February 12, 2018 | Aging Gracefully, Money Matters

The Family Secret: Picking Up the Pieces from a Father’s Gambling Addiction

Open Account podcast: Season 3, Episode 4

Money is one of the toughest subjects for families to talk about openly. We all make financial choices we regret, and it’s not easy to own up to those choices, especially to the people we love. As difficult as these conversations are, they’re also profoundly necessary; secrets about money are often devastating to families.

On this episode of Open Account, three siblings share a deeply personal story, of how a bitter financial secret nearly destroyed their family’s livelihood. Growing up, all three remember their mother as quiet and frugal, while their father was a gregarious entertainer. Both parents worked hard to support the family; Mom was a nurse, and Dad owned a bar in their small town in the Pacific Northwest.

As adults, all three siblings learned the truth: Dad had a gambling addiction, which both parents had hidden. Over the years, he squandered the entire family fortune.

In American society, few things carry more shame than addiction—or financial trouble. However, when this family let go of that shame and started to work together, they could finally start to heal.

Listen to the full episode to hear how these siblings worked together to rebuild their family’s business, and come to terms with their father’s complicated legacy.

Open Account is a podcast that promotes real and necessary conversations about the role money plays in American life. It’s hosted by SuChin Pak, and brought to you by Umpqua Bank and Slate Group Studios.

Get new episodes of Open Account as soon as they’re released. Subscribe for free on iTunes or Stitcher.