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Young and Stupid... In serious need of advice
Old 02-10-2009, 03:08 AM   #1
Confused about dryer sheets
 
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Young and Stupid... In serious need of advice

Hello friends, I am a long time reader of this forum but this is my first post. I am in serious need of advice and decided to finally post the question here. From reading some of the regulars here I feel I can get some grounded down to earth advice. I am looking to see if anyone has also experienced what I have and if they were able to come out on top from it. I can't seem to sleep much these days if at all.

About Me: (I will disclose specific figures to help illustrate)
30
Single
no kids
no debt
no car
no house
no bills except
-rents a room for 550/month (comes with water, heat, electricity, cable tv and internet)
-another 450 for food.
electric bike for transportation
earns 150k/year salary
extremely frugal
workaholic
no savings (explained below)

I enjoy the simple things in life and I do not care for fancy things. I want to retire early. I am not sure when that will be. I am thinking maybe at 500k to 1million and hopefully by 40. And I don't need to live in the USA. I have had thoughts about maybe even try day trading as a post retirement job.

My problem is I also have another side of me where I like to gamble. which is an understatement. It is something I only recently picked up and since then I have lost my savings over and over again (4 times). Just recently I took the biggest lost yet. Long hard savings of about 200k cash which brings my total losses close to 400k cash.

This has been a huge set back for me and I am trying to figure out how to cope with this. In the mean time I am continuing to work and I am fortunate to not have been laid off.

I guess the advice I am looking for is, should I quit cold turkey? ( I can't seem to do this because I am addicted to it or in love with it )
or find a happy medium? I guess my main question is has anyone have any experience with something like this where it is actually even possible to have a happy medium?

I find that after a year or two of saving up, I have some money I feel I can play with and end up making in 1 night what it takes me 6 months to save. This seems to trick me into thinking this may help me advance my retirement goals and additional security a large savings brings me. Things go well for about 6 months where I would win more than lose and then out of no where I lose control and lose everything, sometimes in 1 day or half a day. I am conflicted because I still believe if I can control those incidents, I can still accelerate my day to retire. Maybe being too frugal gets to me. I give myself no rewards along the way thinking all rewards will come when retirement comes. Or maybe subconsciously I just don't want to retire or get richer. I have considered lobotomy.

Thanks for reading, any feedback is appreciated.
-Conflicted
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Old 02-10-2009, 04:19 AM   #2
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I would recommend to search for support through orgs, groups or specialists.
For addiction issues there is no happy medium.

If you save I would pick instruments that cannot be terminated early at all or not without heavy penalties and would invest directly from each pay check. The less you see the money the better.
All the best to overcome your addiction.
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Old 02-10-2009, 05:11 AM   #3
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Conflicted, get yourself some help. Stay away from the gambling establishments...don't even go for other food or entertainment. The really rich can afford to lose 400k...but you've lost everything...to gambling. Stay away from day trading as well. That is not a lot more than glorified gambling and can destroy your savings just as quickly as the craps table.

You are addicted...smokers and alcoholics also love their vice, but it is an addiction. If you (or they) could quit tomorrow and never go back, you (they) would have already done it yesterday. You have to get help, and stay away from anything resembling the temptation to gamble.

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Old 02-10-2009, 06:27 AM   #4
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Your best shot is going to be to invest in some help transitioning through cutting out gambling cold-turkey. It will likely be very difficult to do on your own otherwise. You may need checkups to keep you on track as well.

Do not go into day-trading, for the most part, it is gambling, and for the small part of it that is not, it requires you to not have a gamblers mind set in any fashion, as it is very analytical. There are no billionaires who were day traders, and there are likely extremely few millionaires either, it is not a road to wealth. Investigate some other form of side-income,there are plenty of other choices, I can only think that day-trading would be disastrous for you.

You likely will need to find something else to engross yourself with that you will enjoy (preferably not one of the other destructive addictions, like alcohol). Has there been anything else you enjoyed in the past other than gambling, perhaps even enjoyed a lot?

Essentially, you are going to be looking for balance. Addictions are hard to break, you will likely think about gambling a lot even after you stop, at least for awhile. I know I did when I quit gaming for a long period when it would have gotten in the way of important goals, and I am very sure I was, and still am (even though I very rarely play), addicted to gaming. Gaming was a huge time-sink for me. It will take constant effort to keep yourself from relapsing, because it only takes a small relapse, especially in your case, to do damage.

Once you find that balance though, you will be golden, you should be able to meet your goals of early retirement, it sounds like your future depends solely on finding this balance.
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Old 02-10-2009, 07:59 AM   #5
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You have taken the first critical step - admitting to the problem.
Good for you!

