Talk Wealth to Me

#035: The Cost of Addiction

March 06, 2020 Felipe Arevalo, Chase Peckham, Katie Utterback, Catherine Seeber Season 2 Episode 9
Talk Wealth to Me
#035: The Cost of Addiction
Show Notes Transcript

18.7 million people in the United States are addicted to or dependent on alcohol. An estimated 3.6 million Americans are addicted to or dependent on a wide range of drugs. Many are addicted to more than one. 

Millions more are functionally addicted to things we don't consider drugs, like tobacco, caffeine, and food, as well as to activities such as gambling, shopping, sex, and spending time on the Internet.

Addictions are at an all-time high in the U.S., and as a result, our life expectancy has been reduced. 

Financial disaster is also common to all forms of addiction. 

Why? 

Because more and more money is needed to fund the habit, leaving bills, rent, and mortgages unpaid. Money may be “borrowed” or outright stolen. Credit cards are maxed out, savings accounts are depleted, and getting more of our vice becomes the primary role of our next paycheck. 

Think about it: A cheap six-pack of beer can cost $5 while smoking a pack of cigarettes each day costs about $7. If you buy a 6-pack daily, that's about $150 per month or nearly $1,000 after six months! This is not sustainable for anyone. 

For many addicts, their "rock bottom" comes when they're evicted, unable to pay rent or are fired from their job for stealing money or office supplies from work. Some lose their vehicles, while others resort to committing crimes or even becoming sex workers just to make ends meet.

On this episode, we'll explore:

  • What are some of the ways addiction affects you and your loved ones financially in the short and long-term? 
  • Can you declare bankruptcy for debts you incurred in order to get your "fix"?
  • What about cash? Is there a safer way to give money to someone in recovery? 
  • And most importantly we'll talk about steps you can take to recover your finances:
  1. Get back into the workforce
  2. Create a workable budget
  3. Open a savings account and add a small amount of money to it each week
  4. Begin to rebuild your credit score

About Catherine Seeber
Cathy Seeber is a vice president and financial advisor at CAPTRUST. She has worked in the industry since 1998 and her advice has been featured in a variety of national, local and industry media outlets, including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Financial Planning, Fox Business and MarketWatch; she is also a guest columnist for Financial Advisor.

About the Show
Comments, questions or suggestions for the show? Email us at [email protected]

To learn more about DebtWave Credit Counseling, visit our website or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

To learn more about the San Diego Financial Literacy Center, visit our website or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

Support the show (https://www.sdflc.org/help-sdflc/donate/)
Intro:

Welcome to Talk Wealth to Me a safe space podcast where we chat about anything and everything related to personal finance.

Felipe Arevalo:

The information contained in this podcast is for educational and entertainment purposes only. It does not constitute as accounting, legal, tax or other professional advice.

Chase Peckham:

Hello and welcome to another edition of Talk Wealth to Me. 3.6 million people in the United States are addicted or dependent on a wide range of drugs or alcohol. In fact, there are about 18.7 million alcoholics in the US. Today, we sit down with Catherine Seeber who is the vice president of CAPTRUST and a financial advisor. And she talks in depth about how the world of addiction can affect personal finance and what she has seen through the years, both personally and professionally and how this disease has its effects on not only personal finance but families and then the generations afterwards. You won't want to miss this.

Catherine Seeber:

When we somebody who knows somebody who knows somebody, everybody. Everybody has a story. Everybody has a suggestion.

Chase Peckham:

Yeah, well, I mean on , on that end , um, you know, when we talk about everybody knows people that have friends or loved ones or acquaintances, coworkers that have battled something like that , um, whether it be drugs or alcohol , um, even, you know, to a certain degree, which they're semi relatable , um, with uh, mental health situations and sometimes those lead to substance abuse . Um, but from the financial standpoint, it obviously that is a huge involvement. Uh, in this scenario. And I read your article that you wrote and regarding the signs and those things that you are looking that , that don't, you're not necessarily looking for, but by having withdrawals, I would really love you to talk about that, to open it up on just how somebody in your scenario being a financial advisor , you obviously get very close. When is it your place to, or is it your place to either go to them or a loved one or a family member?

