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Old 04-26-2010, 01:17 AM   #141
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With $10,300, you could buy a bigger gold necklace than his.
Heck, for $10,300 you could get yourself a really nice Mr. T starter kit!
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Old 04-26-2010, 01:22 AM   #142
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Heck, for $10,300 you could get yourself a really nice Mr. T starter kit!
I think you would look especially nice in that.
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Old 04-26-2010, 01:27 AM   #143
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This is basically my reasoning. The desire (partly mine, mostly DW's) to help family is very strong. But the desire to not enable continued gambling is strong too. And the desire to not lose a bunch of money on a wasteful purpose (enabling a gambling addict) is strong.
I think the intervention went as well as it could be expected to go, but I wouldn't call it successful. As Gumby and M_Paquette would recognize, the root cause has not been addressed.

"Successful" would be her going to GA at least once a week with her spouse or one of the family accompanying her. Her spouse & kids would really benefit from the family version of GA, too, to understand her problem and how to really help instead of the current enabling & salving consciences.

What everyone's offering to do now may be with the best of intentions, and may make everyone else feel really really good about themselves, but it ain't going to solve the problem. The reason she's not going to change her behavior is because she has no reason to change her behavior-- plenty of other people are changing their behaviors to help her, so why should she? She won't be ready to change her behavior until you have all stopped coming to her "assistance".

I have to admit that these interventions were a lot more successful when it was called "Captain's Mast"... some lost pay, perhaps some extra duty or restriction, maybe a reduction in rank, but wait! Potential salvation is at hand: punishment suspended for six months contingent upon completing the Navy's addiction program, which included many meetings at Alcoholics or Gamblers Anonymous. (The Navy does not do NA.) That approach provided a hand up and training to change one's behavior, along with a big stick upside the head to obtain their full attention. The success rate that I personally observed was over 90%. (Which tells you something about the Navy culture in the 1980s/1990s.) The one or two unrepentant disbelievers were quickly invited to complete their punishment and to exit the submarine force.

On my second submarine it used to freak out the junior sailors, who were attending their first AA meeting, to see our CO sitting a few rows behind them. He wasn't just a spokesperson for AA, he was a client too.

There was a Michael Keaton movie a few years back... "Clean & Sober"? I forget the title. He was essentially attending AA meetings while under investigation/indictment for a drug-related death and workplace embezzlement, so he felt that he didn't really have a problem and was only going to put up with it until the authorities saw his side of the story. (But meanwhile, hey, there's some hot chicks at these meetings!) Around his second or third meeting, as he heard the stories of his fellow attendees and got to know them, he finally began to understand his own bullshit denial.

So if your family really wants to do the right thing, it certainly won't be as easy as what everyone is contemplating doing now. And it can't be done by family rushing to the rescue... only by her being called on her behavior by other people who've lived the life she's living.

No offense or insults intended. I can't help but take a hard line here because I've seen the results of the line your family is taking.
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Old 04-26-2010, 08:51 AM   #144
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If you do decide to 'lend' them money, do you self a favor, don't look for repayment. Consider it a gift. You can structure it as a loan if you want, but if you really treat it as a loan you will get very angry every time a payment is missed, and the probability is they will be missed. The stress of this will put even more stress on you and your wife. Even if you can 'let it go' the probability is your wife will not be able to let it go.

I say this from experience. We lent our kids money, and like I said, the repayment schedule just did not work out. We ended up telling them it was a gift, and if we ever needed it back, they would have to do anything necessary including selling their house to pay it back! But for now we never want to hear about it again. That took the stress away from us, however, I don't think it has for them.
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Old 04-26-2010, 09:10 AM   #145
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But she did not seem apologetic, sorry, or remorseful in her actions. It really did seem like she was pissed that she has to come groveling before her family to ask for money to bail her out.
...
DW and I decided on a course of action. No money in the next 2 weeks. If SIL actually stops gambling for the next six weeks AND attends gambler's anonymous weekly, we will consider helping with the $10,300. She is responsible for figuring out the 10% interest between herself and her creditors - renegotiate if she can.

