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Looking after your finances

Money can be a sensitive subject for many people, and it can become even more sensitive when a gambling problem exists.

If someone close to you has a gambling problem, you may need to protect your finances.

These tips for partners, family and friends will suit some people and their circumstances, but not others. It's a good idea to speak with a financial counsellor when deciding how to approach money issues.

Protecting your finances – partners

Partners of people with gambling problems can sometimes face financial stress. You may need to cut back on spending or increase work hours.

You may also have to take on the role of looking after your family's finances and controlling your partner's access to money.

Together with a financial counsellor, you could consider:

  • making a family budget – try to make it achievable, especially when aiming to repay debts, so the person with a gambling problem doesn't feel the need to gamble more
  • carefully tracking all family spending
  • taking on management of the family finances until the gambling is under control
  • agreeing on how much cash or credit your partner can have, so they're not tempted to gamble
  • opening up separate bank accounts or have accounts set up that require two signatures for withdrawals
  • putting valuables in a safety deposit
  • speaking with the bank to ensure your home can't be remortgaged
  • removing your name from shared credit cards
  • cancelling any overdrafts on bank accounts
  • getting legal advice so you know your rights, if and when needed.

Protecting your finances – family and friends

If you are a family member or friend of someone with a gambling problem, you may want to consider:

  • thinking carefully about your own finances before offering to help financially
  • paying the bills yourself rather than lending money for bills
  • not sharing your PIN numbers
  • putting your valuables and cash out of sight
  • warning other family, friends and co-workers not to lend money to the person
  • changing your Will to ensure future inheritance will not be lost to gambling.

While recovering, someone with a gambling problem may decide to grant a family member or friend power of attorney to control their money in the short term.