Catherine Seeber:

Right. And you need permission to do that. So I'll talk about that as well. Um, th that is a sticky situation and , and I guess if you want to look at the landscape of financial advisors , number one, they're afraid to talk about it cause they don't know how. But number two, they don't think it is their place. And it's so not true because they're the first point of entry. They're typically the first person who realizes that there's an issue because of the odd erratic behavior. So , um , it is up to them, but it's not, it's not to say that they have to be the expert, they just have to surround themselves with experts.

Katie Utterback:

Well, I want to follow up on that too, because on our show we've talked to people who've mentioned that when you're working with couples, for example, sometimes you're playing the role of kind of a relationship counselor. So do you kind of view your position as maybe evolving with the times and do you think there's going to be more of, I don't want to say a pressure, but is that going to become part of the job to start kind of looking for signs that based on someone's financial habits, that they may be struggling with some kind of addiction?

Catherine Seeber:

Yeah, and there's all different kinds of transition traits that people go through and there are tools that you should have in your back pocket in order to deal with those things because your emotion affects your money behavior, right? And you're , so all of that ties in together. So if you're not versed in having those really tough conversations, you really can't help somebody to the degree that you should be. So I'm a firm believer in that. I have a certification in financial transitions for that reason because I was very uncomfortable having those kinds of conversations. Unfortunately , I was, I was taking the core , I was getting my certification through the years that my son was actually , um, in his darkest days. And so I had to it when I started speaking publicly about it, it's like I had to look back inside and say, I'm not even using all these things I'm telling other people to do. You know, I can take the test but I'm not walking the walk. So that's why I became so passionate about teaching other advisers what their role really is in this type of situation.

Chase Peckham:

So talk about that a little bit because I would imagine that we're not, and you're not a licensed therapist , um, but at the same time you have an obligation to protect whatever assets your client has at the time and the fam , whatever situation that might be in. How do you approach that?

Catherine Seeber:

There's a lot of different ways and it, and it really depends on the situation. So for example, I have a client who had an immense amount of , um, money thrown her way over night because the divorce that she was going through , um, actually the, he died during the divorce. And so instead of getting it , uh , amount of money over a period of time, she got that money literally overnight. And she, I felt it was her responsibility to keep giving her son who has three times the amount of money that he, that she had money to go run a business, go do this, go do that. Because of the relationship between the son and the father was never a good one. And you keep running the numbers, you know, and that's what you have to do. You have to say things five times, seven times, 14 times before it sinks in. But one of those situations like that is you run the numbers, say, okay, I get it. You want to help him? Whatever it is, you can help out of guilt. You can help out of addiction. You can help an elderly family member. But in this situation, I said, you're gonna run out of money. I don't care how much you have. If you spend at this rate, you're going to run out of money. So how about the day you've got to go knock on your son's door and say, I need help. Can you financially support me? So for all the reasons that a lot of people and a lot of industry pundents say, you know, don't enable your children. It's the same situation with the , with the a lot of other addictions that people might have.

Katie Utterback:

Well, I like what you said too about kind of flipping that conversation around and kind of getting that individual to recognize when that money runs out, it's also running out for you too. And what are you going to do when that happens? Cause I think sometimes, especially , um, those of us who are maybe more codependent or an enabling type personality, we may be the person that's thinking like, well, what are they going to eat if they don't have money? Or where are they gonna sleep? Or they at least need a cell phone. But , um, it just kinda sounds like from kind of researching this topic that those are some items that can then be sold. And it's just kinda like the cycle repeating. So because of that kind of enabling support from family and loved ones, do you notice the financial impact more of the person who is addicted or the family and loved ones. Like are you noticing that their bank accounts are kind of draining at a faster rate to try to help this person or is it kind of you see the addiction that individual, their finances get rocked a little bit quicker?

