LIVING CORAM DEO
Wednesday, 22 November, 2017
A Piggy Bank Raider

A Piggy Bank Raider

A Piggy Bank Raider.

Angie was a full-time homemaker to her family that included three children, two girls and a boy. Except for the youngest girl, the others were in elementary school. John, Angie’s husband, was an accountant but had a history of accumulating gambling debts throughout his adult life. However, with Angie’s prudent budgeting, they were more or less able to live on their savings, after settling his loan repayments in the past.

John came from quite a wealthy background, and his father, uncles and aunts were all into horse-races betting, 4-digit lottery ticketing, visiting casinos and illegal gambling dens, and penny stock short-term buying and selling. In that environment, it seemed inevitable that John became schooled in the gambling arts since he was a teenager. His proficiency was renowned in high school, and he ran a personalised service for students coming from better-off backgrounds, who had healthier allowances to fund their curiosities or budding addictions in financial risk-taking. It was a lifestyle that Angie was fully cognisant when she married John, and tolerated for many years. What made it more tolerable was that John was sufficiently adept at consistently making huge gains apart from the losses that inevitably came with this sideline.

The economic recession some years ago did nothing to inhibit his gambling habit. One day, Tina, their youngest child, came running to Angie holding the broken pieces of her piggy bank. All her savings had disappeared. Brimming with anger and suspecting that John may be the culprit, she reassured her weeping daughter, promising that all her money would be returned. That evening, when the children had gone to bed, Angie confronted John. John had not only pilfered from his daughter but had also emptied their joint bank account, due to a huge shortfall sustained from investment losses. In the ensuing acrimonious argument, indignant at his behaviour, Angie drove John out of the house. John packed his bags and left the house that evening, to stay with his sister.

At this point, Angie was exasperated and presented for counselling. Her children of course missed their father, but she would not allow John to return home, unless he was willing to change his ways, as she was no longer confident she could trust him to tell the truth. John refused to divulge the amount of his indebtedness at the time. Apart from admitting that he had stolen Tina’s money, John refused to acknowledge that he had done anything wrong getting into debt; he claimed it was part and parcel of the up-and-downs of normal investment decisions.

Angie was wise to have set-up her own bank account, and this kept the broken family afloat for a while. She had also changed the door lock to their apartment. Three months on, Angie found some part-time work to supplement the family’s expenses and consulted a lawyer. Six months after he left home, John eventually consented to accompany Angie for counselling as a couple, and agreed to find a solution for his gambling habit. This apparent breakthrough was due largely to Angie’s submission of her legal separation and divorce notice to him. It was her last chance for John!

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