A woman with forgetfulness

Managing Money with ADHD Trait: Forgetfulness

By: Tamika Howell, Edited By: Clifton Corbin | December 13, 2022

In elementary school, a “Something’s Missing” form was sent home to parents to sign whenever students forgot to turn in their homework. I received several of these. They were embarrassing but not costly, lol.

As we age, forgetfulness begins to add up.  

Forgetting what’s coming out of your bank account when, and then over-drafting. Overdraft fees are, on average, $30. However, I remember times when the amount I went over was less than the fee. 

Forgetting to pay bills can result in late fees. Late payments reported to the credit bureau reduce your credit rating and can increase the cost of borrowing money.

Forgetting to cancel subscriptions or memberships that you barely use. For example, I was the queen of the gym membership with rare attendance and often forgot to cancel trial subscriptions.

Late or missed assignment consequences ranged from lower grades to retaken or dropped classes in college. I cringe thinking about the incomplete classes paid in full. 

Forgetting to take advantage of early-bird pricing to reduce the cost of event attendance. I’ve gotten better at this in recent years. For example, I purchased my last conference pass in January for $299. The final price was $750 by the time the conference came around in September.

ADHD and Forgetfulness

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a disorder that affects the way people think, act and focus. It is often characterized by forgetfulness, difficulty staying focused on tasks, hyper-focused on tasks,  hyperactivity, and impulsivity. While it affects adults, it is most commonly diagnosed in children and teenagers. 

Forgetfulness is one of the most common symptoms associated with ADHD. People with ADHD may have difficulty remembering things from day to day or following through on commitments they’ve made. This type of forgetfulness can become quite disruptive in social, educational, and professional settings where critical information must be remembered for success. 

It’s important to note that while this forgetfulness can be a symptom of ADHD, some level of forgetfulness is normal for everyone, regardless if they have been diagnosed with ADHD or not.

A woman using post its

Here are a few ways to combat forgetfulness when it comes to your money:

  • Automation is the primary solution for bill payments, but be aware of the timing of your income and withdrawals to avoid overdrafts.
  • If subscribing to a paid service for a free trial or temporarily reduced rate, cancel immediately after subscribing. 
  • Set digital alarms and reminders.
  • Create physical reminders using post-its, posters, chalkboards, or whiteboards in prominent places around the house.
  • Work with a friend or accountability partner regularly to have a second set of eyes to help with blindspots and organization.

ADHD and Forgetfulness: Final Thoughts

ADHD and forgetfulness can majorly impact your life. It is important to know how they affect your personal and professional life and take steps to manage them. This should include a diagnosis of ADHD and taking some of the steps noted above, such as using automation and creating physical reminders.  Additionally, lifestyle changes such as stress reduction, adequate sleep, proper diet, and physical activity can all help.

Be sure to seek help from your healthcare providers to give additional support and guidance in developing strategies to better manage ADHD and forgetfulness.