Getting financially fit can be challenging for anybody, but a lot of the steps towards building a healthy relationship with money can be more tough for those with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
Recently we interviewed Amalia Sirica, a FinGym client and LCSW. Working with a mental health professional can be a crucial part of ADHD management, but according to Amalia, this avenue may not directly address how ADHD and money intersect.
In our chat with Amalia, which you can listen to here, we learned a lot about the ways that financial wellness and mental health intersect, and we’re excited to pass on some of the wisdom we got from our guest about some helpful tools. These include implementing spend wait periods, planning gift expenses, setting goals, and using organizational techniques.
While this conversation originated in a podcast about ADHD, we find that most of us could benefit from using these tactics.
Creating Wait Periods
Impulse spending is one of the ways that Amalia explained that ADHD can impact your money. To help combat this, those working on financial wellness can institute a 24 or 48 hour rule for any purchase over a certain predetermined amount, like $75 dollars. If at the end of the waiting period you still want the item in question and it would not create more debt if you were to buy it, then it is yours to purchase.
Most of the time, people find that they don’t want the item after the waiting period. But what if the item is only available for a limited time and the option to buy may not exist if you wait another day?
In that case, a sinking fund can be helpful. We find sinking funds are particularly helpful for things like electronics, collectible shoes, and concert tickets that may not otherwise be on the market in 24 hours. By making a monthly contribution to the sinking fund, it is possible to prepare for these “surprise” expenses.
Gift Expense Planning
Another good candidate for a sinking fund is holiday shopping. Putting money away over time for gifts and holidays can help us to resist emotional spending when we want to treat the people we love. Ideally, this would be started at least three months before the gift giving season, especially if gift giving is your preferred love language.
Additionally, having an impartial person to talk to about gift purchases, like a financial trainer, can illuminate the underlying desire of the purchase and help brainstorm ways to celebrate each other that work with our budgets.
Whether the goal is to get financially fit for your own sake or to support loved ones, goal setting helps determine the “why” behind your money. Having a future goal attached to savings, debt repayment, and investing practices can help alleviate the urge to spend above your means. It can also help curb the tendency to procrastinate because it connects something that may be uncomfortable now to something preferable in the future.
Even if the goals start out a little nebulous or vague, that is okay. Your money “why” could be reduced financial stress, or just having more financial freedom.
Part of easing financial stress includes getting organized. Automating bills and savings can be one of the first steps. This is incredibly important for credit card and loan payments: once they are 30 days overdue or more they could be reported to the credit bureau and, therefore negatively impacting credit scores.
It can also help to simplify finances to have all accounts through a small handful of companies to make things as simple as possible. This could look like rolling over all those previous employer IRAs to a single investing firm, or having all your savings at one bank (though divided in a way that makes it clear how much cash is set aside for each goal).
Having plans and tools in place can help us all achieve our financial goals. Finding what works for you and having support in your process is a great first step.