Catherine Seeber:

I've been exposed to both. I've been exposed to the mother helping a mentally disabled son and I've actually had a client who is the addict and there are, there's very, that they're two distinct ways of working with that. Um , the one, the mother helping her son. All I could do because she was confident it was the only thing to do and there wasn't anything I was going to say. She didn't care that she'd run out of money. All she wanted to do was help him get better. So I had to go in protect mode. Right. And so in those situations, I get a really good attorney to work with me on protecting her assets. What would happen if she passed away? Is he the executor of her estate? Those are the things, that's the only thing I'm able to do in those situations. And the one where the client is the addict, those are just very forthright conversations. You know, you can continue going down this line, but here are some resources. So I've got my back pocket full of all these different people that they should talk to and they're , and they're using their credit card for an inpatient stay. I said, did you realize that you qualify for all of this aid? Pick up the phone. So I give them all the hotlines, all the different options that are available to them for free that they don't even know about because all they want is to get better. And they don't care how much it costs.

Katie Utterback:

Oh yeah, I noticed that too. It seems like, you know, at first when we were researching this topic for this show, I was thinking more about the financial impact of actually kind of feeding that addiction, whether that be alcohol, some kind of drug, shopping , um , paying for Yeah. Paying for the habit. But now it seems like even the treatment or the recovery that has a huge financial impact. And to your point, it seems like most people don't care what it costs. They just want to be better.

Catherine Seeber:

Right? And the unfortunate thing, Katie, is that it repeats itself and it's not just a one and done. Any addict will tell you seven, eight, 10, 12 treatments before it actually sticks or not. Those are the only two options, right ? Right. Recovering or not recover

Chase Peckham:

Recover or not. Right?

Katie Utterback:

Well and you don't get a refund, if rehab doesn't work, right? Like you're still responsible. And I, I can't imagine what it's like to, to kind of hit a rock bottom, go to rehab to try to get better. And now I'm kind of thrown right back into my, the financial mess that I left with.

Catherine Seeber:

Right? So think of yourself as an addict, right? I mean, as, as, as, as , um, law abiding citizens have a difficult time when they get that bill in the mail and they , Oh my God, how can I pay for that? Well, think about it. If you can't get a job, you need more medical treatment, and you owe this bill. So what are you going to give up first? Right? So it's kind of like, it's, it's such a sad, cyclical situation and that's, and I , I kind of moved my , um, focus from helping advisors and having conversations to what are those things available for the addict when they are recovering. Because money is the biggest source of relapse for a lot of reasons. One, they just are in so much despair, they don't care. So they just want to use and leave this lovely earth or they are just so caught up with all of the bills. They don't see a way out. So they've got to rely on someone else. So in those situations, they really just have to, they have to have their own community. They have to be around everyone else who's suffering from the same thing. Um, money isn't bad, but it is for them because if they're walking down the street and they've got $10 in their pocket and they're heading to get a haircut and somebody approaches them on a street corner, that $10 is gone. They've, they just relapsed. So there are companies now realizing that like true link financial who have debit cards that are made solely for that purpose and the sober living homes actually hold onto that debit card. They have to feel like normal individuals. You can't put them in society and make them feel isolated. That's what got them into the problem in the first time in the first place. So you have to make them feel like normal, valuable citizens. And there's a lot of different ways that you can do that, but our society doesn't know how.

Felipe Arevalo:

Yeah. So do you feel that the , the access or knowledge of more resources , um, that could help alleviate some of the financial burden or individuals who take advantage of that? Do you think they have a higher success rate of not fall , not relapsing?

Catherine Seeber:

Absolutely. And you know why? Because they're , they now feel a sense of accountability, you know, they're now responsible for themselves and it feels kinda good.

