Does ADHD Make You Bad with Money?

May 31, 2022 Austin Harvey


Beyond the scope of a checking account, money and I have never been on speaking terms. I suspect attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is making me bad with money. When others speak of investing, 401(k)s, or, frankly, even savings, I feel the desperate desire for a Rosetta Stone to help me translate. I took four years of French in high school, and I can still remember "Le chien est sur la route!in case there's ever a dog in the road, and I need to alert somebody, but Finance might as well be Ancient Sumerian as far as my comprehension is concerned.

Having attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as an adult means I've got to deal with both the symptoms of ADHD and the symptoms of the world's worst illness, Adulthood, and these two conditions don't tend to get along well.

Is ADHD Why I'm So Bad with Money?

My ADHD involves attributes of both impulsivity and inattentiveness, which regularly means I'm losing focus on the task at hand, and I subsequently avoid that task by, oh, I don't know, ordering myself a new pair of running shoes which I'm totally going to use and finally get back into the habit of regular exercise (please don't ask me to follow up on this, but trust me when I say I'm absolutely 100% following through). I also like to think of my bank account as "Schröedinger's Bank Account," meaning that, as long as I don't check it, the account is neither overdrawn nor positively balanced. The uncertainty is at least mildly optimistic, at least compared to a negative balance.

The point is, I've always been terrible at managing my money with ADHD. This extended beyond real life, too, and into video games, where I would finish a dungeon and splurge on weapon and armor upgrades for my main character, entirely neglecting my party and inevitably regretting my purchases when I moved on to the next dungeon and immediately received better equipment.

Inversely, apply that same logic to everyday life. Did I need that shirt I saw on sale? Did I need the 13 houseplants I brought home? I find I can rarely weigh the pros and cons of something before I buy it, and only afterward am I able to say, "Oh, I didn't really need this, did I?"

Obviously, this can be problematic for a number of reasons, among which are: rent, student loans, car payments, car insurance, health insurance, inflation, taxes, and so on and so forth.

So, how am I learning to better manage my finances with ADHD?

Better Money Management with ADHD

As distracting and infuriating as modern technology can sometimes be, you have to admit that it can be incredibly helpful, too. For every time-sucker like TikTok, Instagram, or Reddit there is, we can also find apps that automate processes that would normally be a source of great anxiety or time commitment.

Thankfully, many of these apps also fall into the "productivity" and "finance" categories. There are apps that will automatically allocate your budget, notify you of upcoming bills and transactions, and even services that you can text, saying, "Hello, can I buy Thing?" and they will say, "No. Do not buy Thing. Thing does not fit your budget."

Sure, technology can be invasive — and I'm very much a pen and paper kind of guy, all things considered — but we have to acknowledge its benefits at times and admit there's no shame in utilizing these things to help us lead better lives. That's sort of the key point, right? If something enhances your day-to-day life, then there's no reason not to use it.

Perhaps this is just a me issue, though. I'm curious to hear about your experiences with ADHD and managing money or to hear any tips you might have! If you have a method that works for you, please share it in the comments below.

APA Reference
Harvey, A. (2022, May 31). Does ADHD Make You Bad with Money?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, May 28 from

Author: Austin Harvey

Connect with Austin on Twitter, Instagram, Medium, and on his website.

Leave a reply