By Ann Lloyd of StudentSavingsGuide.com
If you know someone with ADHD, you are probably familiar with the struggles of making good financial decisions while managing ADHD-driven impulses. This is especially true for young people. Navigating new and heavy information like finances can be intimidating.
Fortunately, with a bit of help, and a lot of planning, teens and young adults can learn practical financial habits for the future and set themselves up for success later in life. Here are five ways to do just that.
Ask for Help
The most important thing to remember when tackling new challenges is that you are not alone. There is always someone to turn to for help with any aspect of your ADHD. SOAR is an excellent resource for finding dedicated ADHD coaches who can advise young people on life management skills, including finance and independence, as they transition into adults.
In addition to ADHD coaches, you can also turn to your parents or another trusted adult, and even therapists. Any of these people can set a positive example, share tips and habits that work for them, and help you figure out how to implement them in ways that work for you. Working with a therapist can help you address any financial trauma or hesitancy and combat the negative impulses associated with ADHD.
Name Your Financial Goals
Once you’ve got a good team of support and financial educators, it’s time to start identifying what you want to do with money. What are your short-term and long-term goals? These can include saving up for a new phone, buying your first car, or attending one of the SOAR Summer Camps. Naming your financial goals will help create a solid connection between your wishes and your finances.
If you’re 18 or older, it’s time to start building your credit so that you can eventually take out a mortgage or apply for a business loan. A secured credit card is a smart way to start. Though it requires an upfront deposit to guarantee the card, properly using it and paying it off is a safe and guided way to establish credit. And, with lower spending limits, the risk of impulse buying is already reduced. If you’re younger than 18, ask your parents if they’d be willing to add you as an authorized user to a card. This will start building your credit while your parents remain responsible for all of the purchases.
Identify Where You Struggle
ADHD affects everyone differently. So it’s important to know how your specific symptoms may impact your personal finances. For many people, impulsivity can become impulse spending. For others, a lack of organization can turn into a mountain of receipts and make tracking spending almost impossible.
Your existing control methods can be modified to work with your finances as well. Organize your financial tasks, like balancing your bank account or paying bills, into daily, weekly, and monthly checklists. If you have a debit card, put a special sticker on the card to remind you of your daily budget. Keep a picture of your money goal in your wallet or phone.
Research, Research, Research
The unfortunate truth about being responsible with your finances is this: It requires a lot of research. Don’t worry, though. Turn to your support group, and seek out ADHD-specific resources and advisors at high school and college.
You should also look for tools designed to address your specific concerns. There are actually financial education resources dedicated to people with ADHD. Though it can be challenging, acting mature with your finances is a huge first step in financial freedom and security.
Additionally, knowing how much things cost will help you properly budget. It will also teach you to take care of your belongings. When you get a car, research maintenance and repair costs. While budgeting up to $100 every few months for an oil change may seem costly, it can prevent engine damage that will cost much more. When you move into your first home, do the same. Knowing that even something as minor as a window replacement costs as much as $1,800 will likely encourage you to toss that baseball outdoors.
Technology Is Your Best Financial Friend
If you’re old enough to have a banking account, look for one with an intuitive website to help you track your monthly purchases and payments. Once you start paying bills — like your monthly Spotify subscription — you will have real-time insight into your monthly money habits. Using online banking also comes with the benefit of setting up automatic transfers to savings accounts and making automatic payments.
There are also apps that can help you track spending and saving by creating visual representations of where your money is going. These are fantastic tools to ensure you know how much you’ll need to save per day to reach your savings goals.
While people with ADHD may face unique challenges when it comes to money management, it’s nothing that can’t be overcome. And getting a head start on being responsible with money will be a huge boon when it comes time for you to become independent. Your future self will thank you!
About the Author
Ann Lloyd is a newly enrolled MBA grad student. Currently, she is getting her degree online and working as a marketing intern on the side. In her spare time, she’s hard at work on the Student Savings Guide, her blog about living a budget-conscious life. The guide caters to students and recent grads, but anyone can use these tips to get by!