claim to be university students, where they have visited universities and taken many different photos of themselves. The ladies can make video calls while visiting public areas of a university or while visiting friends that attend. We have also seen cases of ladies that claim to work regular jobs in restaurants, cafes, offices or supermarkets, actually working in beer bars and sleeping with foreigners for money. Because the ladies would take photos of themselves wearing uniform from the shop (usually borrowed from a friend), the lie can be extremely difficult to detect. In many cases our clients would never have found out that they were being lied to had they not decided to start an investigation with us.
We can help to check whether your girlfriend is attending school and checking her workplace credentials. Our agents work all over Thailand, please get in touch with us for a free quote.
Many of our clients tell us that they would perform checks before putting their money into a business deal… And investing money into a Thai girlfriend would be another venture where performing checks can be a good method to protect your money and ensure that you aren’t being lied to.
We offer many different services that can be used to check Thai girlfriends, from our backgrounds check service, to personal surveillance or our decoy service in some cases. Please feel free to get in touch with one of our experienced team members for a free quote. We will need you to include all relevant details relating to your girlfriend so that we are able to consider your case and offer a quotation if we are able to help.