You have or know someone who has ADD and they’re having trouble keeping their finances managed/organized. This post is for you and for them. For you, the non ADDer, to understand what’s going on and to read about typical beliefs around money are for ADDers. And for you, with ADD, you may finally understand that what you are going through is quite typical … for someone with ADD. Understanding and acceptance leads to solutions.
I’m in an international, professional group called the Institute for Challenging Disorganization and we have extraordinary educational classes available to us. Stephanie Sarkis, Ph.D. presented “Helping ADHD Clients Organize Their Finances” last night.
Stephanie is a psychotherapist, author of four books about ADD and a coach. She is nationally requested expert, with a blog on Psychology Today, and published in the Journal of Attention Disorders, Smart Money magazine and The Huffington Post. Appearances on CNN, ABC, Fox and others round out her resume.
A few points of advice from Stephanie are below, along with my interpretations of how this would benefit my clients and others with ADD, friends, people you live with —
Stephanie’s question to ask yourself: what would it look like/feel like if you were doing well with your money?
My thoughts: This question or its answer is important because managing your finances is a means, not the end. What’s the end? What you want to do with your money you’ll have. How would you feel about yourself.
Stephanie’s advice for the non-ADDer: ADDers think “now” and “not now.” So asking an ADDer to think ahead and save for retirement? Not going to be productive. Instead, set up immediate, 1 year, 5 year goals. Immediate is bills. One year might be pay off the car. Set up goals and work together to break into smaller steps.
Stephanie: Call it “a spending plan,” not a “budget.”Reframing to the positive and interesting was a significant point she returned to time and again.
Me: Say those words out loud, and feel the difference. Budget: restrain,deprivation,negative, right? Spending plan: Wow. Great. Fun. I decide. So much in our language.
Stephanie: Your spending plan needs to identify “wants,” as different from “needs.” A non ADDer can tell the difference, but the prson with ADD usually can’t. Everything is a need.
Me: The question isn’t “How can I afford this…” assuming it’s a need, not a want all the time. The question is “Can I afford this.” Yes/no, rather than how. How comes after the first question. So assist the person with understanding the differences.
Stephanie: Introduce streamlining into your financial management. Simplify, automate, get software, hire out.
Make it easy, not a chore. Paperless equals less clutter.
This simplicity can apply to what you keep or toss/shred, how you pay bills, how you save, how you create a filing system for what you keep.
She shared much more with us, much to think about and bring to clients.
If this is an issue for you or someone you know, love or live with, please direct them to her website, Facebook page, blog or follow her on twitter or even on Youtube for people who would prefer to listen to her advice. The first step is awareness and then education.Stephanie’s focus was in how we organizers can support our clients once they are ready for dealing with these issues around finance. She was tremendously helpful and practical. And you know, there must be so much more in her books, blog and on twitter – so follow her and start your journey.
To your organized finances.