Katie Utterback:

You know, I like how you, you phrase that too , that it's accountability for themselves. And we've talked on the show that it's called personal finance for a reason. And I can see in this too that there are some people that give the advice to only use cash when buying things. But for somebody who's recovering, I mean you're , I've struggled with addiction before. Um, with shopping, I used a lot of retail therapy. One could argue I've had caffeine, chocolate addictions too. And it's interesting how quick I'm willing to spend money on that stuff, but I'm not willing to do other things for myself. That would be maybe be more beneficial. Um, but to your point, if I have cash, I'm way more likely to spend that on something versus if I have to use a card for it. Well maybe I can't use the card for whatever reason at a store or something that's going to prevent me from, you know, I guess carrying out my addiction one more time. But that's just another part of finance that I never really thought about was that the type of money that you're using could be a trigger.

Catherine Seeber:

Well, and you just said it. Um , and you made me think something because you don't know it, but subliminally you want boundaries. Why do people do a budget? Because they want a boundary. You know, you wanted a boundary . So everybody wants a limit. They just, they don't admit it. They don't want to be told what to do. But Oh my gosh, they so rely on that because there's otherwise there's no measurement to anything. Right. It's unlimited.

Chase Peckham:

It's funny you mentioned that because I was teaching a class this morning and that, that word limit cause I , I w I always ask at the very beginning of what they, the word budget, what comes to mind and they say , uh, at the kid today, first raised his hand, he said limited. Um, and I said, so is that a positive word to you? And he said sometimes and sometimes not. And I said, well, you just summed up a budget right there . They think of it as I'm being told I need restraint and I'm being told that I can't have. And they don't like that. Yet. At the same time, if they flip the script and look at it like a roadmap or a detailed description of what is to come, they feel more comfortable with it. And it's interesting psychologically how people can look at money in so many different ways and based on if you are struggling and you tell me, but if you're a struggling with an addiction or something that you feel your body needs to get on with your life, you're willing to pay and go over those limits.

Catherine Seeber:

Yeah. And you bring up another good point. There's so many different facets to this , um, when, when you deal with any addiction or instability and money , um , that the most recent article that I was working with , um, a couple of months ago had to do with whether or not the more affluent families were the ones that had the more , um, high incidents of use of addiction. And that's really kind of hard to judge because you don't really know about a lot of those families because they can hide it better. Right. They can, you know, grandma likes her Kool-Aid at night and everybody laughs , but it's, you know, it's really, it's a serious incident that no one, everybody shuns it. Um, so to your point, as far as that limit that I really wish that he, I know that he felt like somebody was telling him what to do. But just like if you were dealing with, if you were sitting down with a couple and one wife think the wife thinks the husband overspends with his toys and, and he thinks that she shops too much, right? And you're talking about that you can turn a limit into an opportunity. And what I mean by that is they come to some mutual agreement , uh , how much they're going to spend monthly and whatever they don't, they put into something good. So a car or a vacation or more money in their child's 529. So if you just kind of flip the mindset reset around some of those issues, you can really see a transfer of, Oh, it's a boundary. No, but it's also an opportunity.

Chase Peckham:

So now, now you've led me to this question in going, there's so many directions we can go with this. You when it comes to the substance abuse, what are the things that really stand out to you that would throw up caution flags in your mind? What are those things where you're going, okay, I am pretty sure in my experience that so-and-so is dealing with something and we need to help he or her?

Catherine Seeber:

The phone stops ringing. It's all done by emails.

Chase Peckham:

Really? That's interesting. In this day and age even.

Catherine Seeber:

Yeah, because they want to do it at nighttime when they know it's the first thing I see in the morning. Or if it's something they need a transfer that day, they'll do it right before the deadline. Knowing that I have no choice but to do it and ask questions later.

Chase Peckham:

Tricky.

Catherine Seeber:

Oh, people who want something, find very creative ways to do it.

Chase Peckham:

And so how many times does something like that have to happen before you start to raise questions?

Catherine Seeber:

Not very many to be honest with you because I know them so well. I know when there's erratic behavior and you know it doesn't even have to be somebody taking it out for a malicious reason. In today's day and age. Another issue that you really have to be cognitive set off is that they're not of sound mind. There are some instances where people are making bad decisions just because they're , um , suffering with onset of dementia or , um, elder care abuse. I mean there's, there's a lot of things that could trigger a request like that.

