Managing Money and ADHD
Anyone who lives with ADHD knows the woes of managing money, whether it’s the constant scramble to pay your bills, or the paralyzing fear of facing your financial reality.
In fact, statistics suggest that people with ADHD have greater amounts of debt, less savings, and more trouble making payments on time. And as if those challenges to financial stability weren’t enough, people with ADHD typically have higher medication costs and lower incomes than their non-ADHD peers.
It may seem like the odds are against you, but there are some clear and straightforward ways to boost your balance and stay on schedule with payments. If you want a more comfortable financial life, you’ll need to eliminate the excess – and that applies to planning and paying, as well as personal spending.
The Problem with Budgets
Budgeting has been hailed as the key to financial success for everyone, but managing money requires a good deal of organization, concentration, and time.
Unfortunately for those with ADHD, the (supposedly) simple process of plotting out your income and expenses each month is confusing and unproductive. In the end, you’re juggling too many variables and dwelling on too many details to stay in control.
Although traditional budgeting may not be suited to the ADHD mind, don’t give up on budgeting completely. In fact, a suitable budget can be your quickest way to debt-free living, as long as you focus on:
Spotting Problematic Patterns
Understanding your financial habits, urges and weaknesses will help you direct your attention to the areas that need it most. Start with small steps in those areas, whether that means creating a filing system to organize bills, or working with a friend or financial expert to craft a plan to reduce credit card debt.
You can’t overcome all your major financial problems at once, but you can conquer each of them one at a time.
Setting Clear Goals
Goals are great for staying on track, building confidence, and learning to balance restraint and reward. Find an appropriate short-term goal (such as, pay down some credit card debt) and long-term goal (like save for a major purchase) that will help you focus your energy and build financial competency.
A simple, two-column template may be all you need to build a workable budget, whether it’s a simple sheet of paper or a streamlined software program. Keep categories to a minimum, and label everything well. Color-coding can be immensely helpful when you’re organizing and labeling paid bills, unpaid bills, expenses and incoming revenue.
Remembering which bills to pay, how much to pay and when to pay them is like juggling a full schedule. You probably find it hard to remember to look at all of them on time, let alone pay what you need to before the late fees start rolling in.
So, why not use the resources available, and set up automatic payments? Most banks allow you to do nearly everything online, and if you don’t know where to start, you can meet with an advisor or a friendly teller at your local branch to get things on track.
Once payments are automatic, you’ll have a lot less to keep track of each day; the more financial tasks you can take care of online, the more time and energy you’ll save for other obligations.