Help is on its way...do a search online for Gamblers Anonymous. Here is a link to their meeting location directory
Gamblers Anonymous International Directory

The Mayo Clinic has a great article at
https://ssl.search.live.com/health/a...lers+Anonymous

I hope this info is of help to you.
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Old 02-10-2009, 08:22 AM   #6
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Conflicted, there is no happy medium, in my opinion. There are very few shortcuts to wealth building, and gambling is proof of that. You need to save for your retirement in vehicles that are "locked up", like 401k plans and IRAs and then not withdraw this money for any reason.
Likewise, you should only keep enough cash for a cushion in case of job loss--say 2-3 months of expenses, and even that money might be best in an account with limited access.
Get help for the addiction and find other ways to get the adrenaline rush--what about skydiving or mountain climbing? I wish you the best of luck.
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Old 02-10-2009, 08:22 AM   #7
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When I had a j*b we used to field at least 50 calls a week from people whose spouses were gambling addicts and had put the family in bankruptcy because of their losses. It is an addiction and you cannot control it. Go get some help now before you get in serious trouble.
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Old 02-10-2009, 10:48 AM   #8
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Just curious..... what exactly is your profession that you can make 150k / year at 30? From what you had posted... this is not your own business and you are working for someone else. To pull a line from the movie "the pursuit of happiness".... "What do you do.... and how do you do it?"
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Old 02-10-2009, 11:10 AM   #9
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I don't have any experience with gambling addiction, nor do I know anyone who has, but I think the advice to check into some of those addiction recovery programs is a very good one. With time, you may be able to get rid of that urge to gamble.

Some practical advice: perhaps you can speak with an estates attorney about setting up a trust with yourself as the beneficiary, so that as you save up your money you'll be sending it to the trust, and the trustee will be obligated to act in your best financial interest and won't just give it all to you to blow on gambling when you get the urge.

Saving in retirement accounts that are, in theory, "locked away" is one thing, but if you can still access the money and take it out to gamble, it's really not going to be much of a barrier because of your addiction.

I never understood the addiction to gambling; I absolutely hate losing money, and even when I'm dragged to a casino I spend most of my time chatting with my buddies while they gamble. Perhaps it's my tendency to be a natural pessimist/skeptic, or maybe I just have low self esteem and think there's no way I'll win money anyway so why bother trying? People who are addicted to gambling must be pretty self confident (or delusional).

I wonder if the lack of other things in your life (gf? pet? family? too frugal to hang with friends?) is adding to your addiction to gamble. Seems you live a very austere life financially, perhaps emotionally as well? Only you can answer that one.

You've got a good income and almost none of the things that tie people down (mortgage, school loans, etc.). You're well set to be on the road to FIRE. You're obviously smart and hardworking, but perhaps you need a little tough love:

You seem like a smart guy, so quit being a total effing idiot and gambling your money away, bro. WTF are you working for?
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Old 02-10-2009, 11:10 AM   #10
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Like for all addictions, there is no happy medium. You have to stop gambling cold turkey. Period. You might want to seek professional help in order to find ways to cope with your addiction if you can't handle it yourself.

Remember, gambling destroys your chances to retire. Show of hand everyone: Who on this board achieved FIRE by gambling? Who achieved FIRE by saving their money one paycheck at a time over many years? I think you'll find plenty of the latter and very few if any of the former on this board.

PS: stay away from day trading. In my book, it's no different from gambling. Recently a board member posted how his retired parents lost everything because his dad decided it would be a good idea to day trade with their retirement savings. Given your addiction, it seems like a recipe for disaster.
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Old 02-10-2009, 12:44 PM   #11
Confused about dryer sheets
 
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Hello Conflicted,

From your post, you seem to be quite an established happy minded man, but one thing stops you from living your life to the fullest and that is greed. Remember, life does not have any short cuts. As you yourself quoted, "I have some money I feel I can play with and end up making in 1 night what it takes me 6 months to save."

So learn from it, don't fall into gambling and other stuffs like that. Instead of dumping your money, your hard earned money into gamble and all, try something in investing, that will have no loss and only profits. You have the future in your hands and now, its up to you whether you want to gamble your life or not ?

I hope you don't mind me speaking my heart out. Sorry for any rash comments. Have a great life !!!
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Old 02-10-2009, 01:11 PM   #12
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Simple answer = inter vivos "spend thrift" trust...

Set one up. Any financial institution can act as trustee. Once the $$$ is in there, it can't be touched by you w/o a qualified reason.

Gambling is a serious problem. Whether your doing through high risk securities, online poker, or just roulette... its bad news.

At $150,000 w/ no debt @ 30, you are ahead of the game. Be proud of your accomplishments (I am 24 and track to make that sort of money, but have substantial student loans and doubt I will be debt free by your age).

Anyhow, keep working and start up that spend-thrift trust. There is no reason why "evil conflicted" should ruin "har-working conflicted's" financial future.
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Old 02-10-2009, 01:57 PM   #13
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I agree that the OP needs some sort of treatment for his/her addiction.

Investment-wise, I'd suggest CDs and bonds at the present time.
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Better Young and Stupid
Old 02-10-2009, 02:00 PM   #14
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Better Young and Stupid

than old and stupid. So you are ahead of many people, including yours truly too much of the time.

Ha
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Old 02-10-2009, 02:11 PM   #15
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There are many things to address.... what about relationships? Maybe getting married with kids some day (they cost a LOT more than I thought!!! that is kids and wife )

As to your gambling... with losing as much as you have it is a sickness and you can not find a medium... you are either sick and gambling or sick and NOT gambling... there is no cure...

