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Addiction and Debt Problems: How to Deal With Them

“John hangs his head in shame. He knows better. He can’t believe that he got himself into this. What started as a fun pastime has turned into a nightmare. He started playing online poker as a pastime. During the pandemic everyone was home. It was a small space. He needed some time to himself so he tucked himself away in the den and played online games. He always had a passion for card games. As a teenager he hung out with his friends and they played for loose change. It never got out of control. How did it come to this? He lost over $30,000. The stress of keeping this from his wife was making him ill. He finally confessed.”

Addiction & debt. One of these is enough to cripple someone. The two combined are a recipe for disaster. 

Recently, our very own Matt Fader, was invited to speak on the Debt Matters podcast about this very topic.

Millions of Canadians struggle with addiction and debt. Our concept about addictions has changed over the years. With the ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, many seemingly innocent online activities can be turning into addictions without being noticed. 

So, let’s take a look at how addictions can affect household debt.

Addictions are not as easy to spot these days. Online gambling and shopping have evolved over time. Historically, the word addiction was synonymous with substance abuse. That still exists, of course, but now, with our ever-growing access to easy technology, there are more temptations. Things like pay-to-win and pay-to-play type apps. What seems like small purchases with no impact can add up to very big problems.

Quick survey for those reading this – who has paid for an app, an upgrade or some other online game? I bet most of your hands are raised. It is that prevalent and that easy.

What’s causing this increase? People are bored. And bored easily. We are constantly engaged these days. It is so easy to hop on our phone and indulge in a pastime while sitting at the doctor’s office, waiting in traffic (illegal, don’t do that!), or avoiding your chores (that one was for my kids). 

It can be a quiet addiction.

It’s one that often goes undetected by both the person with the addiction and their family and friends. As an example, if someone goes to a casino on a regular basis, it’s pretty obvious what’s happening. But someone on their phone? That’s normal. Nothing to see here! Until the bills come in, and you see where your money is going.

And this addiction can take on various forms. I can hit this point home with one word. Amazon. Yup, online shopping. We have all heard of Retail Therapy. Well guess what?  You don’t have to leave the house and go to a store now. With the click of a button you can have, literally, anything you want. Online shopping grew exponentially during the pandemic. And I would venture a guess that it is not going to decline any time soon.

These are just some of the topics covered in this podcast.

Marketing on addiction and debt problems

Matt also discusses how marketing impacts us in terms of encouraging us to spend more of our hard-earned dollars, the common misconceptions about addiction and debt, and who it impacts. He offers some advice for those struggling with the addiction including tips for couples on money management.  

But don’t take my word for it. Click here to listen to the full interview:
Addiction and Debt Problems: How to Deal With Them

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Mary-Ann Marriott

Mary Ann has been working in the insolvency industry for 25 years. In 2005 Mary Ann received her Chartered Insolvency & Restructuring Professional (CIRP) designation and attained her license as a Licensed Insolvency Trustee (LIT) in 2014. She is passionate about helping others become financially literate, and has been a guest speaker to various groups and organizations on the topic of Money Management. Mary-Ann also hosts a weekly radio show, as a volunteer in her community. Her tagline is “Helping you have happier, healthier finances”.