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How being neurodiverse affects your relationship with money

BusinessPersonal FinanceHow being neurodiverse affects your relationship with money
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Money management can be difficult for anyone. And one-size-fits-all financial advice can leave neurodivergents (also called neurodivergents) who are struggling with their finances feeling stigmatized, or at a loss for how to take control of their finances.

But financial wellness is possible, by leaning on resources that target the neurodiverse community and using financial tools strategically.

What is neurodiversity?

Simply put, “Neurodivergence changes how our brains work,” said Maria Davis-Pierre, a licensed mental health counselor and CEO/Founder of Autism in Black. Davis-Pierre is neurodivers; He is autistic and suffers from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

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Neurodiverse people’s brains work in unique ways that differ from those of the average or “neurotypical” person. According to the Cleveland Clinic, neurodiverse conditions include: autism spectrum disorders, ADHD, dyslexia, social anxiety, bipolar disorder and more.

Neurodiversity is not unusual. According to the National Cancer Institute, it is estimated that 15% to 20% of the world’s population is neurodiverse. Organizations may use different definitions for neurodiversity, but this estimate is commonly cited.

How neurodiversity affects your finances

The neurodiverse community has a wide variety of needs and strengths, and the same is true when it comes to money management. And even neurotic people struggle with their finances. Getting help can help you navigate finances better tailored to your specific needs.

“Most people lack understanding when it comes to their finances,” said certified financial planner Elizabeth Yoder. She is the director of financial planning at Planning Across the Spectrum, which provides financial services to neurodiverse people and people with disabilities.

“I think neurodiverse people have the same difficulties as everyone else, but in different ways,” she said. money in savings and how,

Some additional financial challenges may include:

  • Having trouble remembering to pay your bills on time.
  • To spend at will
  • Procrastination when it comes to non-priority financial tasks such as the budget.
  • having trouble understanding complex Financial Planning,

Job security may also be at stake. “Typical work environments are not accommodating for people with ADHD or autism, and without accommodations, it is difficult to be successful,” Davis-Pierre said.

She notes that some neurodiverse people may need to take a lot of time off from work, especially if they have other disabilities that affect their ability to earn a steady income.

And the high cost of health care can also limit financial well-being. “With insurance, I spend about $2,000 a month on ADHD medication,” Davis-Pierre said. “I have financial privilege — my husband is a licensed therapist and I’m a licensed therapist, but it’s still a lot of money, so imagine what it’s like for people who really can’t afford it. “

The inability to get care or medication can affect people’s ability to be productive at work – and earn money.

How can you improve your relationship with money?

When you’re neurodiverse, community can be a great resource for organizing your finances. You don’t have to tackle financial wellness alone, and starting a discussion can provide reassurance about where you stand.

“People who are neurodiverse sometimes think they are worse off than they really are,” Yoder said. She notes that often her neurodiverse clients are on top of things more than they give themselves credit for and improvements are often made after they feel empowered to ask for help.

Here are some additional strategies to help you improve your finances.

Use technology to make things easier

If you struggle with forgetfulness, procrastination or are just generally overwhelmed with staying on top of your bills, automatic bill pay Can help, provided uneven cash flow doesn’t put you at risk of overdraft.

If it’s hard for you to have a clear picture of all your savings goals in one account, consider categorizing them. “Some banks allow you to create savings buckets without opening new accounts,” Yoder said. That way you don’t have to try and dispute multiple accounts and can instead create categories like “travel” or “emergency fund” in one account.

“Make sure things are easy for you, consolidate accounts where possible, consolidate multiple 401(k)s and get everything in one place,” she said.

Don’t force yourself to use tools that don’t suit you

Not every financial tool or piece of advice will work for everyone. “If a certain financial instrument doesn’t work for you, move on from it,” Yoder said.

Admitting that something isn’t working for you can be an important step toward taking charge of your finances.

ask for accommodation

“We are set in a world where adults are shamed for needing accommodations, so be honest with yourself and understand the accommodations you need to be successful,” Davis-Pierre said.

For example, at work, you might ask to bring your own lamp if office lighting triggers sensory issues or ask for short breaks throughout the day to focus better.

In everyday life, asking for accommodations can feel like asking someone to write down instructions for something like paying taxes to make the process easier for you.

find support

Lean on resources that support the neurodiverse community. Try researching community-support groups for neurodiverse individuals in your area.

Support can also come from working with financial organizations that center neurodiverse people, such as planning across the spectrum, or financial therapist,

Additional resources ranging from job assistance to government assistance and general information on neurodiversity include:

  • Neurodiversity Employment Network.
  • Neurodiversity Career Connector.
  • Employer Support and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion.
  • Government benefits.
  • Americans with Disabilities Act.
  • Different mind.
  • Color of Autism Foundation.

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The views and opinions expressed here are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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