Chase Peckham:

I don't think people appreciate how much responsibility financial planners have.

Felipe Arevalo:

Right? You can save someone even from like a, an online scam or something.

Catherine Seeber:

You very much so, and you, and, and you, you mentioned it earlier, Chase, it's like people don't want to be told what to do. And , and the, the female client that I was referring to earlier that would just kept throwing all of this money at her son. Um, she would call me and tell me there was just one more thing. She was gonna pay. Just one more thing, this one more thing. And I said, you know, I feel like I've become your little kazoo . You remember the Flintstones where you go on your shoulder and say, you know, don't spend that money or spend that money. You know, always telling them a bad thing to do. And I said, I don't want to be that person that you hate to call, so I'm not your conscience. You know, you're , you're transferring that bad conscience onto me and let's talk about that. And those really are the conversations that I have. And so she, she knows what she wants to do. She'll rationalize why she needs to do it. I don't need to give her permission, but somehow after I've asked her to ask herself certain questions, it just stops because she realizes, not that she's trying to get away with something, but there's a bigger reason why she's, she's asking for those things.

Katie Utterback:

I want to kind of follow up on that point in terms of enabling, it seems like addiction and then the related financial issues. It seems like there's a genetic component. So sometimes the, the addiction, the trauma from it and the financial fallout can kind of carry on for generations. Um, so I wanted to ask you, because it seems like, especially with the opioid epidemic going on, South Dakota even had that whole campaign that went viral. What was it like meth were on it. Um, so I'm curious, are people coming to you now and trying to create emergency savings accounts in the event that their children or another one of their children may need to go to rehab? Like are you seeing anybody put money aside for potential treatment for that?

Catherine Seeber:

To be honest, now I don't think anybody wants to even be proactive enough to go that direction. I mean, look, it's hard enough for people to get them to do a will cause they don't want to think about dying. Do you think that, so it's the same. They don't want to think about the potential of someone in their family being - but I do see a lot of people protecting in advance. Um, you know, estate planning has become less cookie cutter and more customized for that reason. Um , there is a lot of nuances to the estate documents that you can say if, then or but,um , in the event of, and so it's always better to put that kind of language in then to just say, I will give X.

Katie Utterback:

Well, I didn't realize two with a trust that you can have someone like for example , um, if I was struggling with addiction and my parents had left me money, I didn't realize that there was somebody that could manage that money for me. Trustee. To ensure that I didn't blow it on whatever vice I was struggling with.

Chase Peckham:

they can , and you can answer me this, they can put stipulations based on that. They will only get this money if they've been sober for a period of time and, and, and , uh , finished rehab or whatever it is. They can put that language into the trust, can't they?

Catherine Seeber:

They can, they can. But I caution people to give a date and time because an addict can stay sober until that 25th hour. Um, so a date and time is not necessarily a good way to handle that. Um, there are stipulations that someone can pay things for you. I've seen that that causes a problem. Depends on who the trustee is.

Chase Peckham:

Yeah I was gonna say if that's family, that could be very dangerous.

Catherine Seeber:

Yeah. You don't, you don't want the sibling, for example, to be the trustee. Right . I mean, think of the dynamics of that after the parents pass. Um, the , sometimes I've seen in creative ways of having actually 18 of trustees , um, and much more ultra high net worth situations so that they're making a collective decision and no one's a bad guy. Um, I do think it's a little sad. There are some trustees that are just afraid and fearful and they'll make poor decisions. So one of the toughest things, I think any family who has someone with special needs and or addiction or mental health or whatever the case may be, the toughest decision anyone has to make is who that trustee is going to be.

Chase Peckham:

That could be a huge weight on somebody's shoulders. It's a big responsibility to carry out someone's wishes, one just from the emotional standpoint, but two, as you mentioned, being, feeling that, am I making the right decision here? And looking at those rules. I mean, you as anybody, you can look at language and interpret them in many different ways. So having somebody like an attorney or somebody kind of standing outside could be a better play in some cases, wouldn't you say?

