Four Secrets for Making a Dream Come True

You can travel to Italy… or wherever you want to go… or to make any other dream you can imagine come true.

My husband, Duane and I have been in Rome for almost two weeks of our four-week trip we’re taking to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary.  This is a dream come true, and what’s even more amazing is that we’re doing it all without borrowing any money.  Nope, we won’t even have a big credit card bill greeting us when we get home.

Let me share some of the secrets that allowed us to take a pain-free, debt-free one-month trip to Italy:

We used delayed gratification.  Two years ago we decided we wanted to do something special for our 25th anniversary and chose to travel to Italy, home of some of the most amazing art in the world (Duane is an artist and has always wanted to see Michelangelo’s work firsthand).  In the past, Duane, an impulsive ADHDer, would have called a travel agent, booked our flights and figured out the rest later.  We’ve learned that this is the hard way of doing things, after all, how can you enjoy a trip that is sinking you deeper in debt?

Instead, using the wisdom acquired from past mistakes, we estimated how much it would cost for such a trip in May 2009, and began to plan what it would take – knowledge, money, paperwork, and reservations – to actually make a month-long trip to Italy.  It was quite a stretch for us and we wondered if it would be possible.

We created a plan.  We began by identifying two or three steps we could take that would bring us closer to our dream.  We looked at our options for travel and accommodations.  We listed all the things we wanted to see. We started to figure out the financial requirements and did research.  The more we learned, the more steps we could add to our plan, and sometimes we discovered we had to go back and make changes to our plan, but that was easy to fix, and it wasn’t stressful as we knew we had plenty of time to adjust.  Too often, people put off taking any action until they have all the information, but if we had made that mistake, we never would have made this trip.

We fed our dream.  It’s difficult for any ADHDer to maintain focus on some far-off objective, and Duane struggled to remain motivated without impulsively booking the trip right away.  We allowed ourselves some instant gratification in seeking out art and travel information about Italy.  We borrowed books from the library and purchased others, regularly consulting books, maps and pictures of Italy to make the dream more real.  Duane consulted art books to map out what he’d go see first hand when we finally made it to Rome and Florence. We planned, discussed, and dreamed about Italy for two years. This allowed us to remain motivated and made us far better prepared for the trip when it was time.  It was also a lot of fun!

We created a system. Duane’s standard approach to taking a vacation was to go; he’d run up the credit card bills and then deal with the fall-out upon his return.  Sometimes it would be several years between vacations as we scrimped and saved to pay down the debt, and I’d be stressed during the vacation watching the charges mount, and we’d all be stressed when we arrived home, knowing the huge bill that was waiting.

We wanted this trip to be different, so even though it was the biggest trip we’d ever taken, we developed a plan and created a system to accumulate the required funds BEFORE we left. We opened a bank account and set up automatic monthly deposits. At first, we felt the pinch of the diverted funds but very quickly adjusted our lifestyle and avoided over spending. We changed our credit card to one that provided travel points and carefully managed our spending so that the majority of our purchases went on the credit card to accumulate points but was completely paid off each month.

For extras on the trip, Duane even started to accumulate his loose change.  Each day he would carefully hide away whatever change was in his pocket.  We weren’t counting on this money, but small efforts really can add up – over the course of two years, he accumulated $2,160 in loose change, a very nice bonus.  You should have seen the teller when we staggered into the bank with his load of change!

I’m writing this article, sitting in my apartment in Rome.  We’re taking the day off from sightseeing because we just spent three glorious days exploring every nook and cranny of Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance, and the only stress I feel right now is whether we should go to Venice this weekend, or if it would be less crowded if we waited until after the weekend.  Does that sound like a dream to you?  It did to us, and we made it come true.  What dream will you make come true?

Arrivaderci from Rome!

Break Free of Your “Sorry, No Money” Chains!

In my parents’ generation, talking about money was taboo.  I’ve been very open about the serious financial problems Duane and I had, because we both know how not talking about it only made the problem worse.  For a long time, Duane and I put our heads in the sand, hoping the problem would go away.  But we had to face it, to talk about it and to take action.

