In the Money Zone — A Budgetary Q$A!

We’re at the end of our mini-series on ADHD and money and, just like with our finances, we have to be ready to PIVOT! When a guest has a last minute conflict, we’re ready to talk about budgets, and bills, and more with your questions!

Links & Notes


Episode Transcript

Brought to you by The ADHD Podcast Community on Patreon

Pete Wright:
Hello, everybody and welcome to Taking Control: The ADHD Podcast on TruStory FM. I’m Pete Wright, and I am here with Nikki Kinzer.

Nikki Kinzer:
Well hello Pete Wright. So, this is the first podcast that has been announced by TruStory.

Pete Wright:
Is that funny?

Nikki Kinzer:
Yes, it sounds great.

Pete Wright:
Thank you. I think so too.

Nikki Kinzer:
You branded yourself.

Pete Wright:
I did, we rebranded. Can I tell you a story?

Nikki Kinzer:
Yes.

Pete Wright:
As long as we don’t have a guest today?

Nikki Kinzer:
Yes.

Pete Wright:
Can I tell you a story?

Nikki Kinzer:
Absolutely.

Pete Wright:
I became Rash Pixel in 2011. And I really liked it because in my head, the rash was sort of conjured up this image of nimbleness and eagerness, right? It was just sort of eccentric way to put that. And in my head, that was totally rational and everybody surely thought the same thing. So, years went by-

Nikki Kinzer:
Rash?

Pete Wright:
Yeah.

Nikki Kinzer:
Rational?

Pete Wright:
Okay. Yea, see, I like that too.

Nikki Kinzer:
Okay.

Pete Wright:
So, years go by and we’ve got a new partner here at TruStory FM, and he starts writing some updated copy and says, “You know what, are you sure you want to stick with Rash Pixel?” And I said, “Yes, I like it.” He said, “Let’s just look up the definition.” And sure enough, my definition is in there, but it’s really low, and it says that it was last sort of defined that way in the late Middle English, and nobody knows what that means anymore.

Nikki Kinzer:
No.

Pete Wright:
It turns out it’s just an absence of forethought and carelessness and also a skin condition. So, we decided to rebrand it. We went through this whole thing and it was actually me sending a whole bunch of ideas to our very own discord mom, Melissa in discord, and said, “What do you think of these? And she said, ”Oh, here’s this and that, this is not," and she said something that ended in her saying true story as if it was like a hashtag. And I immediately went on to my domain registrar to see what was available and it was all available, and-

Nikki Kinzer:
And is crazy.

Pete Wright:
So I registered it and-

Nikki Kinzer:
That is meant to be.

Pete Wright:
It was meant to be. And so I’m very happy with it. We have logo, website, we’re building it but it’s live now, TruStory FM, lots of different things. We’re moving lots of our other shows, membership programs there where it’s going to be fun, and we’re very excited about it. And-

Nikki Kinzer:
Well, congratulations.

Pete Wright:
Now, it’s something we could both be proud of, the name, and not hide from a skin condition, so.

Nikki Kinzer:
That’s right.

Pete Wright:
So, thank you for everybody who’s known me as Rash Pixel FM. It’s now TruStory FM and I appreciate you letting me talk about it a little bit.

Nikki Kinzer:
That’s great. Congratulations.

Pete Wright:
We have a pivot-

Nikki Kinzer:
We’re pivoting like Ross from Friends.

Pete Wright:
Yes, we’re pivoting today. We-

Nikki Kinzer:
Thank you, Tracy, for that.

Pete Wright:
… had a wonderful scheduled guest who had some patient meetings that went over. And so, was not able to make it today and we’re very sad about that. So, for the first time in 10 years, we have a no show and we are indeed pivoting. And we’re going to do our best to do justice to the subject that we had initially planned to talk about knowing full well that we are not able to speak with the good Dr. Stephanie Sarkis. Instead, we’re going to talk about some of the points that we wanted to talk about based on some of the information from her book. We’re going to talk about Nikki’s experience with YNAB. Thanks to-

Nikki Kinzer:
And yours

Pete Wright:
And mine, sure. And we’re going to answer some listener questions that have come in recently that we need to knock out before we go on our July break. So this is the last show that we’re going to be doing until August because this is our annual July month long siesta from podcasting-

Nikki Kinzer:
That’s right.

Pete Wright:
… so we can plan and do other good things. So, that’s it. Before we start all this, head over to takecontroladhd.com and get to know us a little bit better. You can listen to the show right there on the website or subscribe to the mailing list and we’ll send you an email each time a new episode is released. You can connect with us on Twitter or Facebook @takecontroladhd.