Catherine Seeber:

Yeah. It takes the emotion out of it. Cause um , I , I have one client whose um, aunt passed away and the two nieces got the inheritance. One niece got millions and millions of dollars. One got $350,000. Big difference. Yeah. So the one that got the $350,000 doesn't know the other one got all the other one. But, unfortunately the aunt left the other one who got all the money as trustee. So there's an email every month of the $350,000 sister who says, my car broke down, I couldn't work this week because I wasn't feeling, well when is my money coming?

Katie Utterback:

Oh wow.

Catherine Seeber:

And so I just step in and I tell my other client, you can tell her I've got to check in with my financial advisor.

Katie Utterback:

Well and right there that kind of, that sense of entitlement is that a good indication that someone may be struggling with some kind of vice ? Cause I know just from being around people who've struggled with addiction before, it seems like there is a sense of entitlement. Like, I deserve this because I did this or I had to go through this, so I'm going to do this. Is that your experience too?

Catherine Seeber:

I think entitlement has become a generational thing. No, I'm , I'm all kidding aside.

Chase Peckham:

We could do another podcast by the way, just on that.

Catherine Seeber:

Um, there are those , um, and again, that's a very individual thing, but there are as there is a sense of entitlement. Um, again, getting back to your, don't tell me what to do. Um, situation . So in a , in a situation where that trustee was left with that, she, she kind of, she doesn't have a hard stop on those requests. Only because of the emotion of the passing of the aunt. You not only have a responsibility, you also just lost somebody, right ? So you're, you know, you're, you're dealing with, Oh , the , the , the feeling of I should make her feel better by giving her more so, and everybody has a money story and I actually ask everybody that I work with, what's your money story? How did your parents save for vacations? Did your mother and father think about money the same way? You know, and you learn so much about them.

Chase Peckham:

How often do your clients know when you ask them that question, how many clients actually say, well my mom and dad did this, this way and how many say I have no clue. I just know we went on a vacation.

Catherine Seeber:

That's such a great question because then you could turn that into then what, what is the perception of your children?

Felipe Arevalo:

That's true. To turn it around to have them like what are you teaching them type of thing? When we do our presentations, that's one of the things with budgeting that we do a lot is people's perception of money and it has a lot to do with their parents and but also has lots to do with their personality. Cause you might have siblings brought up the same way who turn out to be completely different , uh, sides of the spectrum. My brother and I were taught the same way. He , I learned money the hard way afterwards and he just kinda had it figured out. Um,

Chase Peckham:

cause he was a born saver and you were a born spender.

Felipe Arevalo:

and he's a type a personality.

Chase Peckham:

He likes to be in control of his situation.

Felipe Arevalo:

So I guess that kind of leads to , uh , when it comes to finances and addiction, the neverending psychology question, nature versus nurture? Can an upbringing or is it more of a this person was going to be , uh , more of a spender or more likely to a overspend type of thing?

Catherine Seeber:

I would , I would definitely say it's based on their experience over time. Um, you know, there are, there are very wealthy people who are frugal because that's what they are used to and that's, they feel it's their responsibility. Their view of money is a tool for necessities, not something to um, take advantage of.

Chase Peckham:

You want to talk about this generation, I mean you , and you mentioned entitlement, the period of time that you grow up in that you experience can have a huge effect on that. And if you look at like my grandparents who grew up in the depression and they made a fine living but they didn't spend anything because it could, that's just the way they saw it when they were super young.

Catherine Seeber:

So Chase, what do you see happening to the generation that just inherited all of that?