Yes, it’s embarrassing to admit it we had money problems.  It’s probably something you’d like to think would just disappear if you ignore it too.  But our financial problems taught us that they don’t go away by themselves.  You have to take positive steps to overcome the problem.  Our experience also taught us that there is a solution.

In all the years Duane and I struggled financially, we searched for and tried many ways to overcome this major source of fighting in our family.  We bought books, put ourselves on strict budgets and spent hoursà often every day, just trying to deal with our financial misfortune.  We had to collect empty bottles to turn in for the refund just to buy groceries.  Using a budget, we’d make some headway but felt so deprived that at some point we couldn’t handle it anymore and we’d go on binge and fall off the wagon.

We also felt guilty!  Every time our kids would ask to go to special school or church outing, we’d have to say “Sorry sweetheart, but there’s no money!”  We even turned down programs that would help us work through our financial difficulties, saying “Sorry, no money!”  When the investment opportunity of a lifetime presented itself, we’d reluctantly say “Sorry, no money!”

Years of following the same pattern, depriving ourselves, followed by binging, and feeling guilty about it, we realized that spending every waking moment of our lives worrying and thinking about our lack of money did not bring us closer to our goals, and certainly wasn’t helping us lead the life we’d imagined.

Finally, we decided to take a different approach to managing our finances.  Instead of the “binging and dieting” approach of splurging and budgeting, we decided to change our money lifestyle.  We faced our limiting beliefs around money and shifted them.  (It’s amazing how changing your thoughts really can change your life!)  Finally, we made small but significant changes to the way we managed our financial health.  Before long, we were able to stop spending all our time thinking about money because the situation was fixing itself automatically.

If you’re tired of having to say “Sorry, no money!” and you’d like to learn to manage your finances more successfully, join us on ADHD Money Management: Finally Dollars and Sense group coaching program (http://tinyurl.com/adhdmoney) that starts on Monday, February 9th at 8:30 pm. Don’t wait, space is limited!

Manage your Finances Without a Budget

Most personal finance gurus insist that to take charge of your financial health, you need to create and stick to a budget.  For most creative geniuses, especially those with ADHD, a budget is BOOORINGGGGG and so all but impossible.

Because even if you believe a budget is essential, you’re not likely to be able to prepare one, or follow it… remember, it’s boooringggg!  Boring things don’t stimulate your brain.  Trying to focus on tasks such as preparing a budget when you’re brain isn’t stimulated is about as easy as driving your car around the block when you can’t get the engine started.

No wonder creative geniuses, with or without ADHD, suffer financially far more than the “neurotypical” population.  But you’re not doomed to financial hardship, bankruptcy or a retirement age of 97!  You just need a different, non-budgeting, approach to managing your financial health… an approach that isn’t boring.  (No, not gambling!)

What worked for Duane and me – and believe me, if it worked for us, it can work for anyone – was to stop trying to manage our money the traditional way (and failing miserably!) and adopt ADHD-friendly ways to organize our finances.  It all started with a three-step process:

1. We took our financial pulse – it wasn’t pretty, but knew how deep a hole we were in (and it was deep!)
2. We figured out where we wanted to be by deciding what was important to us, and what really wasn’t.
3. We started looking for money “hidden in the sofa cushions.”  No, not really, but by being aware of the money our poor choices were robbing from us, we were able to start getting out of debt (instead of getting in deeper every month!) using the money we were already earning!

Already, I was thrilled, and that was just the beginning!  In a couple of days I’ll tell you how we went from having 17 maxed out credit cards, no savings and an old rusted car that we owed five thousand dollars on, to being debt-free (except for a small reasonable mortgage), with a nice home, retirement savings.  On top of that, we purchased a new car for cash, and this spring we’re going on a one-month vacation to Italy this year.

 

3 Secrets of Good ADHD Money Management

ADHD money management is a paradox. The first thing financial experts say is never let anyone else have control of your money. The next thing they say is that you need to follow a strict budget, avoid impulsive spending and save for the future.

As an adult with ADHD, you know that is a recipe for disaster. After all, they are asking you to:

  • pay attention to the details of a budget,
  • consistently micro-manage your finances to get out of debt,
  • eliminate impulsivity in your spending,
  • planfor the future,
  • organize all your bills and receipts,
  • and so on…

It flies in the face of the very challenges ADHD adults face. Just think about how most ADHD adults see money management.

