Happy Holidays Recovery Friends and Visitors!
GUEST ARTICLE BY: Northstar Problem Gambling Alliance
Financial Counselors Can Provide Exceptional Services to Recovering Gamblers and Their Families from The Devastation To Finances . . . .
“In addition to the social and emotional devastation of gambling addiction, which may include loss of relationships, residence, physical health and career opportunities, the damage exacted to one’s finances is significant.”
While therapists and groups such as Gambler’s Anonymous can help address the mental and psychological challenges from a gambling disorder, other experts can help gamblers rebuild their financial house.
Financial counselors can provide a variety of services to both the gambler and their family. By taking appropriate measures, counselors can help gamblers rebuild their credit and safeguard the assets of “affected others,” whose money the gambler may have accessed during their addiction.
Many compulsive gamblers have accumulated a seemingly insurmountable level of debt by the time they seek help. Financial counselors can work on their behalf to obtain special, lower interest rates from creditors to satisfy existing debt. Financial counselors can also consolidate debt so that the recovering gambler pays a single monthly payment, an option known as a debt management plan. While debt consolidation is a tool that’s available for anyone — gamblers and non-gamblers alike — it can be especially helpful for someone who has incurred debt from gambling addiction and requires a plan to start on a new path.
Recovering gamblers seeking financial relief should be wary of debt settlements, which are fundamentally different than debt management plans and which have been the subject of scrutiny from the Minnesota Attorney General. Debt settlement is a form of debt relief that is considered to be extremely dangerous by financial experts. The process, which involves the paying off of debt to a creditor after mutually agreeing to a sum less than what is owed, often leaves consumers with damaged credit scores and can sometimes lead to even deeper debt.
In addition to credit card assistance, financial counselors can also help with management of student loans and mortgages. HUD-certified financial counselors specialize in foreclosure prevention and can potentially help those who have lost much of their money from gambling by working with mortgage companies to make mortgage modifications. According to Cate Rysavy, senior director of Financial Services at Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota, people are able to avoid foreclosure 64 percent of the time when working with a housing counselor.
Financial counseling can also come to the aid of family members whose monies may have been stolen by the gambler or who may have unknowingly enabled the gambler by providing financial support. Counselors can provide protection to spouses by offering separate accounts for spouses and others to prevent access by the gambler.
A recovering gambler might also wish to engage a Power of Attorney (POA) to help control the disbursement of funds. By setting up a POA, a gambler can ensure there’s controlled access to monies and specify exactly how the funds are to be used. A POA is a formal contract that must be given great consideration. It can be canceled by revocation by the individual or a resignation by the POA, ( Power of Attorney ).
In addition to helping those in financial distress, financial counselors may also be the first to identify someone’s gambling problem. They may note frequent cash withdrawals from a casino or determine that something’s amiss with a client’s expenditures given their budget and income.
Ideally, financial counseling, when necessary, takes place at the same time as treatment for gambling addiction. “If someone’s not acknowledging their addiction and seeking treatment, financial counselors are not in a good position to help,” says Cate, who says the biggest concern when working with gamblers is the possibility of relapse. At Lutheran Social Service, counselors are encouraged to make the call for treatment or to GA while they’re still meeting with the problem gambler. See below for help with addiction debt help from gambling. . . . .
National Credit, Debt, and Finacial Services of Consumer Credit Counseling can be found here in your area:
Consumer Credit Counseling: FREE Debt Help! Call Us At: 866-464-5243
- Get a free credit counseling session
- Reduce your interest rates
- Prevent late and over the limit fees
- Pay off your debt in most cases within 5 years
- Consolidate your unsecured debt into one easy monthly payment
* * * * * * * * *
Who We Are!
Gambling, in all its various forms, has become increasingly prevalent in today’s society. In fact, 75 percent of Minnesotans have participated in a form of gambling in the last year. Most who gamble are able to enjoy it as a healthy form of recreation. Others, however, are unable to stop, even when their gambling habit empties their wallet and tugs at their soul. The Northstar Problem Gambling Alliance was formed to address the needs of Minnesotans whose gambling goes beyond normal recreation bounds.
The Northstar Problem Gambling Alliance (NPGA), Minnesota’s affiliate to the National Council on Problem Gambling, is a non-profit, gambling-neutral organization dedicated to improving the lives of Minnesotans affected by problem gambling. We achieve this by increasing public awareness about the growing problem and compulsive gambling and advocating for support services and treatment for persons adversely affected by gambling.
Come Visit Us Today! We Can Help . . . .