You’ve turned your financial life around from a very difficult situation. Would you mind talking us through it?
I would rather describe my financial life as a work in progress. I have a lot of debts as a consequence of my gambling addiction and paying them back and restructuring them is a lengthy process. I don’t have a pension, a home or any other assets.
How would you describe your relationship with your bank and finances at the time?
I didn’t have a healthy relationship with my bank. Credit was fuel for the fire – of gambling – and my financial relationship with banks was all about keeping the credit bubble just afloat enough to sustain my gambling. At times I had some very big paychecks coming in, and this unfortunately helped enough to keep the credit flowing, even when signs of disorderly finances were visible.
What was the trigger to you making the positive changes?
Because of the complexity of my struggle, this isn’t an easy question to answer. The consequences of gambling addiction are ultimately living a disordered life that feels a bit like a cauldron of chaos, affecting everything from family, friends, employment, and financial relationships through to health and even keeping a roof over your head.
Since my early twenties, I’d accepted that I had a gambling addiction and I sought help to get well and recover from it. Unfortunately there were a number of factors that prevented me from overcoming this sooner, but when I did find the right support, that helped me to find the right tools to better navigate my life and my finances. StepChange, Money Advice Service or the Citizens Advice Service are good places to start for support.
How did you go about doing that?
It sounds simple, but I just kept picking myself up and trying again. Never give up!
How did you come across Starling, and what made you choose us?
I’m very interested in the challenger bank market as a whole, as I feel that they offer more far more innovation whilst seeking to be much more financially inclusive than the mainstream banks. In addition I’ve been looking for a bank that could develop spending controls for gambling transactions. It was this research that led me to find and approach Starling Bank.
I love the app’s features, like the security controls that I’ve found I can also use to add extra friction on certain payment methods, for example, switching various card functions on and off.