How can I protect my finances?
Protecting your money – especially when there are shared finances – is important, and when someone you’re close to gambles, it’s a sensitive topic.
If you’re both committed to your relationship, it may be worth trying to work it through. The financial strategy FAQs below offer some tips that may be effective if communication is open. But we know conversations like this are hard.
If these strategies are not possible, or you need to take stronger measures, it’s a smart idea to get professional advice.
Get free financial advice
You may find yourself in a difficult financial situation through no fault of your own. Financial counsellors are trained professionals who can help create a realistic long-term plan to help you work your way out of money difficulties as a result of gambling. They’re located all over NSW, and their services are free and confidential.
If you have legal issues
If there’s no shared ground between you and the person with the problem, get free legal advice on how to protect your and your family’s finances. Contact the legal service funded by GambleAware at Wesley Community Legal Service – it specialises in helping people with gambling issues.
Financial strategy FAQs
You don’t have to accept that gambling will always dominate your finances. There may be strategies you can work on if you’re both willing to be part of the solution. Let’s look at some questions you may have.
Gambling and intimate partner violence
Be aware that imposing financial strategies – like assuming control of family finances and resources – may increase the risk of intimate partner violence. They may not be right for your situation. Talk to a counsellor first and have a safety plan in place.
1. How do I know if they’re being open about where the money’s coming from?
Full disclosure and transparency are important. Here are a couple of things you can agree to do together:
- Share credit files
If they agree, have regular joint discussions and reviews of credit and banking statements. This can ensure transparency and help rebuild trust. If both of you consent, you can obtain credit files and ratings from Equifax . Credit reports include information about loan enquiries, credit providers, serious debts and credit infringements, commercial credit and public record information including bankruptcy data and default judgments.
- Organise shared access to bank accounts
This lets you see where income and spending is going.
2. Should our finances be separated?
You might consider temporarily separating finances if you think your loved one is secretly gambling with shared funds. But it’s important to be sensitive in how you do this. It’s worth seeking professional advice. Contact a financial counsellor or the free legal service funded by GambleAware at Wesley Community Legal Service.
3. Should I take over the finances and allocate a living allowance?
If you take over the finances and allocate a living allowance for your partner, it may be only a short-term solution. If the two of you agree to this option, make sure the weekly allowance is realistic. Don’t set it at a low level that could be seen as a punishment.
4. Is a gambling allowance for “controlled” gambling a good idea?
Experts don’t normally recommend a gambling allowance. People who have issues with gambling generally need time away from it so they can regain control. But if you go down this road, avoid checking where the allowance is spent. You’re starting the journey of regaining trust.
5. Should I bail them out of trouble?
Think twice. The person with the problem won’t experience the consequences of money loss if they’re bailed out, and if you hand over the money there’s a chance they’ll gamble it away. If a bailout is necessary to avoid a crisis – say, repossession of your home – try to pay the money directly to the financial institution or creditor.
6. How can I deal with the debt?
You need to take back control – but you don’t have to do it alone. Financial counsellors are trained professionals who can help create a realistic long-term plan to help you work your way out of money difficulties as a result of gambling. They can help negotiate your overdue bills and put payment schedules in place. They’re located all over NSW, and their services are free and confidential.
I’d prefer an Aboriginal service
As an Aboriginal person, you can get support anywhere in urban or regional NSW through Warruwi Gambling Help.
I need support in my own language
Support is available in over 40 community languages, including 中文 (Mandarin and Cantonese), Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese), عربى(Arabic) and Italiano (Italian).