Chase Peckham:

I think there was, it's - I don't want to speak in large generalities, but from what I see a lot, if you're talking about you talking about the generation of my parents then and how they reacted after that? So my, my parents, I think it's changed a bit. And , and what I mean by that is my dad knew the history of what his parents went through. His parents brought him up a certain way, so he had a lot of the same values that my grandfather had. Then he's the, he handed it down to me. Everything kind of, even though he thought he handed down those same, the same teachings, let's say, it wasn't quite as strong. And I got my own view on things and I was a little bit less frugal with money. I also grew up in the generation where credit cards became very , um, they , they , they were just part of life and we were introduced to them and they became something that we just used, even though we didn't know how to use them. But I do see as the generations have gone on that money is seen more as uh , just something that I'm entitled to versus something that you need to use on a day to day basis for the future of your family.

Catherine Seeber:

Well, at CAPTRUST, you know, the financial advisors that we have lead with the question of what's your goal for this money? And you can give them a list of various options because sometimes people look at you with a kind of glossy look on their face. They don't know. But you can say, you know, is it your goal that when you pass this money along that you lived a full and vibrant life and your goal is your kids have made their own wealth. Is your goal to leave a lot of money to a specific charity or is your goal just to pass the wealth down to the next generation and you just live within your means? Those questions end up telling you a lot because the ones who don't want to end up with anything and just show me, you know, my money runs out at 110 because that's unfortunately how long you have to run it out to now. Um , you can show them different ways in which they can accomplish that. But your generation speaking to what you just said, Chase, it was their responsibility. They felt it was their responsibility to pass on as much as they could to the next generation and sacrificing their own well-being for them without question. But you can also argue that those generations also were akin to taking care of their elders. So they do that. They could rely on those children to house them, to take care of them, to make sure that the last few days of their lives were fulfilled and they gave those children the responsibility of that money in order to be able to do so in their best interests. That's not our generation today.

Chase Peckham:

What do you see as our generation today?

Catherine Seeber:

Scared. I , I , I see the baby boomers, they don't talk about running out of money anymore. I mean that used to be what keeps you up at night. I'm going to run out of money. It's, I'm going to live too long and I've got eight years of a declining health and I don't want anybody taking care of me.

Katie Utterback:

Well so how would you like to see the financial industry evolve to better help people in their recovery?

Catherine Seeber:

Katie, why did I ask that? I state that the answer to that question. Right .

Katie Utterback:

Well I guess, I mean let me just ask you this then. Is it more educational? Like is it going to take more podcasts, more blog posts, more people just acknowledging that they've struggled and until we're willing to talk about this, like we're willing talk about our sex lives after like the sex in the city era. Cause it kind of seems like it shifted where there's, you know, survey after survey now where women are happy to talk about their sex lives with their friends. But don't you dare ask me how much money I make. So I'm just curious. Is that, is addiction kind of similar in the financial impact of it? Do we just need to talk about it more?

Catherine Seeber:

You're absolutely correct it correct. And you can actually give another example of AIDS. Okay. AIDS was a serious epidemic. Addiction is an epidemic. They're on the same, you know, 2017 the US department of health said we are in an opioid epidemic. And so as soon as somebody has recognized that and stated that and put that front and center, you now see people starting to talk about it, educated, accept it. See there's a, you want to ignore someone with AIDS, two, it doesn't happen on my street. It's in the community next door. That's exactly what happened with mental health. And then it was okay. Then it became Vogue that everybody had their own therapist. Right? Oh, my therapist today, she's like nails done and just, you know , um, and the push to make a good person because you were willing to get help - it humbled you in some sense. And I see the same thing to your question. I don't have an answer, but I see that same trend. So now those the addiction, now it's front and center. People are talking about it. It's okay. You're not a bad person or society.

Katie Utterback:

I bet that's key too. In terms of recovery with not just trying to spend, spend, spend or try to fill up whatever void that is with whatever vice you have. I'm okay. I'm not a bad person. Addiction is a disease like you're saying, and if you happen to be someone who struggles with it, you're you. You're going to be okay. You can be okay. Your financial, your finances can be okay again.

