ADHD Counseling and Financial Therapy: ADHD tax

This article describes one of the challenges of having ADHD that impacts people’s financial and emotional states –

“The costs of life with ADHD are as plentiful and persistent as they are frustrating.”

“Our disorder costs real money — not only to diagnose and treat, but simply to navigate. ADHD costs real-world, money-in-the-bank cash, and all of us who have it know that. According to Reuters, 57% of us miss loan payments. More than half of us have a bad credit rating, and 71% of us have not saved for retirement. And then there are the consequences of our impulsivity — 62% of us, reports Reuters, shop impulsively.”

“But we’re also more likely to engage in less measurable but no-less-costly behavior. We buy clothes that don’t fit, then forget to return them. We drop cash on hobbies, and they gather dust when we (inevitably) move on. We need something tomorrow, so we pay overnight shipping fees. They call this “the ADHD Tax.” It’s real, and it’s expensive.”

The costs encountered may come with deep shame. “Those extra fees aren’t limited to overdrafts. They come from the library — maybe you’ve stopped going because you owe so much. They come from your utility company, your phone provider, your landlord, your kids’ school, your own school. You didn’t pay on time, so you owe more money. That’s the ADHD Tax in action. Neurotypical people pay far less money far less often.”

“Things don’t get done now so they cost more later: that ADHD Tax again. You don’t go to the dentist, so that tooth needs a root canal instead of a filling. You put off that trip to the post office, so you pay extra for priority shipping. You don’t buy a wedding present, so you drop $200 on napkin rings (six months ago, your neurotypical brother spent $20 on tea towels). You said you’d go see that concert, but you forgot to buy tickets. Now you’re paying scalper prices. Gas? You thought you could make it another few miles, but your light came on, so you’re stuck buying from the station just off the Interstate, where it costs an extra ten cents a gallon.”

“You didn’t eat all those groceries. You never used those impulse buys. You bought a pack of pens, forgot you bought a pack of pens, and bought another pack of pens. You lost your phone; you killed your houseplants; you forgot to turn off auto-renew, and you’re on the hook for another year of service you didn’t need. Of course, neurotypical people do these things. But they don’t do so many of them, and they don’t do them so often.”

“Neurotypical people generally don’t bleed money and get nothing in return. We pay extra. We run faster to keep up. Then we miss the benefits neurotypical people enjoy. We don’t cut coupons or compare prices: we’re too intimidated or it simply doesn’t occur to us. We don’t file for tax breaks. We don’t list potentially valuable stuff on eBay — we’d forget to mail it — so off it goes to Goodwill. We pay the tax. Then we miss the rebate.”

ADHD Counseling and Financial Therapy with Elaine

Elaine specializes in counseling Neurodivergent adults and in Financial Therapy and helps people process their feelings and past trauma that interfere with them moving forward in their lives.