Pete Wright:
And if this show has ever touched you or helped you make a change in your life for the better or maybe even think about money in a new way like it did to me, we sure invite you to consider supporting the show directly through Patreon. Patreon is listener supported podcasting with a few dollars each month, you can help guarantee that we continue to grow the show, add new features, and invest more heavily in our community. Visit patreon.com/theadhdpodcast to sign up. All right, Nikki Kinzer, where would you like to start in this potpourri of showing topics today?

Nikki Kinzer:
A potpourri, yes. Well, I thought that it would be a good place for us to start to talk a little bit about YNAB. You need a budget because that is something that Chelsea actually introduced to us in our last show. It’s something that you’ve been exploring. And after watching your workshop on it, I decided to hop on and start exploring it as well. So why don’t we go with your experience first because you definitely know the program much more than I do. I’ve only spent a couple of hours on it.

Pete Wright:
Well, and then let me just say, first of all, that I recognized that you and I are late to the YNAB game, right?

Nikki Kinzer:
Apparently, because when we look at our live stream, all these people are like, “Oh, I love it. I love it. I love it.” Yeah.

Pete Wright:
So, that notwithstanding, I will say that blessings be to ADHD that after Chelsea introduced that to us, I logged in and created an account and truly hyper focused. I lost a lot of time trying to understand the program better, understand what it does. I have extensions running in Firefox that allow me to do fun things that aren’t actually built in to YNAB, like I’ve gone berserker on this app, and so I really love it. But the thing rather than talk about the how with YNAB, I really would like to just-

Nikki Kinzer:
Let’s talk about why.

Pete Wright:
Yeah, I really like to reflect on the why because I think that’s more important. And if you want the how, we do a deep dive in the member workshop, the supreme level ADHD workshop in the member group. If you signed up for that, if you already have membership to that, just be on the lookout for the latest workshop. I have not finished editing it yet as I’m recording this, but by the time you hear this episode and on the public feed, it should be there.

Pete Wright:
The why with YNAB and why hasn’t budgeting worked for me in the past. This is the thing that sort of helped me when Chelsea illuminated it, right? That budgeting for me has always been reactive, right? That money would be spent. And noticed I intentionally use the passive voice there because why would I want to take responsibility for spending my money, right?

Nikki Kinzer:
Right. It was already done.

Pete Wright:
That’s kind of old me, it was done, some other Pete did that. That was Pete who needed that one thing that time. So, transactions end up coming in and then they’d be categorized kind of at my bank, we’re in the same credit union. So you know they come in and they kind of try to tell you, “Oh, this is a dining out expense.” So, they kind of do that. And that’s an effort to use past experience to use my history and build a budget, right?

Pete Wright:
So, the thinking is that if I see all these categories, I’ll be able to make future decisions about where I’m going to spend my money next month. And that has always felt really sort of haphazard to me and it’s never stuck. It’s never stuck, right? I’ll look at it once, I’ll look at it for the prior month, and then eventually a time will come where I’ll need that one thing again, and I’ll go by that one thing and then I’ll deal with the consequences later. And those consequences always end in a very familiar $28 fee for overdrafting again because I didn’t move money from the one account to the other account to be ready. I was not ready because I’d been unintentional, right?

Nikki Kinzer:
Right, yeah, same here.

Pete Wright:
Totally?

Nikki Kinzer:
I have the same issue.

Pete Wright:
And so I think that’s really important because this part is not necessarily an ADHD, non-ADHD thing, right?

Nikki Kinzer:
No.

Pete Wright:
For me, yeah, it’s one of those things where I’m just… because I’m not ready, I write checks literally that my account can’t cash or I don’t write checks when I need to write and so things are late like I’ve just not on top of it. So, enter YNAB. This is effectively a digital form of envelope budgeting. It’s founded in 2004 by a guy who is just a diligent dad with finance background and happened to develop a spreadsheet-based approach for him and his wife and new family. And that has turned into, you need a budget.

Pete Wright:
The way the tool works, which you can get on the workshop, the intentionality of the tool where you take the money you have today and you put it in categories for where you’re going to need to spend it so that you’re prepared for each expense that comes down, has totally changed my mindset on money. And that I know I’m late to it and all of this sounds super obvious, but I’m telling you, their rule set, their four rules, rule number one is give every dollar a job. That is transformative when I think about that at the dollar level.

Pete Wright:
It’s similar to what happened when I realized that I’m not breaking down my work enough, right, to the atomic level of tasks, like that was transformational in the way I approach my day to day. So, this whole experience has got me changed from thinking about the past and reliving history over and over and over again to thinking about the future. What is tomorrow going to look like and am I ready for it? And as soon as I just think, "Hey, I have one expense that’s coming up tomorrow, just one. And it’s a $29 expense for a web hosting account that I have. Do I have $29 in my account to deal with that? If I do, the little bubble is green and I go on about my day.