My BIL tried to do what you did... I went with him to Vegas once and saw him with over $70K in winnings in less than an hour... I went to a show and came back and he had lost it all and an additional $50K... he could not afford to lose that much, but he did it anyhow... I am not sure how much he lost over the years, but he always said he was 'ahead of them'... but when he died we found out the truth and my sister was not in as good of financial situation as she should have been... there was more to it than gambling as he had stopped doing it a couple of decades ago, but who knows how big a hole he dug and maybe never got out...

BTW, he knew a few of the owners and head managers so he was always comped... so if you are not being comped on your rooms, flights, food etc. you are not going to the right places...
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Old 02-10-2009, 06:13 PM   #16
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I wanted to thank everyone for their replies, It is some of the most honest, genuine, and realistic responses and advice I've received to date.

Family or friends would just tell me over the years that I either am insane, mentally ill, don't believe it, think I have a learning disability, and some have even written me off.

Reading some of the responses have confirmed some of the thoughts I have had in my head while others have given me some hope.

With that said, I am going to respond to some posts directly with quotes.
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Old 02-10-2009, 06:30 PM   #17
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Conflicted,

I think you are still young enough to change your behavior. I hope so.

If you don't, I am afraid you will be doomed. If you enter a relationship without fixing the problem I fear you will either find an enabler, which will not help anything, or end up hiding the problem, which will destroy the relationship.

Please get some help ASAP. For Chrissake, do not become a day trader.

If you need an outlet, consider buying individual high dividend-paying stocks and never selling them. That should give you plenty of an adrenalin rush. Buy CDs with the dividends and don't look back.
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Old 02-10-2009, 06:40 PM   #18
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No plans to get married or have kids, I have even considered a vasectomy to make sure that would not happen by accident.

I have tried GA and found that didn't work for me. The truth in your post frightened me the most when I read it. I haven't really thought of it that way but it confirmed the sick feeling I always feel in my stomach no matter what I do. The part of your post I am talking about is where you mentioned that there is no cure, there is no happy medium, I will live with it whether I decide to gamble or not. That idea the "sickness" will always be there...is a feeling of being cursed.

To comment on what you saw your BIL do in Vegas, times that by 4 and that is almost identical to what happens to me that wipes me out.

This post was an eye opener.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas Proud View Post
There are many things to address.... what about relationships? Maybe getting married with kids some day (they cost a LOT more than I thought!!! that is kids and wife )

As to your gambling... with losing as much as you have it is a sickness and you can not find a medium... you are either sick and gambling or sick and NOT gambling... there is no cure...

My BIL tried to do what you did... I went with him to Vegas once and saw him with over $70K in winnings in less than an hour... I went to a show and came back and he had lost it all and an additional $50K... he could not afford to lose that much, but he did it anyhow... I am not sure how much he lost over the years, but he always said he was 'ahead of them'... but when he died we found out the truth and my sister was not in as good of financial situation as she should have been... there was more to it than gambling as he had stopped doing it a couple of decades ago, but who knows how big a hole he dug and maybe never got out...

BTW, he knew a few of the owners and head managers so he was always comped... so if you are not being comped on your rooms, flights, food etc. you are not going to the right places...
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Old 02-10-2009, 06:54 PM   #19
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Thank you for your reply. I wanted to mention that your statement about relationships rings very true for me. May even be the reason why I can't even fathom marriage or kids.

Few people mentioned CDs and I will have to look into that as a way of locking things up. Some people mentioned Trusts, I especially like the idea of using a trust, I have purchased a book on forming one.

Everyone seems to be against day trading these days. Ill have to start another tread about that some day.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed_The_Gypsy View Post
Conflicted,

I think you are still young enough to change your behavior. I hope so.

If you don't, I am afraid you will be doomed. If you enter a relationship without fixing the problem I fear you will either find an enabler, which will not help anything, or end up hiding the problem, which will destroy the relationship.

Please get some help ASAP. For Chrissake, do not become a day trader.

If you need an outlet, consider buying individual high dividend-paying stocks and never selling them. That should give you plenty of an adrenalin rush. Buy CDs with the dividends and don't look back.
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Old 02-10-2009, 07:15 PM   #20
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This rings very true, I always thought I could control it, and I would have winning streaks for months on end, only do give up the combined win of all those months + plus everything else in 1 day.

I have been delusional thinking otherwise, reading it on the screen actually helped me realize that.

What kind of job was this that fielded so many of those type of calls? a hotline or a bankruptcy law office?

I have read from many of you say that there is not a happy medium because it is what it is, an addiction. I was hoping to find an excuse to continue somehow but reading out loud some of your replies tell me it just doesn't make any sense to do so. So I must give this up. The hardest part will just be the next 6 months for me. Starting from square one is not easy but i have done it 3 times before in the past.


Quote:
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When I had a j*b we used to field at least 50 calls a week from people whose spouses were gambling addicts and had put the family in bankruptcy because of their losses. It is an addiction and you cannot control it. Go get some help now before you get in serious trouble.
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