Is being bad at taking care of money a thing in autism, or..

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WonderWoman
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03 Dec 2019, 7:42 pm

....am I just incompetent? I've had opportunities to save money for my retirement, but I've invested it very poorly. I feel terrible. I've decided now to just save what I have in a very conservative place and keep working in my tech job. At 67, I worry I'll be pressured out of my job, or something could happen to my health, and I have a musician partner and sweet little chihuahua to take care of. I try to live one day at a time and appreciate the home we have now and my job.
Not only am I on the autism spectrum (high functioning supposedly, although this money thing argues otherwise), but I'm an orphan since early childhood, so it just feels so lonely figuring this out by myself. I have complications of manic behavior, which I think is the root of my poor investments. My rule now is: stop, no investing. Just save. Hopefully, I will have enough for a small house in a small town somewhere (my partner wants to live in France, country, can't afford Paris) and my SS. I wrote a book, Meditate Yourself Skinny, that I'm trying to build a following for on Twitter (am I allowed to say that?), but I don't think that will bring much in.
Is this a thing among Autistic people? It certainly adds to my feelings of being "weird."


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03 Dec 2019, 9:14 pm

I don't think it has anything to do with autism. I know lots "normal" people who have trouble taking care of money. It isn't unusual for couples to have the more able person managing the money.



WonderWoman
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03 Dec 2019, 9:41 pm

Thanks, BTDT. Yeah, I kindof thought so, but was just wondering. Unfortunately, I’m the better of the two of us. Musicians make no money. At 71 unlikely he will. I will keep trying. I’m grateful for my meditation practice that allows me to appreciate what I have today. Who knows, I may be able to work just long enough to meet our needs. I was doing ok for a while, then made a bad decision. My mistake has made me humble and cherish every moment with my Dave and dog.


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SharonB
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03 Dec 2019, 11:36 pm

I am pathologically frugal, so have a savings and my NT husband really wants to spend it while we are alive. I saw my NT dad and AS-like mom go near bankrupt a couple times, so I swung the other way. I only buy what I need and am prepared to lose everything at any time. It's not particularly healthy either.



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04 Dec 2019, 2:59 am

Poor planning skills associated with executive dysfunctions common on the spectrum can lead to being bad with money. But as said plenty of NT's are bad with money and they are for reasons that have nothing to do with poor planning skills, such as poor math skills.


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firemonkey
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04 Dec 2019, 4:03 am

I'm not brilliant at money management, but it's easily the best daily living skill I have . I have months where I spend quite a lot, but I'm not in debt .


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Fireblossom
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04 Dec 2019, 6:31 am

I'm good at managing money, kind of have to be since I come from a working class family and am low paid myself.

I don't think it's an autism thing, especially since plenty of NTs end up in money trouble as well.



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04 Dec 2019, 8:49 am

I see it as another puzzle to solve. I'm good at solving puzzles. :D



GiantHockeyFan
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04 Dec 2019, 9:46 am

I once went to the bank thinking I was bad at money management since I only had a couple of thousand saved and no assets other than a car. The bank officer told me very matter of factly that I was doing better than 90% of his clients and many had massive debt even when they made far more income. I just came back from the bank and commented to the teller on how unusually quiet it was. She explained that the is it quiet because everyone comes in the 1st or 2nd of the month because the 'cheques' arrive and very few people have any money saved at all.

I also have a cousin from Fort McMurray, Alberta (at the time possibly one of the richest cities in the world), comes from rich parents and she has declared bankruptcy. Twice. In short, this is not as ASD trait and is way more common than you realize. I find it incredible how many people I know who are 40+, have NOTHING saved for retirement and don't own a house or have any sources of equity. Even some of the women I dated openly admitted they had $30,000+ consumer debt and worked a low paying job. I guess I was lucky because I was so naïve when I was younger I never even realized it was possible to go into debt other than for a car and house!



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04 Dec 2019, 10:08 am

A couple of years ago, almost the whole population of Fort McMurray was evacuated because of a wildfire.

I'm one of those who screwed up on the money end.

You're doing pretty good, GHF. You should be commended.



Dial1194
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05 Dec 2019, 9:03 am

It is a known issue in ASD, to a certain extent. However, as mentioned upthread, it's more due to being a side-effect of executive dysfunction than being its own thing.

If it helps, I know aspies who are terrible with money, and those for whom it's a target of ferocious monitoring and near-obsession - going over every bank statement with a fine-toothed comb, manually balancing their accounts and noting every expense and bit of income. Sometimes not because they're fixated on it, so much, but just because they feel they have to keep a super-close eye on everything or they'll fall into the executive problem and f**k up their finances without realizing it.

