The Role of Financial Counseling for Problem Gamblers

Problem gambling can seriously impact your financial situation, especially if you’re spending beyond your means. Many problem gamblers end up running up large credit card bills, draining their savings accounts, or dipping into their retirement funds or other “off-limits” accounts. Even the luckiest gamblers can often just barely get the bills paid, with no money left over for emergencies, vacations, or a rainy day.

After you’ve come clean to your family and friends about your gambling problem, you’ve begun treatment, and your mental health has stabilized, it’s time to think about a strategy for financial recovery. Fortunately, help is available for anyone in a negative financial situation, no matter how they got there. 

Financial counselors, debt counselors, and bankruptcy specialists all exist to renew and restore your financial stability. A financial counselor or coach assists customers by overseeing their financial assets, including but not limited to managing budgets, investments, and income. If you’re struggling with problem gambling, here are a few ways a financial counselor can help you get your life back on track!

Debt Counseling

If you’re drowning in debt and have no clue where to turn, a financial counselor will be able to help you create a strategy to get your head above water. Debt-specific counseling exists for people in all sorts of situations, so do some research in your area to find a well-reviewed debt counselor that you might “click” with.

In cases of extreme debt and financial hardship, filing for bankruptcy might be an option worth considering. According to the National Council on Problem Gambling, more than 20% of compulsive gamblers end up filing for bankruptcy due to gambling. Your debt counselor can help you decide if this might be the right choice for you and assist you through the process or provide alternative options that can resolve your financial issues.

Credit Repair & Credit Building

Problem gambling can ruin your credit, which is a disaster for multiple reasons. For one, paying high-interest cash advance rates on maxed-out credit cards eats away at your earnings and makes it harder to pay back debtors, which only buries you further under your mounting debt. Second of all, your credit score affects everything from your rental options to your ability to take out a loan.

Credit counseling is an extremely effective resource when utilized correctly, and many free or low-cost programs are available through most major banks and financial institutions. During the credit counseling process, your financial counselor will provide advice and suggestions you can follow to get your credit back in the green. If you have a limited or nonexistent credit history, your counselor or coach can also help you build a solid credit history so that you can create a secure financial foundation. 

Even though taking out new credit cards is one of the best ways to build credit, having access to a new credit line can be extremely tempting for some problem gamblers. If this is the case for you, your financial counselor may recommend building credit through alternative means. For example, programs exist to link your credit score with your rent payments, utility bills, and even monthly subscriptions. Simply by paying these bills on time, you can build credit without being tempted to bring that shiny new card to the casino.

Pragmatic, Low-Risk Investment Assistance

High-stakes, high-skill professional gambling is never guaranteed to earn you a reliable income. However, investing your money in the right places at the right times can definitely help grow your assets. With that being said, it’s important for problem gamblers to be careful with investment since becoming overly involved in stock trading, market speculation, or even cryptocurrency can quickly turn into a gambling replacement for some problem gamblers. (See also: Is Day Trading Gambling?)

To avoid simply trading one bad habit for another, manage your investment portfolio with the help of a financial counselor. Your financial counselor can help serve as a middleman by recommending low-risk, secure investment opportunities that will multiply your money slowly over time. Making a few bucks here and there from low-risk investments may not feel as fun as winning the jackpot, but it’s still a satisfying and effective way to improve your financial situation.

Get Help for Problem Gambling Now

All of the financial assistance in the world won’t help you get your life back on track if you’re still feeling compelled to gamble. If you’re having trouble breaking free from a gambling problem, take the first step and call 800-GAMBLER today. Our toll-free, confidential hotline is open 24/7, and our compassionate staff members are ready to help connect you with the treatment resources that you need. We’re waiting to hear from you whenever you’re ready!


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