ADHD & The Money Management Dilemma

ADHD Issues & Info


If you have ADHD, money may be slipping through your hands more than you were thinking!

Why does this happen and how can it be helped?
This month I spoke with Libby Felten, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) who specializes in offering bookkeeping services for those with ADHD. This is fantastic, because so many people who need help with ADHD have difficulty handling their finances. If you have problems tracking your spending, paying bills on time, and staying on a budget, this could be the answer you’ve been looking for. I asked Libby why she focuses on working with those who need help with ADHD…and she responded as follows:

Most of the self-help articles on ADHD & Money tell people to “get organized.” If that was an easy task, people with ADHD wouldn’t have financial problems to start with. “Get organized” is not helpful advice to someone with ADHD. We provide ‘organizing for ADHD’ strategies and work with them until they feel comfortable enough to handle it on their own. People with ADHD are caught in a vicious cycle when it comes to finances. The core challenges of ADHD are those same skills needed most to manage their money. It can be frustrating, overwhelming and seem hopeless.

Libby, like me, really enjoys assisting people who need help with ADHD. The issues of disorganization, poor time management, procrastination, plus impulsivity manifest in all areas of an ADHD person’s life. Financial issues can become catastrophic if not managed properly. In my ADHD coaching practice, I see the issues of disorganization, clutter control, and paperflow management manifest with stacks of receipts, unpaid bills, and no system for keeping track of expenses or papers associated with them. Without setting up a schedule to pay bills on time, late fees are a regular part of life for someone with ADHD.Then there is the impulsivity control when it comes to shopping and spending money. ADHD Coaching can help with these issues, and having someone handling your bookkeeping, who understands what you are all about, can be another huge asset.

I asked Libby about the benefits someone would get from having a bookkeeper help with finances. Many of my ADHD coaching clients have huge challenges in preparing for taxes, and often end up having to file extensions repeatedly in order to get the paperwork done. Most procrastinate until the very last week or two and then pull all-nighters to get their data into their tax preparer. She can make all that go away!

Having a bookkeeper will reduce frustration, free up time, and help you get ahead. Libby noted, “Not only can clients see cost savings from a reduction in bounced check and late fees, with proper management their credit score improves and they are able to lower the interest rates on credit cards and loans, saving them more money. Personal bookkeeping can also help clients identify credit card fraud and identity theft when charges are not in-line with budgeted amounts. Additionally, by having their financial data ready and in good order, they are able to reduce their tax preparation costs and file their taxes sooner, lowering the risk for tax refund fraud.

Many times I coach clients in setting up a budget, and having personal bookkeeping services can help to track your spending, compare what you spend to that budget, and identify areas of weakness. This tracking is invaluable to help reduce impulse purchases, flagging missed payments, as well as identifying opportunities to save money. Proper bookkeeping provides key information needed to develop goals and strategies for tackling your specific challenges. This is particularly helpful for those clients working with an ADHD coach on budgeting and spending control.

Libby’s company also manages financial related paper. (Did I hear a collective ‘cheer’?) Clients are able to scan or fax their bills and statements to them and they keep it in a safe, secure, on-line platform that gives you access to your records 24/7 through computer, smartphone, or tablet. Additionally, the records needed for tax purposes are all in one place and there is no need to rummage through stacks of paper trying to find a bill. You can even get help to stay on top of your bills and avoid policy cancellations, late fees, and interest charges!

Libby offers the following advice for those who struggle with money issues and how they can help themselves. Here are a few steps you can take right now to begin getting a handle on YOUR finances so money can stop slipping through your hands:

1. Set reminders on your phone or computer to pay bills twice a month.

2. Set up automatic payments and use bill pay services through your bank to reduce the chance of overlooking a bill and the amount of paper you handle each month.

3. Check your bank balances each morning (if your bank offers on-line services), before you leave for work to avoid overdrafts and bounced checks. Many banks offer apps for your phone that make this step quick and easy.

4. Get outside help. Whether it is through a professional service or a trusted family member or friend, if you struggle with managing your finances, get help. Just as you go to a salon or auto mechanic, use a professional if money management isn’t something you do well.

Libby Felten is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and holds an MBA in Finance. She is the owner of Accountanista®, a bookkeeping firm that serves individuals, small businesses and non-profits nationwide. She can be reached at:
[email protected] or 267-42-ACCTG (267-422-2284)