Be a Financial Ninja Even with Adult ADHD

Money Management Can Be Harden With ADHD

When most people occasionally bounce a check or forget to pay a bill, they may put it down to forgetfulness or a busy work schedule. However, for adults with ADHD, managing money can often be a constant, painful struggle. Trouble with planning, organizing and self-control are the opposite of what it takes to successfully manage your personal finances.

The problem often begins with lack of organization. Adults with ADHD can find the task of organizing their finances tedious and uninteresting. They put off paying their bills or monitoring what their spend.  Bills pile up and they may become overwhelmed to the point of denial or paralysis. Poor money management and its negative consequences can lead to embarrassment and avoidance of bills until they are long overdue.

Strategies for Managing Money When You Have ADHD

Here are some simple strategies, recommended by Chris Iliades, MD, that adults with ADHD can use to prevent this from happening.

Determine the areas of money management that are giving your problem – Figuring out what causes the biggest problems is the first step. This may be impulsive spending, carrying large credit card balances or bouncing checks because you didn’t monitor the amount in your checking account. Identifying which situations cause the biggest problem is a first step to resolving it.

Set some short term and long term goals – You may have many financial goals depending on your situation. These include paying down balances, saving money, starting an emergency fund and others. Writing these down and then figuring out small, measurable steps to achieving each goal can help you make progress in getting your finances under control.

Get organized—  Keep track of bills and receipts with a simple set of notebooks, folders or ledgers. Create a routine for opening bills when you get them, schedule a time to pay them, and use tools like reminder apps, direct deposit and automatic bill payment to help you stay on top of your money management responsibilities.

Seek help – It can be helpful to have others help you set up and manage your finances, at least when you are first getting organized. This could be a financial advisor, an ADHD coach, or a spouse.

Avoid impulsive spending – Buying on impulse can be a big problem for adults with ADHD. There are some good ways to avoid this. For example, carrying cash only, or a single credit card. Having a calculator handy during shopping trips to let you see a running total as you go. Also, using a list when you shop to ensure you are only buying what you intended to purchase in the first place.

You Can Take Control of Your Finances

Having ADHD does not mean you are destined for financial problems. The key is creating a simple plan and put it in place, step by step. Ask for help when you start feeling overwhelmed. Remember, lots of people without adult ADHD also have money management problems, too.



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  1. Joy

    I think it’s important to add how to make finances fun for people with ADHD instead of just running down of list of what to stop doing. If you focus on things on how to make it fun and exciting, then articles about managing money with ADHD would be more exciting to read and be tailored more to the ADHD. Yes, we have to stop doing things but we also need something to engage us and make these things easier for us because money management involves executive functions, which we tend to have low functioning in this area. Using fun colors, listening to music, creative immediate rewards after doing money planning like drawing / creating something /playing a game / dancing / making a live video etc. Could be incorpora as tools to help with the need for the ADHD mind to have visual cues and immediate rewards.