3 Insights From Real People on their ADHD and Money Experience

We spoke to a lot of people with ADHD about their experience managing money. Here are 3 insights we learned from those conversations.

3 Insights From Real People on their ADHD and Money Experience


At Rule, we're building a product to support those with ADHD manage their money in a way that works for them. As a part of this, we spend a lot of time talking to people who are diagnosed with ADHD to ask them questions on their experiences.

I thought it would be interesting to share some of the key findings from these discovery sessions. Sometimes knowing you're not alone can be really impactful in our day to day lives. Any of the stories below anonymous, and any names used will have been changed for privacy reasons.

Does ADHD make us more vulnerable to fraud?

One of the hallmarks of ADHD is a tendency to overshare personal information and one person I spoke to believes that it makes us more vulnerable when it comes to financial crime or abuse. They themselves had been a victim of crime, whereby they were staying in a hotel and allowed the hotel receptionist to take their bank card into the back room. During this time the receptionist took a copy of the card and ultimately stole money from them.

I have also spoken to numerous people who appeared to be the victims of financial abuse by letting ex-partners run up big debts in their names. This of course isn't just isolated to those with ADHD but it does beg the question as to whether there is a correlation between neurodiversity and a higher incident rate of financial fraud or abuse.

Going to great lengths to protect ourselves from ourselves

Having an impulsive nature can often lead to buying things you don't really need and in extreme cases can lead to debts or depleting savings accounts to satisfy the urge. I have spoken to a number of people who go to pretty great lengths to keep their money out of sight. Think of it as personally imposing a lot of friction on yourself being able to access money. As with ADHD, out of sight very often means out of mind. A few examples were:

1. Having multiple separate bank accounts
Opening accounts with multiple providers for different purposes, such as savings, bills and a "play money" account. This way, the person could just focus all their attention on the play money account and forget the others even existed.

2. Opening a savings account in a different county
One of our community members took the extreme step of opening up an old fashioned savings account, complete with a savings book where you can only access it when you are in person. To make it even harder for themselves, they opened it in a different county to where they live.

3. Giving money to friends to hold for them
Another person wanted to save for a holiday and couldn't trust themselves. So they decided to give all their savings for the holiday to a friend who was going to be going with them. This way, they knew that the friend would deny them access to the money and hold them accountable.

I just don't know where the money has gone

Overestimating how money will last seems to be a common theme amongst the community and people we spoke to. One person told us how after doing their budget they realised that they had around £240 to last for two weeks which felt like more than enough money. The next time they checked their bank balance a week later the number was £50. They had almost spent the whole lot. What was surprising is they had no idea how they had spent it and on what or why.

What was interesting was whether money spent was mentally classed as 'real' spending or just something that didn't even register. The example was that when visiting a friend, the cost of filling the car up with petrol didn't register as a cost. But this was a significant £60 cost that ate into the £240 balance. The takeaway is that regularly being aware of what is being spent on a daily basis can bring a level of control to money management when you struggle with visualising expenses.