Typical ADHD Money Management

Budgets are so boring! Most people don’t use them, let alone ADHD-ers. Getting out of debt is the slow drip of water torture, unless you’re planning on winning the lottery! (Not an effective plan, by the way.) Eliminating impulsivity in something that’s as much fun as spending money? Forget it! Oh, and plan for the future? When there is only “now” and “not now,” you’re not going to put money you could spend NOW for sometime that is NOT NOW! Sound familiar?

Harv Ecker, the well-known author of “Secrets of the Millionaire Mind,” and a popular speaker on the subject of personal finances tells people that if you count on getting rich enough to have someone else take care of your money, you won’t make it. He explains that you won’t get rich if you don’t learn to manage your money, and you won’t stay rich if you let someone else take control of your money.

For adults with ADHD money management is so difficult that many (I’d even guess most) ADHDers never learn how to do it effectively. Studies show that on average ADHDers earn $10,000 less per year than non-ADHD-ers, and if you have trouble earning it, you’ll also having trouble keeping it. It doesn’t have to be that way though.

There are many ADHD-ers at the top of their game who excel in their careers, earning far above the average person with a comparable background. They’ve learned to work with their strengths and compensate for their weaknesses. Your challenge is to become one of them, and it is possible, but it won’t happen by itself.

Learning ADHD Money Management

Where can you learn ADHD strategies for money management? Personal financial management is rarely taught in schools, so unless you’ve sought out extra education, you’re following the only financial model you’ve seen. You manage your money just like your parents. If your parents are excellent financial managers, if they are wealthy and are living the life style you dream of living in the future, good for you. However, if your parents aren’t living the life you want, it’s time to change your approach.

You can learn personal money management through books, seminars and classes. Unfortunately, even when they teach personal money management, nothing is said about ADHD money management, and without specific ADHD strategies, you might never get out of debt let alone build your savings. In traditional approaches, the first step to getting a handle on your finances is to “prepare a budget,” and as you know, those words will make almost any ADHD adult shudder in fear.

Keys to ADHD Money Management

While you can’t learn all about ADHD money management in one article (see here to learn more), to get your financial affairs in order, apply these three ADHD strategies. The three keys to ADHD money management are:

  1. Pay yourself first. You must save for the future. At some point, your income may be interrupted. You may need or want to stop working, and if you have no source of income, you’ll need to survive on what you’ve saved for a rainy day. Your first priority must be to save up for that umbrella! If anyone counsels you to pay all your bills and put the rest into savings, run away! You already know there’s never any left to go into savings.
  2. Make everything automatic. While you don’t want to delegate responsibility for your personal finances, you can make the decisions about your ADHD money management strategies and then set up systems to operate according to your wishes. When you drive a car, you decide to speed up and step on the gas. The car responds to your bidding, but it doesn’t demand that you get out and push it yourself. When you automate your payments, with Internet banking and other systems, you set the strategy so you’re not giving up control, but the system compensates for your ADHD challenges. You’ll save on late fees and interest charges by never forgetting a payment, and you’ll protect your credit rating too.
  3. Use what’s left over for whatever you want. If you’re saving for the future and paying all your bills, any money that’s left is yours to play with! It’s now safe to be impulsive if you want. Even if you spend every penny left over, your financial success strategy is still executing perfectly. You can spend it all, or save for a big purchase like a dream vacation.

Life’s Better with ADHD Money Management

While traditional approaches to managing personal finances may give you a headache, once you get an ADHD money management strategy established and the systems set up to make sure it’s executed as planned, things get really interesting. You see, once you stop concentrating on mundane tasks like paying bills, you can turn your attention to earning money. ADHD-ers actually have a good chance of outperforming the general population in terms of personal prosperity. Once you focus your energies on getting the most out of your strengths. Typically, an ADHD-er who chooses a career that plays to his or her strengths will excel far beyond the average person.

 

If you’d like to receive more details about ADHD money management and how you can improve your life by putting the right ADHD strategies into play, than can fit in this article, just enroll in this free ecourse at https://coachlindawalker.com/adhd-money-management/. You’ll receive your first email immediately and you can get started on improving your financial future today.