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.