My Money Mistake is a weekly PiggyVest series that explores the worst money mistakes real Nigerians have made, and the lessons they learnt from it.
For this week’s episode of My Money Mistake, we spoke to a 25-year-old POS attendant and trader who got into debt after gambling away his business income and personal savings. He tells us about how he got into gambling and his regrets from the experience.
Could you tell me about your money mistake?
After my education, I moved to Lagos to start my POS and retail business. During that period, one of the uncles in my neighbourhood introduced me to betting. I got so addicted that I abandoned everything else. I even employed someone to be in charge of the business while I focused on betting.
At first, it was going well and bringing me money. Then everything went haywire. It started sucking all my money, both personal and business funds. Before I knew it, everything was gone. I even took loans to finance the betting.
Wow. How much money were you making from your businesses before all of this?
In a week, I made about ₦15,000.
Was the profit from the gambling more than this?
Let me tell you something about gambling: Once you have a good start, it’s hard to stop. For example, with 2 odds, I can put in ₦10,000 and by the time a match ends in 90 minutes, my money has doubled. Nothing beats that kind of high.
At what point did things start getting really bad?
That was when I couldn’t sleep well at night. I got really addicted to it. I was always indoors, neglecting other responsibilities in my life and spending all my time betting.
Weren’t you worried when you stopped getting rewards from the bets?
Initially, I was getting rewards from it, so it didn’t really matter when I wasn’t getting constant rewards from it. I could see that my money started disappearing, but I still had the urge to keep doing it and adding more money. That was when I started taking loans.
How much debt are we talking about?
Right now, I’m in a debt of almost ₦500,000.
That’s a lot!
Yes, it is. Thankfully, it’s mostly from friends and family. The only people pressuring me and my family for the money now is the bank. For the family and friends loan, I returned home after a while of being on the run, and they welcomed me. The only thing is they told me they can’t do another favour for me.
I also got a walk-in loan from the bank, and although I’ve missed the deadline for repayment, I have guaranteed everyone, including my family, that I will definitely pay them back once I’m back on my feet.
How about your business?
It’s no longer active. I’m just looking for a way to restart it.
What did you learn about this experience?
I’ve learnt to avoid all forms of distractions, especially in business. Betting is now a no-go area for me. I can’t do it again.
Do you have any regrets?
Oh, yes, I do. My biggest regret from all of this is the amount of money I borrowed from friends and family. It’s quite shameful. If I had known, I would never have gone into it. I didn’t know anything about betting until recently
How about the uncle who introduced you to it?
I’ve stopped communicating with him. I’ve cut him off.