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Earn $500,000/Year and Have No Savings -- Is this Adult ADHD or Something Else?

A recent article points to the fact that many households who earn high income are unable to save any money for retirement or an emergency:

Other research tells us that as many as 45% of American households have saved nothing for retirement. When you look at the spending of the family earning $500,000 per year, you will see a number of items that aren’t necessary. They are wants, not needs. That seems to be the pattern today. But if you look closely at the budget in the Market Watch article, you will see a structure of spending we often talk about with ADHD. Impulsive spending that is possible because of a good income or cheap credit.

The system developed in the article puts the family into a spending pattern that is routine. Spending $18,000/year on vacations for example isn’t obviously necessary, but it is something that the family has come to expect. Their system of budgeting and spending is now a structure that guides their behaviour with ample opportunity for impulse buying or shopping. Here are some simple tips to help you with adult ADHD spending habits to avoid this calamity.

  1. Pay your savings account first. Take a set amount of money out of your account where your pay or allowance goes to before you do anything else. Try to target 10% of your revenue to start. If that is difficult, start with 5%, then watch as your spending adjusts to this new reality and your savings start to grow.

  2. Build a system of spending that is enjoyable but smart. Take a local trip, or staying in Canada (if you are Canadian) can drastically cut your vacation spending.

  3. Separate needs from wants. Before you purchase something, enforce the discipline and structure to ask yourself if you really need this product or service.

  4. Learn to enjoy life without trendy purchases. You likely know that one of my favourite sites is where young people are taught to save yet still enjoy their retirement and wealth. Saving doesn’t mean you can’t have a good time.

  5. Set goals. If your goal is to pay off your mortgage, what do you need to do each month to have that accomplished in 15 or 10 years? Do the math and get started now.

  6. The key to money management with adult ADHD or not, is to insure you have an effective system, not just any spending record keeping as outlined in the Market Watch article.

Remember that you and your family work very hard for your money and you need to make sure that you take advantage of all of the systems and structure you can put in place to make it work for you. The most important of my suggestions is to pay yourself and your savings account before anything else. Set up an automatic deduction at your bank to start today. Do it now. Make your children do it now.

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