How Does ADHD Affect Money Management
Since Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) affects focus, it can make it difficult to manage money. Individuals with ADHD may struggle to stay organized and pay bills on time, and they may also be prone to make more impulse purchases. All of these struggles can lead to financial difficulties. However there are ways to manage money while living with ADHD, but it takes effort and patience.
How do people with ADHD handle money? An Example:
I have a good friend who has ADHD. She received her diagnosis when she was in her 40s but has dealt with the symptoms as best she could throughout her life.
She decided to take a gap year when she finished high school to save up for university. She was working and making decent money. She would dutifully put her pay in your checking account, but she would often forget to put her money aside into her savings account. She said, “In my head, I had lots of time to save for school since it was a whole year away.”
Weeks before she was about to start school, she found herself applying for a loan. The money she was to have saved was non-existent. She never felt the passage of time, never felt the urgency to save, and never had systems in place to ensure some of each paycheck ended up in savings.
She said she never felt like she was spending a lot, but little by little, all the money she made during her gap year got used up. Those money management challenges followed her through university, where she received her first credit card. She couldn’t pay her bills on time, which damaged her credit score.
Seeing her bills coming in and being unable to pay for everything caused her to feel overwhelmed and anxious, ultimately negatively affecting her confidence and self-esteem.
What is ADHD?
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder. It affects approximately 5-9% of school-aged children. Children with ADHD have difficulty paying attention, staying organized, and focusing on tasks. They often have trouble controlling their behavior and tend to be impulsive. ADHD can significantly impact a child’s life and ability to succeed in school. Treatment options include medication, therapy, or a combination of both.
While ADHD is most commonly diagnosed in children, it can also occur in adults. Approximately 2-5% of the adult population has ADHD, with symptoms similar to that of children.
People with ADHD often have problems with executive functions, which are cognitive skills that help control attention, planning, organizing, problem-solving, and self-regulation. Many of these skills are necessary for the overall management of money, making money management a particular challenge for folks with ADHD.
Due to the challenges people with ADHD have with executive functions managing different aspects of their financial lives can be challenging.
Some financial challenges that people with ADHD may experience include
- Impulse spending
- Difficult planning and organizing
- Setting and reaching financial goals
- Budgeting and sticking with a budget.
These financial challenges can lead to an increase in:
- Feel overwhelmed by finances
- High emotional states can lead to poor decisions
- Stress and anxiety can lead to leaving it and letting it get worse
- Can hurt self-coincidence/insecurities
First, if you think you may have ADHD speak to your doctor
If you have ADHD, here are a few things you can do to help manage your money management
If impulse spending or overspending is an issue, add some friction.
Take credit cards out of online shopping carts, or create a rule for yourself to wait for 24hrs or longer before you buy anything. Here are some other tips for controlling impulse spending
Building a budget that works for you is critical, but you need it to be simple.
Using money management apps can help remove some of the complexity of managing your money. They can also help to add a visual aspect to help you better understand where your money is going.
Automation can reduce the organization, planning, and decision-making needed to manage your money.
Adding visuals to help you see your saving and spending can be a powerful tool for folks with ADHD.
Create an emergency fund to help manage unexpected expenses. ADHD can cause you to have late fees or other costs that you can not plan for in your budget. Having an emergency fund to act as a buffer will help.
A certified financial planner can help you build budgets, set goals, and ensure you have a plan to reach your aspirations while still giving you the autonomy and control to manage your finances.
For more tips on managing your money with ADHD, click here.
ADHD can have a significant impact on money management. Lack of interest, poor organization, and difficulty planning and deciding can all lead to financial problems, such as spending too much money, not saving enough, or appropriately planning for the future. Therefore, people with ADHD need to develop strategies for managing their finances. It is also crucial for those in a position to help, provide support.
With proper strategies in place, people with ADHD can manage their money effectively and successfully.