Catherine Seeber:

you know, you just said a perfect word struggle. The struggle never ends. It doesn't. I still wake up in cold sweats when I get a phone call because I don't know what's on the other end of that phone. It's just now a new normal. It's acceptance. It's, it's setting expectations that are positive in nature. It's, it's realizing what you have saying, I'm an addict. Now, I need to take care of this. Go into a job interview and say, I'm an addict. I'm struggling. Please help me. And that person on the other side of that interview table, they know someone, they want to help. You might be monitored, you might be drug tested, and those are those barriers. They want it. Sure you give me a job, I'll come in every Monday morning and I'll take that drug test. But we need more advocates like that in society giving all these people a second chance. That's what I would like to see happen. So to your point, the only way we can do it is to educate them. They're not normal. I mean they're not abnormal. They're normal just like you and I just because he wanted a needle and you wanted a piece of chocolate doesn't make him any different.

Katie Utterback:

I agree.

Chase Peckham:

As we wrap this up, you as the financial advisor who has, you know, such a responsibility when working with your clients, at what point would, and maybe you don't have to, but at what point would you have to recuse yourself from a situation?

Catherine Seeber:

That's a really good question, chase. And it's a good one to end on. It's not an advisor's responsibility to make everything better. And I say , you said is there a different trend in advising now because the , you do have to get personal and you do have to have relationship skills. When I talk to people about helping them in their financial literacy, in their financial life and meeting their goals, I tell them, I'm co-creating with you. I'm not doing it. I don't want you to have to do it alone. We're doing this together. This the single point in time when a client no longer wants to help themselves, I'm done.

Katie Utterback:

How hard is that to, to for you to acknowledge to yourself and then to the client that you just can't continue?

Catherine Seeber:

I -I know it's in their best interest. It's just like the enabling parent.

Katie Utterback:

You have a very tough job.

Catherine Seeber:

I love my job because on the flip side of it, Katie, I get so much back I give five times back than what I give and it's when they call me up and say, I knew if I just picked up the phone and talked to you, I'd feel better. I didn't say anything that could have Googled and got , they just, you just have to care.

Chase Peckham:

Well, I think we'll finish it up this way and I , and this is what I'd say to you, that the one constant with technology as it as it is today and as advanced as it's going to get, you know, for our foreseeable future, that human interaction is the most precious thing we as human beings have. And knowing that you have somebody that has one, the knowledge and expertise in an area that you don't and that they have your best interests at heart can only make you feel not only like you're going to be in a good situation in the future as you're going to live to 110 but what kind of world would we live in when human interaction is no more anyway, I would go to sleep at night feeling much better knowing that it's not black and white. It's there's a human element to it.

Catherine Seeber:

People crave community.

Chase Peckham:

for sure.

Catherine Seeber:

Think about it. We all want to belong.

Chase Peckham:

Yep . There's no doubt.

Katie Utterback:

That's the perfect way to end it.

Chase Peckham:

Kathy. Thank you. Thank you so much for being here today. And , and I mean that kind of conversation. It's not an easy one. I mean, the one thing about dependency for all of us is the fact that any of us can be taken by it. Um, it's , it's not that person over there and it's not in my neighborhood. It affects all of us in many, many different ways. And you know, most people don't take into consideration the finances of it except that we hear horror stories of people going from the top to the streets. Um, but for people like yourselves that can engage and help him , I , it's it. People need help and , and whichever ways they can get it.

Catherine Seeber:

And I, and I think Chase to close the , the trends that I'm seeing since I started really diving into this subject and what the resources are. When you think of an addict, it's not that pop star that you see overdose. It's no longer the 18 to 25 year old that had succumb to peer pressure. We're moving into an era where there's, we're going to double the amount of people over the age of 65 in 2030. And these people are now the biggest trend of addicts. So we need to learn how to, like what we were saying, community, they can't, we can't isolate this generation. We have to learn how to deal with it. We have to think of things differently. Um, and we'll save that for the next podcast.

Chase Peckham:

Yes, I was going to say we're going to have to , uh , continue this at a later date. Big topic. It is. Yeah. You almost have to take it like a little bit one branch at a time. Yeah . Thank you very much. We really appreciate your time and we'll talk to you again soon. Thank you. Take care. Bye. Bye.