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A year of change and self-discovery

By Keith Gisser

Last year was an interesting time for me. As many of you know, Northfield Park let me go as a full-time employee, and I spent most of the year scrambling to find work, which I was able to do successfully, ending the year in very good shape. But the uncertainty forced me to make a number of changes in my finances and my gambling account was one of the most seriously impacted. I have always kept pretty solid records of my wagers (and with account wagering, that is even easier these days), but the change in my circumstances forced me to do a few things that frankly, every handicapper should be doing, along with some that every handicapper should not.

First, I made sure my wagering funds were segregated. They were kept apart from the mortgage and grocery money, and the "rainy day" fund. Who wants to wager on a sloppy track, anyway? I have always done this in the past, but it was a ledger entry, not a true separation, so I always knew how much I had available with which to gamble. Now that money was physically set aside, literally in a lockbox, so that I would not be tempted to use it for necessities like a bottle of Evan Williams Single Barrel bourbon or a CAO MX2 Belicoso Cigar.

You might say, "Wait a minute, Giss! You were unemployed with spotty income and yet you kept gambling money as part of your budget? What did Mrs. Giss have to say about that?" Well, she was actually behind it when I reminded her that I had shown a profit in 13 of the last 15 years. Granted, that total profit has always been a "grind-it out" amount, never exceeding $3,000 and usually under $1,000. But the losses were never more than $1,500, so I felt that gambling on horses was a viable investment to churn out a year-end profit. And I did, although it was only about $400 for the year. Still, that was enough to cover our holiday gifts and most of the food for our annual New Year's Open House. And the initial principal is still available, if I choose to use it in 2012.

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