This was explained to SIL, and she basically balked at the suggestion to attend Gambler's Anon.

...

I think the intervention and the stern discussion I had with her today has opened her eyes to the fact that what she is doing is very serious and damaging, and she needs to make a decision to stop the gambling.
Just an observation, but that last statement doesn't add up with the others. I hope you are able to hold her to the terms of the deal, and not just fix her current situation, but actually help her overcome the gambling problem.
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Old 04-26-2010, 09:14 AM   #146
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The gambling debt (that she has admitted to at least) was just shy of $22,000. $12,000 was owed to one couple without provision for interest. $5500 owed to a 2nd person. $2500 owed to a third person. $1500 owed to a fourth person. The $5500 and $2500 amounts carry 10% interest. That's per month.
That interest rate might be above state maximums.
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Old 04-26-2010, 09:23 AM   #147
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So if your family really wants to do the right thing, it certainly won't be as easy as what everyone is contemplating doing now. And it can't be done by family rushing to the rescue... only by her being called on her behavior by other people who've lived the life she's living.
I understand this. I think everyone in the family except her mother is coming around to this understanding. We are all saying to her "You have a serious problem and we do not intend to help financially while you continue to gamble or consider gambling an option to get you out of your debt".

I suggested Gambler's Anon as a good option to consider. I told her to give it a try - show up at a meeting or two and see what they have to offer. I can't force her.

We have told my MIL that giving her more money and bailing her out so quickly is just too quick and easy for her and that she isn't going to just quit just like that. But we can't control MIL either.

Like I said, I'm going to see how this thing goes. SIL's actions in the next six weeks, or the next 4 after that, or the next 4 after that, etc etc will show me whether she is on the road to recovery or still stuck in this downward spiral. In a way, this is like the stock market - we won't know if this crash is done until the recovery is already under way. I'm keeping my powder dry at this point and hoping to catch this thing at the bottom or right as the recovery starts.

I don't know what else to do at this point. I have told her that her sister (my DW) and I don't trust her. We are not giving her any of our money until we know she is recovering. And that we think it is wrong for her to take a large chunk of her mom's life savings to feed her gambling habit. We also told MIL that she should not give away all her money like that. We told her "what will happen if you or FIL gets sick and you really need your money"?

The stress on SIL to pay these huge interest payments every month will either cause her to gamble more to try to pay them off, or realize these people aren't her friends and they are bleeding her and her family dry. That will be the litmus test, at least initially. I probably told her 10 times yesterday that "gambling is NEVER the solution to getting yourself out of debt" and that it isn't too late to hang it up and figure out a way to get yourself out of this mess. She knows that DW and I are very good with money, and I hope she listens to me and internalizes this message. But I remain skeptical. When I told her the $23k will take 4 years to repay at $500/mo, she was in disbelief and seemed to think it would be much easier to pay off.
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Old 04-26-2010, 09:26 AM   #148
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That interest rate might be above state maximums.
Yes, probably so. It is also unenforceable (at law) gambling debt. I have suggested SIL renegotiate her debt w/ her creditors. Not an option per SIL.
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Old 04-26-2010, 09:30 AM   #149
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If you do decide to 'lend' them money, do you self a favor, don't look for repayment. Consider it a gift. You can structure it as a loan if you want, but if you really treat it as a loan you will get very angry every time a payment is missed, and the probability is they will be missed. The stress of this will put even more stress on you and your wife. Even if you can 'let it go' the probability is your wife will not be able to let it go.
I have explained this to DW. We can structure it as a loan, but we may never see the money returned to us. So any amounts we give to SIL, think of it as a gift internally, and just hope you see some of that gift returned. I don't think we are ready to just give away $10,300 at this point. But DW told SIL over and over "if we give you money, that is the LAST time we ever help you. After that you are on your own.". This statement will be reiterated if we ever do decide to lend/give her the money.
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Old 04-26-2010, 09:33 AM   #150
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When I told her the $23k will take 4 years to repay at $500/mo, she was in disbelief and seemed to think it would be much easier to pay off.
That's because she still sees the ability to win at gambling as an "easy" way to make money.

