Money Management and ADHD: 7 Tips for Handling Family Finances

image Money management is a big deal in all marriages, but if you or your partner has ADHD, it can be particularly difficult. Money management can be much more complicated when it is exasperated by the cardinal symptoms of ADHD:inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity.

When you have ADHD, boring, menial tasks like filing taxes and paying bills on time can feel like torture. Buying fun new toys becomes even more spontaneous (and creative). Sure, impulsivity can be a lot of fun, but it can also be tough on your partner and your pocket book.

It’s not all bad news, though. ADHD adults, when focused, can often come up with creative ways to save, find more money, and partake in successful entrepreneurial endeavors by thinking outside of the box.

If you’re trying to get a better handle of your family finances, here are some tips to get you started:

  1. Accept yourself – strengths, faults, and all. The first step in successful money management is to admit to yourself and your loved ones where your symptoms are impacting you and your marriage. This is not so that you can use ADHD as an excuse. Instead, it is so you can proactively plan to avoid late payments, credit card debt, or too many fondue pots and/or motorcycles
  2. Assign tasks evenly and appropriately. If you have a mental block with handing bills on time, don’t be too proud to pass off this duty. Use your creative skills to come up with other innovative ways to save or make money, but leave the organizational tasks to the organizationally inclined
  3. Try new deadlines. If bills are due the last day of the month, make them due the 25th of the month in your household. This will give you some space for error, and the lost interest of five days will be paid back with harmonious relationships.
  4. Use auto-pay. Can you pay your bills automatically through online banking, your branch or some other clever device? Do it. It will take the pressure off you and your partner, and leave you space for doing more important things (like building a computer, or writing a stand-up routine).
  5. Automatic Savings Account. ING keeps talking about this, and I think they’re on to something. Avoid impulsive shopping trips by having money transferred to your savings account automatically as soon as you get paid. That way you at least have to move money in order to consider an impulse buy, and you get to see your savings grow. You will be surprised how much of an impact this can make.
  6. Make sure it is “returnable.” We recently chatted with a client who says they impulse buy, but as long as the goods are returnable, they often “impulse return” the next week. Make sure that what you purchase (especially if it’s a big one) can go back if your partner and you feel it is not an appropriate use of money or priority.
  7. Save and spend together. The more you start talking and working as a team, the more you can work together to have fun, prioritize and make financial decisions that work for you both. Trust each other and talk. Two heads are better than one.

So, yes,  the ADHD + divorce stats can be daunting. But, remember those stats are for people who are untreated, usually uncommunicative and not supported adequately.

Get treated! Accept yourself and work with your partner. And realize ADHD people are some of the most fun people around to spend with…to save with…and to catapult through life beside. With the right planning, you may find yourself enjoying the odd test drive on a new motorcycle.

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