• 9 ADHD tips to help you manage your finances

    It’s hard enough to manage finances, add in attention deficit disorders and you’ve got some serious challenges.

    Here are 9 tips to help you manage.

    Tips for self management

    Whether you have ADD/ADHD or live with someone who does, you can reduce the economic dangers associated with the disorder. Tips include:

        1. Get a coach. Specialized ADD/ADHD coaches can help you stay on track with your goals through daily check-up calls. Check out who’s available at Children and Adults with Attention/Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD).

        2. Go to a support group. CHADD also lists support groups, so find one in your area. Some offer advice on how to handle the financial problems brought on by ADD/ADHD.

        3. Open separate bank accounts. Estes suggests having one account for bills and another just for pleasure. It works for her and her husband. “We transfer money from one account to another,” says Estes, who takes charge of the account for household bills, while he uses the other.

        4. Assign a money manager. A person you trust to concentrate on bills and resist temptation should be the one with total control over cash and credit.

        5. Opt for a prepaid card. An open line of credit can be unintentionally run up, so go for a prepaid card instead. With it you can only spend the cash on the card, thus averting debt. 

        6. Carry cash. Try withdrawing the amount you need for the week to establish a cash-only habit. Incorporate charging only when you feel comfortable living and spending within that sum.

        7. Have the right amount and type of credit. Multiple cards can be too overwhelming to manage properly, so simplify by having just one account. Which kind? Make it a charge card. Charge cards require that you pay the balance in full every month. Without the revolving balance option, you can keep debt in check.

        8. Use bill-pay, cautiously. Many people with ADD/ADHD forget to pay their bills on time. That can lead to late fees or even collection activity. To avoid both, consider setting up automatic bill pay with your bank, so the bills get paid on time. Be careful, though. It’s best when cash is plentiful. “Automatic bill pay can be a powerful tool for forgetful people, but it can also be dangerous if you’re living paycheck-to-paycheck,” says Vannette. “Without a cushion in your bank account, it’s easy for an automatic payment to push you into the red.”

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        9. Make the most of your smartphone. As an ADHD coach, Estes teaches people to use technology to their financial advantage. “I set up their iPhone so a message pops up every 30 minutes to annoy them — pay your bill!” says Estes. “They learn to manage whatever bills they have because it’s right there in their face. If not, it’s out of sight, out of mind.” If you have a smartphone, set up your own bill-paying alarm system.

    Finally, recognize when ADD/ADHD and plastic don’t mix. If you have the disorder and a propensity for charging outside your means, Yang suggests an no-nonsense strategy: “Leave the credit cards at home.”

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