I wish you, your DW and your in-laws all the best but from reading this thread I'd say the odds are 99+% your SIL will end up in the abyss of personal and financial ruin. Keep working hard to be sure you aren't pulled even partially into it with her.
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Old 04-26-2010, 09:36 AM   #151
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Just an observation, but that last statement doesn't add up with the others. I hope you are able to hold her to the terms of the deal, and not just fix her current situation, but actually help her overcome the gambling problem.
Every time someone close to her tells her "I don't trust you", it hits home I'm sure. When I say these discussions opens her eyes, I'm not saying she is recovered 100%. Just that these are little building blocks on the road to recovery.

The intervention seemed a little like a parent scolding a bad child just from the attitudes I saw (couldn't really understand most of it since it was in Laos language). But I made sure to call SIL yesterday and just her and I talked for a while. It was much less confrontational and I think it came off more as I am concerned for her, and everyone else is concerned for her.
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Old 04-26-2010, 09:47 AM   #152
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That's because she still sees the ability to win at gambling as an "easy" way to make money.

I wish you, your DW and your in-laws all the best but from reading this thread I'd say the odds are 99+% your SIL will end up in the abyss of personal and financial ruin. Keep working hard to be sure you aren't pulled even partially into it with her.
I think you are right in your assessment - she still sees gambling as an easy way to make money.

If she continues to gamble now that she has promised not to, then MIL's money faucet will be shut. That will show DW and I that she is untrustworthy, and DW will definitely shut that money faucet off. And that will be that from her family's side.

99% chance of failure? I'm looking at something like 60-70%. I think there is a significant non-zero chance that she will think about this and figure out what she needs to do. Maybe I'm an eternal optimist?

I think SIL's brother sums up everyone's deep down sentiments: "She is stupid as hell. I just want to smack her in the face".
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Old 04-26-2010, 09:54 AM   #153
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I have suggested SIL renegotiate her debt w/ her creditors. Not an option per SIL.
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That's because she still sees the ability to win at gambling as an "easy" way to make money.
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I think you are right in your assessment - she still sees gambling as an easy way to make money.
...
I think SIL's brother sums up everyone's deep down sentiments: "She is stupid as hell. I just want to smack her in the face".
Yes! That's how they always think: "I am going to win it all back, and then some". And they occasionally DO!

She will not renege on the "loans" from people to whom she owes money. It's part fear of losing face, part because she needs to be allowed to sit down at the card table with them again.

I really don't feel good about this. But I know it it not easy for Fuego and his wife to walk away at this point. It feels cold-hearted and so wrong, even though it is the right thing to do, to not feed her habits.

I wonder how her gambling habit escaped the detection of her husband.
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Old 04-26-2010, 10:00 AM   #154
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If she continues to gamble now that she has promised not to, then MIL's money faucet will be shut. That will show DW and I that she is untrustworthy, and DW will definitely shut that money faucet off. And that will be that from her family's side.
Understand family is involved but do you really believe this?

Sounds like now she has the rest of the family gambling...on her. You're in for $10,300, so ante up!...just remember, the odds favor the house.
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Old 04-26-2010, 10:05 AM   #155
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I think there is a significant non-zero chance that she will think about this and figure out what she needs to do.

I think SIL's brother sums up everyone's deep down sentiments: "She is stupid as hell...."
You don't see these two statements as more than a little contradictory?

My pessimism aside, it sounds like you have a viable plan to only give the $10k if there are signs of real change. Stay strong and don't waiver if, when the time comes, you aren't absolutely sure your SIL has seen the light.
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Old 04-26-2010, 10:16 AM   #156
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You don't see these two statements as more than a little contradictory?

My pessimism aside, it sounds like you have a viable plan to only give the $10k if there are signs of real change. Stay strong and don't waiver if, when the time comes, you aren't absolutely sure your SIL has seen the light.
Maybe a little. But she can be stupid yet redeemable. People can change.

