ADHD Tax and the Black Tax

Image titled ADHD Tax with 6 images. The first image: An online store titled 'impulsive shopper' with images of a ukele, a watch, headphones and a water bottle. The second image is a fridge with expired food and rotten lettuce and orange. The third image is of a credit card. The forth image is an email page with three emails on paid subscriptions. The fifth image is a T-shirt and a pair of jeans, the fourth image is a red/grey train
Image titled ADHD Tax with 6 images. The first image: An online website titled impulsiveshopper.adhd.com with images of a ukelele, a watch, headphones and a water bottle. The second image is a fridge with expired food and rotten lettuce and orange. The third image is of a credit card. The fourth image is an email page with three emails on paid subscriptions. The fifth image is a T-shirt and a pair of jeans, the fourth image is a red/grey train

What is ADHD Tax?
I describe ADHD Tax as the costs associated with difficulties in managing ADHD traits. For me, the most taxing traits in relation to ADHD Tax are procrastination, poor memory, disorganisation and impulsiveness.

Quite a few ADHDers have said that they’re bad at managing finances, me too. For the most part, I think this is due to those ADHD traits I mentioned. Let’s unpack this.

Credit Card payment

Taking out my first credit card was an impulsive decision. Here’s a list of blunders I made:

  • I didn’t research/compare different credit cards or rates

  • I didn’t consider the Annual Percentage Rate (APR). APR is the cost of borrowing on the card if you don’t pay the whole balance off each month

  • I didn’t really have a plan. In terms of what I wanted to use my credit card for, my minimum monthly spend), etc

My failure to consider the above led to:

  • Forgetting that I even had a credit card I needed to pay off and the payments increased tremendously as the card had a very high APR. //The credit card I took out wasn’t from a retail bank, it was from a private bank. I didn’t know the difference at the time.

  • A dip in my credit score. My credit was actually very high before I took out the credit card because I paid off my bank overdraft on time because payments were automatic. I go to a stage where I was obsessed with sorting out my credit score. Luckily, I managed to pay the card off (took around 18 months) and my credit score is good.

Impulsive shopping

Impulsiveness is the ADHD trait that I have a love/hate relationship with. My impulsiveness serves me well when I’m lacking the confidence or will power to do something. On the other hand, my impulsiveness is the bane of my life when I’m bored.

A lot of us ADHD’ers struggle with boredom. I think this is partly due to feeling like we always need to be ‘on’ and also due to craving that sweet sweet dopamine rush. Boredom can be painful, frustrating and just, boring.
To ‘fill in the gap’, I browse online stores for things I don’t even need or even really want at the time. However, my impulsiveness kicks in and decides for me. I make the purchase, because ‘why not?’ I like it, even though I don’t need it. To try and combat this expensive ‘boredom gap’ I read a book, watch Netflix or play a video game instead.

Returning items

I’m really bad at returning items. I don’t think I’ve ever returned anything in my life. Clothes that don’t fit, incorrect order, faulty order, you name it. It’s a chore. The thought of having to go through a process to return something makes me nauseous. I end up giving away clothes that don’t fit to friends or family. The faulty items, I just throw them out. If this is something you used to struggle with and you’ve found a workaround, send me tips on Twitter at @AdultingADHD.

Black Tax

What is the black tax?

“ The extra money that black professionals are expected to give every month to support their less fortunate family and extended families.” - Urban Dictionary


I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth, many people weren’t. However, many black professionals are the ‘first’ in their families to earn a decent wage. When we finally get to a position where we’re earning a decent salary, the majority of our income is given intermediate and extended family members to help out with bills, debt, schooling, etc. Don’t get me wrong, I love that I’m able to help out family members, but this means putting my wants, needs and goals second. This also means that many of us in this position need to be stricter with our finances. We tend to strive to earn more so that we too can reap the benefits of all that we’ve worked for.

You could read the above and think that the same applies to you as a non-black person and you’re probably right. However, systematic racism is something you need to take into account.

“The median net worth of white families in the U.S. remains nearly 10 times the size of African Americans, and that nearly 1 in 5 black families have zero or negative net worth, the number is likely significant.” - Fast Company

ADHD Tax in conjunction with the black tax is a matter that I’ve only recently unpacked. I’m determined to be more intentional with how I manage my finances. I’ll update you all when I’ve found strategies that work for me.

Tweet me if you’d like to continue the conversation, @AdultingADHD


Rach, with ADHD