Pete Wright:
In the evening, I may want to stop and get a cup of coffee. Do I have the money in my little bubble to be able to afford me a cup of coffee? If I do, I stop for coffee. If not, I don’t stop for coffee. Those kinds of things, it adds a level of deliberation to thinking about my money. I’m telling you, what it requires of you is sort of high caloric, right. It requires a change but once you do it, once you get two or three weeks into it, it becomes so easy, kind of effortless flow of money in and out of these categories. It feels almost too natural to be true, right?

Nikki Kinzer:
Right. I got on it after watching your workshop. I got on it yesterday for a couple hours and set up my accounts. And, I know we’re not going to talk about how to use it but I just want to tell people out there that aren’t as tech savvy as Pete Wright is. But this program is really easy to navigate. I mean, it really is easy to change titles, it’s easy to delete things, it’s easy to move things around. And that in itself, I think, is one of the nicest things about it because I’ve used other programs before too and it just didn’t ever seem as easy as it was yesterday when I did it myself.

Nikki Kinzer:
One of the things that I really like and why I wanted to get on it was we’ve got a senior in high school, right, so he’s going to be going to college next fall. And I want to make sure that we’re putting money aside. We already have a college fund but we know it’s not going to cover all of college. And so, being able to say, here’s my goal and this is what I want to have in our savings account by August of 2021, how much money do I need to put away every month to make that goal? To have that broken down is really cool. Like, again, I know I feel like people have already done this, but I never have.

Nikki Kinzer:
And same thing like with a vacation. If we want to take a vacation next summer, and I know that we have a budget of $2,000 to take that vacation, how much money do I need to save per month to have that money saved before next summer, right? Again, I’m sure people do this but I never really have. I’ve always just thought, “Okay, well just put money in savings,” but I don’t really have the intention behind it, like it’s not necessarily for something specific. So, I really enjoy that. I’m still playing with it. I still have a lot to learn. But so far, I’m really loving it.

Pete Wright:
Well, I want to add something to that last point that you have a lot to learn. The thing that I like the most about YNAB as a company is that it is first and foremost an education company, right? This is what they do. The tool is an outcome of teaching you how to think about money in a healthier fashion. The tool is not the end, right? So, when you learn about the tool and you go through, they’re incredibly well documented, sort of getting started, the tools, the videos, the document, you really get the sense that these people are out to make my life better by helping me think in a healthy fashion and they want me to understand not just how to do a thing but why to do a thing, and I find that very powerful.

Pete Wright:
The alternative is and my experience with other personal finance managers is that they’re all about selling me more stuff, right, that I put all of my accounts into mentor, personal capital, right, and it won’t be long before they’re offering me a credit card at a lower rate. And that always feels just kind of gross that they know enough about my spending habits to offer me new stuff to buy, right, and I don’t appreciate that. What I love about YNAP is that their intention is to teach me how to live a healthy life with my money, to grow my assets and do it in a way that allows sort of my objectives in how I grow to flourish, right? And they don’t sell me stuff, apart from the subscription that I pay.

Pete Wright:
And if you look at Twitter and you follow the YNAB account, by and large the tweets that come in to YNAB are, “Oh, I just got my notice that I have to pay YNAB again, the best money I’ve ever spent. This company is amazing. This is the most valuable asset in my entire catalog. YNAB has changed my life. I will gladly continue to pay for this service.” You just get a sense that this is a different kind of company. And so, I’m really proud to be on the YNAB train with all of the people in our community who already use it and happy to be an evangelist for what it’s already, just in a matter of weeks, it’s changed the way I think about the stuff. So, let’s see. Let’s get check in a year and see how we do?

Nikki Kinzer:
Yeah, yeah.

Pete Wright:
I think that all of these concepts at YNAB really get to this first point that we wanted to talk about which is about impulse buying. And that’s a problem that we have, that a lot of people have, and it is exacerbated by ADHD.

Nikki Kinzer:
Yes, absolutely, absolutely. And something that I want to talk about with impulse buying that I think is important that we shine a light on is impulsive buying can be a way to cope with ADHD, to cope with anxiety, depression, some of these other types of issues. And so, it can also become an addiction just like you would use alcohol, drugs, gambling. I mean, any of these things can be a way to cope.

Nikki Kinzer:
So, I just want to be very clear. I’ve seen people in my practice in the past where impulsive buying was more of an issue where they really did need to get professional help. They needed to get help for the addiction piece of it and not just what it was. Impulsive buying is just how they were coping. So I just want us to be really clear that there’s a difference between going into a mass amount of debt, having things all around your home that you’re not using or that are still in boxes and you’re trying to cope with something that you’re dealing with versus.

