Do You Have Financial ADD?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

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Recently, a client remarked that he thought he was suffering from financial ADD. Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) is a medical condition that is normally associated with children and adults who exhibit inappropriate levels of impulsivity, inattention, lack of focus and sometimes hyperactivity.

His rationale for making this diagnosis was his track record of starting small enterprises upon a whim, with minimal success. He also reported that he usually became distracted by what appeared to be 'hot' new opportunities, at the expense of the business venture in which he was already involved.

While I initially laughed at his declaration, I reflected on the concept of financial ADD and realised that when it came to their money affairs, many people could really be suffering from symptoms similar to the real disorder. Let's look at some ways in which financial ADD could be affecting your life.

Financial impulsivity

One of the main areas in which you may exhibit impulsive money behaviours is in your spending habits. If you often make purchases without knowing if you can really afford them, are clueless about what it costs to live your lifestyle, and never prepare a realistic budget, then you have financial ADD.

Another way in which impulsive decisions may wreak havoc with your finances is in borrowing money. Symptoms include buying items on your credit card that are beyond your means, using payroll loans to try to plug budget shortfalls and taking out loans without the ability to manage the monthly payments.

The investing choices you make can also point to financial ADD. If you follow friends into dubious investment schemes, expect to make improbable gains from minimal investing efforts, and fail to educate yourself about smart investing techniques, then your impulsivity can put your money at risk.

Financial inattention

While impulsive behaviours may have immediate repercussions on your finances, financial inattention or negligence can take many years before the full impact is revealed. For example, if you fail to start saving early for your retirement, you may be forced to live in deprivation in your senior years.

Another way in which financial negligence can put you at risk is if you ignore the need to acquire life, critical illness and health insurance. Hoping that everything will just work out fine is irresponsible, especially if you have dependents who would suffer if you were very sick or died too soon.

We will all pass from this earth at some point in time, and it's important to put plans in place to deal with your earthly possessions when you're no longer around. Your financial ADD in neglecting to write a will or arrange for the seamless transfer of assets can be costly for those you leave behind.

Lack of financial focus

Financial success requires you to be very focused on what you want to achieve with your money. If you fail to set specific and time-based goals, then it's highly likely that you will never accomplish your dreams. In this case, your financial ADD will prevent you from living the life you really desire.

When you put your money aside in savings and investments, it very important for you to be focused on how well your money is growing. If you fail to monitor your money after you have opened an account or made an investment, then your financial ADD may cause you to forfeit potential gains.

You could also lose from being financially unfocused in the area of creating extra income. To attain your money goals, you may need to increase your earning capacity. If you do not seek ways to make more money and are not resolute in going after them, you could miss out on profitable opportunities.

How to cure financial ADD

Curing a clinical case of ADD usually requires someone to undergo treatments such as behavioural modification and corrective medication, but sometimes the condition may remain with the person forever. With proper intervention, it is possible for someone to live a relatively normal life with ADD.

However, financial ADD is not an incurable disorder as the treatment is simple to administer, and highly effective. You can experience a 100% success rate once you are willing to commit to a programme of changing your attitudes and actions in relation to your money.

If you believe that you are suffering from this money illness, make it your priority to learn how to manage, multiply and maintain your money, by reading financial material and seeking expert advice. If you practise smart money habits with all your decisions, then you can say goodbye to financial ADD.

Cherryl is a money coach, business mentor and founder of Financially S.M.A.R.T. Services. Her upcoming book, "The 3 Ms of Money" will reveal all the secrets she learned about financial success. Read more on money and business matters at and Email comments to

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