It's not hard to be better than most of the population at personal finances, though. Set up a recurring alarm or schedule to go through your bank statements once a month or so. Either record your expenditures or go 100% electronic on your payments for everything, so you'll have a record of what you bought already semi-compiled. If you think you're spending too much, go through your expenditures and see if there are common factors that might be able to be reduced. While rent or a mortgage payment generally isn't reduceable unless you move, things like snack food or regular entertainment expenses can often be a surprisingly large component, and there may be cheaper options. You may also want to look for periodic expenses like annual house or car maintenance, and decide to put aside an amount each week/fortnight/month/quarter to handle those, so they're not shocks when they arrive.

Not to mention that manually trawling your bank statements will tend to give you more of a sense of control, or at least a sense of increased knowledge about your finances.



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05 Dec 2019, 10:22 am

Dial1194 wrote:
If it helps, I know aspies who are terrible with money, and those for whom it's a target of ferocious monitoring and near-obsession - going over every bank statement with a fine-toothed comb, manually balancing their accounts and noting every expense and bit of income.

I am both of those. I obsess and then I am completely hands off (and overwhelmed). So, I try to obsess when it matters. At one time I had a spreadsheet of near 1,000 medical line items and got refunds well over $3,000 from mistakes and shenanigans. But this year I am completely overwhelmed by the dozen or so bills because I have no list. And I'm not sure I want to take the time to make a list and I feel weird paying bills without one (did I pay this already?)… So 1,000 --- I'm on it (focused, committed, obsessed), 6-7 --- aaaaaaah!



aspieprincess123
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05 Dec 2019, 11:46 am

I'm very bad with money as I found out.

When I loved at my parents when I was working my parents used to manage my bank account and give me pocket money which gave me a false sense of security as when I moved out with now my ex I had no idea how money and bills really worked and I racked up impressive debt within 3 months.

Till now my partner used to manage the money but now we split up I'm having a major panic about managing a house on my own



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06 Dec 2019, 7:47 am

kraftiekortie wrote:
A couple of years ago, almost the whole population of Fort McMurray was evacuated because of a wildfire.

I'm one of those who screwed up on the money end.

You're doing pretty good, GHF. You should be commended.


Absolutely and I should have clarified that she lives in Edmonton now in a poor neighborhood and has been there for quite some time so she wasn't affected by the wildfires. My point was she was basically set for life yet still managed to screw it up. Last I heard she was looking at bankruptcy for the third time!

I appreciate the good word (I now realize why my nickname was Mr. Burns in High School!) although I certainly have made some really dumb decisions like buying a brand new car at 22 that barely lasted 5 years and not investing in property when I had the chance in my late 20s (the townhouse I looked at doubled in value in less than 10 years!) I will admit it makes me depressed to see people waste money that I could have easily made work for me via investments. For example this year alone my father wasted enough money this year alone to pay for his grandson's entire education. Ditto for my brother: if I had his income I could have easily used the cushion to retire today and start my own business doing something that isn't soul crushing around my son's schedule. Whenever I hear him talk about the prospect of losing his job I can only roll my eyes: he makes triple my income on a bad month.

There is a happy medium though: I know a couple of seniors in the family that live in a crappy house that absolutely stinks. It is in desperate need of renovations and they are in poor health. They are cheap to boot so you would assume they are dirt poor and lived on handouts when in reality they probably have a bank account in the millions. Apparently the grandmother was recently complaining about how she had nothing to spend their money on!! !

Kind of OT, but I find it incredibly ironic that I, who concentrated in Microeconomics and Banking in University, could not get even a bank teller job yet a few years back when I was single and looking at investments the teller didn't even know what compound interest was! I feel bad because I had a little blowout and quite loudly said how ridiculous it was that I wasn't considered qualified to work at a bank yet the two tellers didn't understand one of the basic principles of banking. That's like working at McDonalds and not knowing fries are made from potatoes!



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06 Dec 2019, 8:27 am

GiantHockeyFan wrote:
kraftiekortie wrote:
Kind of OT, but I find it incredibly ironic that I, who concentrated in Microeconomics and Banking in University, could not get even a bank teller job yet a few years back when I was single and looking at investments the teller didn't even know what compound interest was! I feel bad because I had a little blowout and quite loudly said how ridiculous it was that I wasn't considered qualified to work at a bank yet the two tellers didn't understand one of the basic principles of banking. That's like working at McDonalds and not knowing fries are made from potatoes!


Your story illustrates precisely why you were unqualified to be in customer service at a bank. It is more important to be able to keep your cool when interacting with customers than to understand basic principles of money.