Regarding where I stand in this "negotiation": I'm feeling pretty good. My damage is limited to $10k. No decision required for 5-6 weeks. Continued gambling on SIL's part relieves me and DW from taking any action (the "I told you so" card). No money will be lent until we are subjectively sure she is done gambling. Hence we can delay for a loooong time if we just don't feel right about it.
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Old 04-26-2010, 10:19 AM   #157
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Understand family is involved but do you really believe this?

Sounds like now she has the rest of the family gambling...on her. You're in for $10,300, so ante up!...just remember, the odds favor the house.
Do I really believe MIL will cut off the money if SIL keeps gambling? Not 100%. 50/50 probably. But we will have evidence to say, look, your daughter keeps lying to you. She promises she will stop then breaks that promise. Are you going to throw the rest of your life savings and your house in this bottomless pit?

FYI, this is the first occasion that SIL has promised MIL and us that she will stop gambling. DW knows this is a promise, and honoring the promise will be required or we are not going to trust SIL.

For the record, my FIL used to have a really bad gambling problem decades ago. Back in the old country. I guess he hit bottom and is cured now.
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Old 04-26-2010, 10:25 AM   #158
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Yes! That's how they always think: "I am going to win it all back, and then some". And they occasionally DO!

She will not renege on the "loans" from people to whom she owes money. It's part fear of losing face, part because she needs to be allowed to sit down at the card table with them again.
This is what scares me - I know there is some element to refusal to renegotiate terms with her fellow gamblers because once she does that, she will not have a seat at the table. But by me withholding any loans, this may force her hand and make her default on these loans.

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I wonder how her gambling habit escaped the detection of her husband.
He has known about this for quite a while (everyone knew SIL likes to play cards). I think it was "acceptable" but annoying for years. Just another money wasting hobby like expensive cars, motorcycles, etc etc. Mostly social gambling. Dollar amounts were small. As best I can tell, the big money gambling started a month or two ago. The losses increased, and now it is a huge financial problem for them.

The husband told me he was too soft on her for too long, but just wanted to get along with her and not make it a big deal. Now he has cut her off from accessing any more credit on any jointly titled property, taking his assets and selling them, etc. He is sticking with her for his kids' sake more than anything now. And he wants her to get better.
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Old 04-26-2010, 10:41 AM   #159
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Regarding where I stand in this "negotiation": I'm feeling pretty good. My damage is limited to $10k.
For something you had nothing to do with. YOU weren't gambling.

Let me guess - - she didn't offer to do anything radical like take a second job in order to pay off the $10K independently, because her husband ("Mr. Gold-Necklace") would have to take care of the kids while she is at work.
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Old 04-26-2010, 11:22 AM   #160
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[The husband] has known about this for quite a while (everyone knew SIL likes to play cards). I think it was "acceptable" but annoying for years. Just another money wasting hobby like expensive cars, motorcycles, etc etc. Mostly social gambling...
Yeah, social gambling.

My late father was absolutely against gambling, and hated my mother's brother, the aforementioned gambling uncle. So, I can say that none of the four of us, me and my 3 siblings, have any tendency to gamble. Growing up, we all saw how destructive drug and gambling addiction could be. In fact, I do not play any card game, and simply do not understand how people can play the slot machines or card games for hours in Las Vegas.

On the other hand, my inlaws do some social gambling. And once, I have seen my mother-in-law sitting for hours at an one-armed bandit. So, their offsprings have a tendency to gamble at the casino also. Nothing big, but losing up to $1K is perfectly normal to them. Good thing my wife is not like her siblings, because I wouldn't be able to stand it.

I guess if one finds recreational value in losing that $1K, it might be worthwhile. To me, it is sooo boring, you would have to pay me BIG BUCKS to play. You would have to pay me at least $200/hr to sit there to pull the lever, or to accept the cards dealt to me. Why, I can program my computer to play these random games itself and sit back to watch.

I like to go to Wall St though. The stakes are much higher, in the high 6-figures, and even 7-figure. However, a play takes years, not 5 seconds to deal a hand like these simplistic card games. It's for real grown ups!

PS. Don't worry about me, I am actually a fairly conservative investor.
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