Private funds do not all the time equate to monetary infidelity amongst {couples}

Minh Hung, an IT engineer, earns more than VND 30 million a month.

At the beginning, the couple had agreed that his wife would give all of his monthly income to the administration.

But he doesn’t give her his bonuses or the money he makes from part-time jobs, he keeps some for himself and sends some to his younger sister.

He considered it his duty to provide financial support to his sister, who was studying at the time, as it relieved his elderly parents somewhat financially.

He says he didn’t tell Anh about it because she doesn’t like his family and would have objected immediately.

The thank-you letter her sister-in-law sent him after graduation infuriated the 37-year-old from Hanoi’s Dong Da district.

“You think I’m just a scarecrow? How much secret money do you actually have?” she raged.

Hung apologized to appease his wife, although he felt he had done nothing wrong.

“Giving money to your sister without telling me first is disrespectful and it really hurt me emotionally. It made me lose confidence in my husband,” she said.

According to a 2021 survey by American financial services firm CreditCards, 32 percent of adult couples in the United States have cheated on their partner financially, and 42 percent of respondents said financial and physical cheating are the same.

“Spouses are afraid that their partner will be unfaithful and have an affair with someone else, so they hide money,” said Phong Nguyen, a Hanoi-based psychologist.

dr Nguyen Thi Minh, a psychology professor at the National Academy of Public Administration in HCMC, says a perfect marriage will have no financial secrets.

However, it’s acceptable for a spouse to have a secret fund if it doesn’t affect the family’s overall finances, he says.

“Everyone has a right to privacy, and that right must be respected as long as it doesn’t cause harm.”

Many people confuse secret funds with private funds, leading to unnecessary family conflicts, he says.

Hung used his money to help his parents, so he says he deserves more praise than criticism.

In a 2021 VnExpress survey of more than 500 readers, 46 percent said a spouse could have a private fund, 40 percent preferred to put into a joint fund and keep the rest for themselves, and just 14 percent believed that spouses should not hide money.

Minh Duc, from Hanoi’s Ha Dong district, does not mind that his wife has a “secret” fund as he trusts and respects her completely.

A few days ago, his wife Nguyen Thi Ngan complained that she had run out of money.

But when the couple and their children watched a movie on their phone, the bank informed her that she had just paid her interest and the total amount in her account had risen to VND50 million.

Duc was on the phone when the message broke.

He looked at his children and jokingly said, “Mom has a secret fund but complains that she doesn’t have enough money.”

only blushed, grabbed her phone and ran to the bathroom saying, “This money is for something important.”

Duc answered with a loud laugh.

“I guess she might have other secret funds she’s hiding from me, but that doesn’t bother me,” says the grocer.

Duc and Ngan got married when neither of them had any money.

Once her daughter got sick and had to be hospitalized, and the medical bill was VND 20 million. Duc had nowhere to turn for help, and she said, “Let me withdraw my savings.”

When her husband gives her money to spend, she quietly sets aside a small sum for emergencies.

She often complains about having no money, but always gives her husband money when he needs it.

“I know my wife always takes care of our family, so I don’t mind if she has secret funds,” says Duc.

Psychologist Nguyen Thi Tam says that there are people who hide money from their spouse for drinking, affairs and other nefarious purposes and this leads to marriage failure.

One of them is Hoang Ha from Hanoi’s Ba Vi district.

The 40-year-old discovered two years ago that her husband, with whom he was 10, had bought a house for his secret lover in HCMC and given him a monthly allowance.

Thanh Tung, her husband, is a director of a company that often makes week-long business trips to HCMC.

Before he was caught cheating, he always showered Ha and her children with love and affection.

Two years ago, on HCMC, a friend saw her husband holding a little boy and the child called him “Daddy.”

Ha flew to Saigon and went to an address her friend had given her and to her shock, discovered that her husband was having an affair.

Tung admitted to buying a house for his mistress and having children with her for the past five years, and asked Ha for a divorce so he could marry her.

According to Tam, more and more young couples are entering into prenuptial agreements to ensure financial transparency.

However, focusing too much on finances in a relationship implies putting money ahead of feelings, she says.

“It’s not the best option for a family.”

According to Phong, financial harmony is only one aspect of a successful marriage.

“Without empathy and understanding, two people are just partners, not husband and wife.”

Instead of thinking about slush funds, he suggests that couples should discuss how much they should contribute and share financial responsibility to ensure their quality of life, give each other enough freedom, and not make anyone feel disadvantaged or overwhelmed.

After hearing this, Hong Anh ended the Cold War with her husband.

“In retrospect, he never did anything to me and always took good care of his family,” she says.

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