Emotions and money was the subject of the last post. A suggestion. Read that one, Adult ADHD and Money – Personal Finance Part 1, if you have not already.
Then, if managing your money with greater ease is one of your goals, the next step is getting clarity around your values as they relate to money.
But maybe you are thinking, “I don’t need to read about emotions and values. What I need is “real help” getting a handle on my spending, budgeting, investing, saving and paying bills on time, etc. Real life money stuff…
I get it. You want to cut to the chase… If you don’t already have a good enough handle on these money matters, you want to deal with them so you can get your financial house in order.
But, if “mastering” the above topics is what you need, then you will definitely want to pause and first take some time to make sure you are clear on what you want your money to do for you.
Decision Making and Finances
Challenges with decision making are one of the hallmark symptoms for adults with ADHD. And this is no different when it comes to decisions around money.
You may have questions or thoughts about your finances swirling about in your head, like:
- Am I saving enough for retirement, college, etc.?
- I can’t take a job making less than I am now.
- Should I be spending less? What would I cut, if I did spend less?
- We can’t do without (fill in the blank).
- Is the emergency fund large enough? Should I start an emergency fund?!
- I’m just getting by… What should I be doing with my finances?
What questions and thoughts do you have related to your finances?
Maybe you are taking longer to make these decisions than you would like. But, if you are paralyzed in making decisions, you may end up:
- just avoiding the topic – not thinking or doing anything about your finances.
- thinking about your finances, perhaps endlessly, but still not acting.
In either case, knowing your values can help you establish your priorities, and ultimately make decision making regarding your finances easier.
Financial Goals and Your Values
It is your values that make goals important and meaningful to you; the goals themselves, including financial goals, are meaningless unless they support your values.
And, as an adult with ADHD, you know that following through on goals that are not important to you can be like wading through quicksand. If it doesn’t capture your interest, it will be extraordinarily hard to pursue them.
So, making sure you are clear on your financial goals and making sure they are important to you are critical steps, if you want to have an easier time following through on you intentions.
Money is a tool that allows you to enjoy what is really important to you.
How is the way you are currently handling your money supporting or not supporting your values?
Getting At Your Values
Not sure? It could be that you want your money to allow you to have security, freedom, more time to spend with family, achievement, independence, the ability to be generous, the capacity to make a difference, time to pursue your passions, etc.
Find out what you want your money to do for you.
The exercise below is adapted from Bill Bachrach, and is an excellent way to uncover your values related to money. All you need is a partner, paper and pen and curiosity about what is important to you.
Here is how the “Values Conversation” works:
- Your partner asks you: “What’s important about money to you?”
- Answer truthfully. Give the first answer that comes to mind.
- Your partner records your answer at the bottom of your paper.
- Then your partner builds on your answer by asking another question. “What’s important about [your last answer] to you?”
- Again, respond with your first thought.
- Your partner records it just above your previous answer.
- And then your partner asks you the question again.”What’s important about [the value you just said] to you?”
- Continue on in this manner recording your answers one above the other until you can go no further.
This will take some time. But when you are done, you should have more clarity on your values and what you want your money to do for you.
Next Step – Execution
This series would, of course, not be complete without talking about follow through. Once you are clear on your values, the next step is putting this information into action.
The next article in this series will focus on creating the structures that will help you follow through on your intentions that are in sync with your values.
So, check back for more info on ADHD and Personal Finances coming up….