In this article, I explain why I chose to focus on minimalism with money, living with ADHD, how unavoidable personal finance is, our financial education, and what my plans are to make financial education tailored to those who think differently.
Why did I choose minimalism?
I love the idea behind minimalism and how it relates to our lives. The mentality behind minimalism is a great way of creating a financial life that is simple, elegant, and authentic.
Minimalism is a lifestyle that helps people question what things add value to their lives. By clearing the clutter from life's path, we can all make room for the most important aspects of life: health, relationships, passion, growth, and contribution - The Minimalists
If we don't know what's truly important or what matters, we can live a life where we feel anxiety, discontent with where we are, and shame that we aren't doing enough.
I have found through my own experience trying to manage my finances that using my money in a way that aligns with my authentic self has been incredibly life-giving. It has also bubbled up shame and guilt from the depths of my mind that I didn't know existed as money can seep into every facet of our life.
It also doesn't hurt that a few of the core tenets of minimalism relate to money so well, like...
● Intentionality: thinking through purchase decisions, financial goals, and how you want to lead your life by taking small steps.
● Prioritization: focusing your spending on what matters to you, and knowing the order of importance of where you want your money to be spent.
● Contentment: being happy with what you have, not focusing on what you lack, and knowing what "enough" means to you.
● Simplicity: simplifying your financial life can make room for things you care about, and make daily life less overwhelming.
Living with ADHD
I was diagnosed with ADHD at age 30, and all of my life I have dealt with impulsivity, buying things I don't need, dealing with shame, and feeling incapable of change. This chaotic energy surrounded money, and even talking about it sent me into overwhelm.
I had this mentality that it was "just money, I can make more". This mentality in itself isn't harmful if it's used in moderation. However, I used it as an excuse for everything I bought. I reasoned that I had a steady paycheck in the Marines and knew that it was coming in no matter what.
Using this logic, I had dug myself into a huge hole of debt that at the peak was $90k in credit cards and auto debt.
I lived this way for years, and it wasn't until I got out of the Marine Corps that I even thought about money. I fortunately used a positive aspect of ADHD, hyperfocus, and learned everything I could about personal finance.
The next four years I was able to get out of debt, buy a duplex in the town I was going to college in, and become financially independent-ish. One of the feelings of being confident with your money is knowing that you will be okay if something unexpected happens. I want you to feel that confidence and the self-love that blossoms when you achieve it.
Personal finance is too important to avoid
Unfortunately, dealing with money is an unavoidable topic if you want to operate “normally” in society. Money can be a tool, but it more closely resembles a relationship. Money seems to bring out the best and worst in us, and often exploits our full range of emotions in the process.
If this relationship is positive, it can be life-giving. It can allow us to live a life aligned with our values and goals, it can make working optional, allow us to go on more vacations, and give to our families and others.
However, it can turn into a bad relationship, where we end up living lives in debt, living paycheck to paycheck, feeling like we’re drowning in expectations we can’t meet and punishing ourselves for it.
“Understanding your relationship with money is the first step towards using it in the way that matters most to you.”
I want to help you understand your relationship with money, and how it relates to your authentic self and living a life more aligned with your values.
Personal finance is rarely taught in schools and to make matters worse, there are quite a few people and businesses out there ready to prey on this lack of knowledge.
This blog is the result of thousands of hours that I have spent researching and coaching people on money and how it relates to their lives.
What makes me different
I am a qualified financial professional who understands ADHD, habits, behavior change, and what it's like to live both inauthentically and authentically to my values. I know firsthand the change required and the work it takes to make that leap.
I understand that there can be a lot of nuance to your situation. Aligning your money with your values and beliefs, your memories of how your parents viewed money, your current opinions on money, how you view investing, etc. can be complicated.
A lot of current personal financial blogs and influencers only give access to their unique relationship with money or their opinion on it. It's fun to see how other people use money, what they would do in certain situations, and get some hope that we also can change, but that's their story, not yours.
One of my top priorities is to help you understand how your situation applies to the many different aspects of money. I will share resources on how to start implementing these financial topics into your life. I know it is incredibly difficult to just read something and then all of a sudden know what to do next, or even how it relates. I am the bridge between knowledge and practical application for you.
What to expect from future articles
I will write each article about a specific topic and give practical applications, whether it's templates, resources, questionnaires, research, or exercises that can help you apply that topic to your current situation.
I also plan on creating different series that help you navigate the complex financial landscape, like...
- Evaluation Series: where I show the research I conduct about financial companies, products, software, and books and if they are worth buying.
- Client Stories: this will be a series that involves my actual clients (names and situations altered for privacy) that shows you what they are going through, how they feel, how I help them, and what resources are used. I want you to know that you aren't alone.
- Educational Series: this will revolve around relevant financial topics and exploring how they relate to your situation. The topics will include cash flow, budgeting, investing, retirement, financial independence, real estate investing, and home buying, to name a few.
- Curation Series: this will be a gathering of other great financial content and writings that I find through my research and organized by topic for additional reading and research for you.
- Entrepreneurship Series: this will be financial content that will apply to starting and managing a small business. If you have ADHD, there's a good chance this is a topic that you have juggled with.
- I have found that minimalism is a great way to learn about personal finance, apply it to your life, and learn how to live as authentically as possible.
- I want to help you lower the stress and overwhelm you may harbor around money.
- I understand what it's like to feel scatterbrained, overwhelmed, ashamed, and guilt-ridden when it comes to money.
- I also understand what it takes to become hopeful, confident, and knowledgeable about money.
- I want you to feel the relief of feeling confident and capable of achieving your financial goals.
- I want to help you understand the relationship you have with money and living and help you learn to live a life more aligned with your values.
- I want to make sure that I am continuously providing resources that can help you understand your own relationship with money.
- There are many out there that struggle.