ADHD Money Management

Navigating Financial Management with ADHD

Money management poses significant challenges for individuals with ADHD, often due to impulsivity, forgetfulness, and difficulty in planning. These symptoms can lead to missed payments, uncontrolled spending, and accumulating debt. To combat this, establishing structured financial routines, using budgeting tools, and setting up automatic payments for regular bills are effective strategies. It’s also beneficial to seek financial advice or counseling to develop practical and sustainable money management skills. Addressing these ADHD-related financial challenges is crucial for achieving long-term financial stability and security.

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ADHD & Money Management: Handling Your Finances

Everyone experiences difficulties in managing their money💸. Many times, even neurotypical people have trouble with their budget or cash flow in general. Some of the people close to me couldn't properly manage their money and often had financial problems when left on their own. If the general population already struggles with how they handle their personal finances, what can you expect from a person with ADHD symptoms 😅? As expected, they usually have more trouble with finances than most neurotypical individuals. 

Most people with ADHD struggle with money management. Many times, budget, savings, bills, expenses, debt, and any other related facets don’t make much sense to us. We find it difficult to set a monthly budget, limit our expenses to only our needs, survive paycheck to paycheck, and solve many more financial issues. What does ADHD have to do with our struggle in money management? 🤔

Money Management Struggles with an ADHD Brain

First on the list of the possible reasons why we struggle to control our financial resources is our complex brain structure🧠 . How does ADHD affect our executive function? Understanding this concept will help us know more about the reasons.

The prefrontal cortex is the primary brain structure responsible for the executive functions, which include planning, prioritizing, organizing, and scheduling. It's also the brain region that directs our attention to the task at hand, which ADHD makes difficult. Before we go too technical on this one, let’s cut down to the chase. 

Many ADHD adults struggle to understand future consequences of unpaid bills and lack of savings because they cannot properly plan and manage things. In other words, it’s challenging for us to see the bigger picture. 😭

But, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. At a deeper level, we might find it hard to manage our finances because we cannot focus on making a budget📝, find it hard to plan our expenses and savings, and have trouble organizing our financial goals.  

Case in point: when it comes to ADHD Money Management, one factor that makes it difficult for us to improve our finances is our impulsivity. As we all know, ADHD & Impulsivity almost always go hand in hand. Our difficulty to control our urge to buy something for ourselves that we deem as "rewards" can significantly affect our budget. Impulsive spending may create that dopamine hit we need, but it can also result in debt and financial struggles🥺.

Impulse Buying

Social awkwardness brought by ADHD can make it difficult for us to connect with people. For this reason, some adults with ADHD find it hard to go to a bank 🏦 or speak with people who can help them with their finances, such as financial advisors and agents . Aside from this, the impatience of lining up and waiting for your turn to do payments, making a direct deposit, or setting up savings might make it hard for us to rely on physical banking. Well, ADHD and waiting never really go well together.

The struggle of managing paperwork can also be one of the factors that many adults with ADHD may experience—like me, seeing a pile of papers, bills, receipts, and notices for immediate payment, makes me anxious. That's why I often incur penalties, additional taxes, and late fees for missing out on their imposed deadlines. Even though I have the funds to pay for everything, I always struggle to find a good chance to pay them on time.

forgetting to pay credit card bills
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The Least Likely Financial Adviser

When there is a specific money challenge or saving scheme discussed in social media, especially during the early days of the new year, I always try to participate. I likewise encouraged my friends to save up portions of their income and do these challenges with me. At first, we were doing well on a regular basis; we made sure that we lessen our spending to be able to save and put a significant amount in a bank to complete the challenge💰.

On our latest stint, my friends finished saving their money. As for me? I lost focus on the end goal and lost interest in saving. I became impatient, and decided to buy something instead. I think I bought a piano with the money I saved. I was thrilled to spend my hard-earned savings back then. But at some point, I forgot about my interest in playing piano and lost my urge to save as well.

losing track of expenses

After that incident, I further had difficulties in managing my finances. I always come across inspirational people persuading me about financial freedom, but I never got too far from the first step. After I decide to do it, something always comes up and prohibits me from saving😔.

Securing Your Financial Future

"Not everything you can afford, you should buy." 💸This is some mantra I learned from the ADHD Money Management lesson that I once attended. Even though there are means to get these things, you shouldn't immediately get them without thinking about them over and over.

In some countries, discussions about money and money problems are often avoided. They treat these topics as taboo and don't want to talk about them as much as possible. When it comes to ADHD, dealing with money may become one of the most difficult challenges that we will experience in our lives. Financial matters are not always open for discussion, and a percentage of us try hard to ignore these matters because it gives us discomfort.

not saving for the future

That is why it is essential to start early and make the habit of saving and spending responsibly. And even if you feel like it’s too late for you, don’t fret. The best time to start is always NOW.  Saving up for your future will help you afford what you want and deserve. And believe me, if you manage your money right, everything else will follow.😘 

Tips for Maintaining Financial Health

ADHD Money Management isn't my cup of tea. I admit that I struggle with it as much as any average person does (okay, maybe more). But being consistent is the key to handling your finances well.

Here are some tips that I would like to share with you to improve your financial status:

  1. When it comes to bills and expenses, filing receipts and records can sometimes be hard for people with ADHD. I suggest getting an application that manages them for you.📱
  2. Schedule payments ahead of time and post a financial calendar on an easy-to-see space like your fridge. Making them visible will remind you to make necessary payments diligently.
  3. If you struggle to go to banks, subscribe to online banking. Take advantage of the technology present nowadays. With some banking applications, you can do scheduling of automatic payments, monitoring, and checking accounts. They even have a website that you can transact from.
  4. If you are a parent with ADHD, educate your children as early as possible. Being parents, you should avoid the stereotype of not discussing finances with them in this present time. Involve them in any appropriate finance-related talk with your spouse or family member and let them understand how you spend your money.
  5. Address debts and expenses immediately. ADHD Money Management may be complex but it's not impossible as long as you are consistent and persistent to make it work. Maintain a balance on your income and expenses, and you'll have fewer difficulties.
  6. Spend only what you can afford. Avoid credit card debt 💳 as much as possible and make your payment on time to avoid unnecessary penalties. If it's impossible to avoid debt, keeping your balance to a minimum will also help.
  7. Be careful with your spending habits. Know which items are your needs and wants and prioritize the first. 
  8. Rewards are not harmful. Spend money on things you think you'll need in your life. This way, you prevent yourself from having ADHD Burnout. It is easier to continue with your life if you know your limits.

ADHD and Money Management: FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Is it common for people with ADHD to experience money problems?

Anyone can experience money problems whether or not they have a neurodivergent condition. But since people with ADHD have “complicated symptoms,” they might experience financial troubles more frequently than neurotypical individuals.

What symptoms related to ADHD affect our ability to manage our finances?

The key reason why ADHD makes it hard for us to manage our finances is because it affects our executive functions, which involve planning and organizing. That means we may find it hard to plan our budget, set financial goals, or take care of the bills.

What can be done to properly address money troubles?

Since the usual root of our problem is our ADHD symptoms, it’s best to manage them well. Of course, using technology to our advantage also helps a great deal.

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