Five Ideas for Better Money Management When You Have ADHD

People with ADD have a higher rate of debt, more impulsive spending, and more arguments with their partner/spouse over money issues.  However, there is hope (and help available).   

When you have ADHD, you don't spend money like most other people. Past-due bills and impulsive spending can throw your finances into turmoil, and because these financial pitfalls are directly related to your ADD symptoms, they can seem impossible to overcome.  The good news is that it is possible to get ADHD-related financial disorganization under control and begin to enjoy a more stable relationship to your money.

Recommendations include these five, ADD-tailored steps:

  1. Seek help from financial professionals.  Knowing that you need assistance with your finances is a strength, not a weakness.  Any CEO will tell you that getting support is essential to running a business.  Managing your personal finances is similar to running your own business.  Ask professionals such as accountants, certified financial planners, and brokers for their opinions and help.
  2. Hire an assistant to help you get organized, stay organized, and input your financial data into a program like Quicken.  Having someone come in your home just 6 to 8 hours a week can really help you get on track.  Although you will be paying an assistant an hourly rate, in the long run you will save money and enjoy your life more.  This is because you will now be able to devote more time to doing things you enjoy, and you will no longer be paying late fees on bills you forgot to pay. 
  3. Create financial goals – Immediate, 1 year, and 5 year goals.  What debts do you want to pay off?  How much money do you want to have saved up?  What is your specific plan to meet those goals?  Is your plan realistic?  How will you measure your success?
  4. Make (and stick to) a budget – Get help from a trusted friend or professional when creating a budget.  This is a detail-oriented task where people with ADD would really benefit from outside help.
  5. Know when to keep (and when to shred) financial documents – usually the standard is keep records for 7 to 10 years – but it really differs depending on the type of document.  Double check with a financial professional before you shred anything.

It's also a great idea to talk to your kids about money – even if you have had difficulty with finances in the past, you are still a valuable teacher for your child.  Go with your child to the bank to open up a savings account for him or her.  If you have a teenager, involve him or her with minor family financial decisions, such as choosing a cell phone provider. 

People with ADD have a tendency to be impulsive and disorganized with their money.  However, even if you have had difficulties with managing money in the past, there are ADD-friendly ways to stay focused on making your money grow.  There is hope.

This is a guest post, written by Dr. Stephanie Sarkis.  She is the author of four books about ADHD, including ADD and Your Money: A Guide to Personal Finance for Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder (2009).  Dr. Sarkis is a National Certified Counselor (NCC) and Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) based in Boca Raton, Florida.  She provides counseling and coaching to adults with ADHD/ADD.   Her website is