How ADHD Can Affect Your Finances

The symptoms of adult ADHD can make some aspects of money management more difficult. Here are some of the ways in which having ADHD can affect your finances:

  • Overspending: Impulsive symptoms of ADHD can contribute to overspending. It doesn’t mean you don’t care about your finances, but in the moment, your urge to spend money takes over and you end up going over budget.
  • Late payments: Symptoms like disorganization and forgetfulness can cause you to miss payment deadlines for your rent, mortgage, utilities, credit cards, etc. The resulting late fees can add to your financial stress.
  • Poor budgeting: The executive functions required for budgeting (planning, prioritization, focus, etc.) don’t come easily to individuals with ADHD, which makes it harder to keep track of expenses and spending.
  • Difficulty saving: It can be harder for you to save money because an ADHD brain is more focused on the present moment. Adults with ADHD are less motivated by long-term rewards, which makes planning ahead more challenging.

Your Relationship to Money

As an adult with ADHD, you might feel embarrassed about your money management problems. But understanding why you struggle with your finances can be helpful in overcoming these challenges. It’s important to recognize the role your symptoms play in this struggle not only to help you overcome it, but also to alleviate yourself of the discomfort or shame you may feel. By facing the issue and identifying what is causing it, you’ll be better positioned to find the money management methods that work for you.

It’s also important to recognize that money matters don’t just affect us as individuals. They also affect our loved ones. Financial issues can put stress on a partnership or marriage, and parents with ADHD may worry about being able to provide for their children. It can help to keep these factors in mind when looking to change your spending habits and get a better handle on your finances.

Tips for Better Money Management with ADHD

Some of the traditional tips on how to budget and save don’t work well for someone with ADHD. You’ll need to take your symptoms into account to find solutions that make sense for the way your ADHD brain works. Try using the following money management advice for ADHD adults to improve your finances.

Anticipate your impulsivity

Planning ahead for your urge to buy things impulsively can help you to curb your spending. If you know when your impulse is likely to strike, you’ll be better able to manage it without hurting your finances. Here are a few ways to do that:

  • When you’re at the supermarket, follow a strict rule to stick to your grocery list.
  • Shop with cash and only bring the amount you can afford to spend.
  • If stores are too tempting for impulse purchases, shop online instead.
  • Commit to waiting 48 hours before you buy something you want, but don’t need.

Automate payments and saving

Don’t let late fees and added interest wreak havoc on your financial plans. These things can add up quickly when bills are paid late, so set up automatic payments whenever possible. In addition, sign up for paperless statements so you don’t have to worry about creating a document organization system at home.

It’s also a good idea to set up automatic transfers to a savings account. If you struggle with finding the motivation to set aside money, it can be helpful to take it off your mind and let the bank do it automatically for you.

Use apps and advisors

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with outsourcing some of your money management to helpful tools and professionals. For someone with ADHD, financial planning apps can make budgeting a much less daunting effort. Apps like Mint and YNAB (You Need a Budget) help you visualize where your money is going and keep track of your bills and expenses.

If you feel like you need some extra help managing your money and determining your financial goals, try working with a financial advisor. There are also financial therapists who specialize in helping people work through their financial issues, including their thoughts, feelings and behaviors regarding money.

Find the right ADHD treatment

Along with using the tips above, make sure you’re taking steps to manage your ADHD effectively. There may be a different medication or a type of therapy that could help you to deal with the symptoms of ADHD more effectively. The more those symptoms are under control, the fewer challenges you’ll encounter on your path to better financial health.