Nikki Kinzer:
I’m buying things without really thinking about it but it’s not all the time, maybe it affects you a little bit but it’s still annoying, right? Like you know that that was an impulsive decision and now you’re kind of regretting it. There’s a difference between doing that once or twice a month or whatever versus being online all the time. Does that make sense?

Pete Wright:
Well, yeah. And you can really feel it with things, with those little things like, "Oh, I know I have on my list that I need new shoes. And my current shoes are breaking down and I know I need new shoes. And I am empowered, thanks to the power of credit, to go out and just get my new shoes. And also that satisfying, it’s a dopamine rush that I’ve checked something off my list and I bought new shoes, right?

Pete Wright:
So it’s like I am existing in a space of accomplishment. I have not done anything. I have just leveraged myself a little bit further. And so, I think putting some sort of barrier in between me and that impulse decision some sort of reminder or trigger is the equivalent of setting an alarm when I need to change tasks, right?

Nikki Kinzer:
Yes.

Pete Wright:
And I live on alarms. So, living on a tool that allows me to set an alert that says, you don’t have the cash money to do what you want to do right now is something that I need. I need some sort of a wall over which I have to make effort to climb in order to give myself, my brain a break to think first because if I don’t have that obstacle, I will continue to spend because that supports the lizard brain.

Nikki Kinzer:
Oh, it certainly does.

Pete Wright:
The lizard brain.

Nikki Kinzer:
It’s a dopamine rush for sure. And I like that you say that because this is the same advice that I would give to anybody that is dealing with anything impulsive whether it’s buying or just how they’re reacting in conversations or whatever, right, is having that pause button. How do you have that pause before you actually hit click. And online buying especially because it just makes it so easy. And, it’s a-

Pete Wright:
Well, that lizard brain loves those quick sales and-

Nikki Kinzer:
Oh, yes.

Pete Wright:
… things you can get at, “Are you telling me, I could have this delivered to my house this afternoon? I don’t have to go anywhere?” The lizard brain is dying for that totally.

Nikki Kinzer:
Getting a book on iPad, it’s delivered to your iPad right then. I mean, it’s hard, it’s really hard. So I think anything you can do to have that pause button. And that may mean that you have to kind of set some guidelines. I’ve told people that on their computer or wherever they’re buying stuff, put a sticky note that says, pause or get out.

Pete Wright:
That’s really great.

Nikki Kinzer:
Yeah, just to get yourself to think about it or if you do want to buy something, you know you need something, giving yourself 24 hours before you hit send. Talking to somebody else about it especially if you’re in a household with a partner or spouse, you want to be able to talk about that so that you’re making the right decision. So there’s some things that you do have to maybe make a rule set and try to follow that so that it’s not as tempting. And that’s the thing is maybe you take the temptation away, however, you can do that. You don’t get on to Amazon, you don’t go into eBay, whatever it might be.

Nikki Kinzer:
But it’s sort of like, if you’re an alcoholic, you’re not going to have a bunch of alcohol in your house. If you are trying to eat a healthy lifestyle, you’re not going to have a bunch of sugar in your house. So, if there’s any way that you can get that out of that temptation would be helpful. But it’s a struggle, and if you think it’s a problem, if you really think it’s something that you’re addicted to and you have no control over, that is something that you really do need to get professional help and get that help that you need. I think that’s really important.

Pete Wright:
I don’t know if this was good but I have a replacement strategy specifically around books and audio books, right. Because I love me some audiobooks.

Nikki Kinzer:
"Oh, of course.

Pete Wright:
And e-books, like I’m just an e-book, audiobook guy. And I have an admission which is like I’ve been a paying member of Audible for decades, right, and we’ve talked about this before. But it was YNAB that showed me how much I’ve spent on audiobooks. And so, I actually cancelled my Audible subscription for a while, just for a while because I love Audible. I’m sure at some point I’ll come back and when I need to buy audiobooks, this is where I’m going to go. But I cancelled the subscription because I want to be able to make more intentional choices. And I replaced it with Libby. Have you played with Libby?

Nikki Kinzer:
No.

Pete Wright:
Okay. So, Libby is a little app that you download on your phone or your tablet and it is a direct connection to the digital audio and eBook collection at your library. And it is really great. It is a great little app. And so my replacement therapy for Audible and Kindle books has been Libby. I go in and I create a shelf of hundreds of books that I want to read. And as they become available, they pop up, I get a little alert. It says you have 21 days to read this book or listen to this book. And then as soon as I’m finished, I return it. I get the next book that’s available.

Pete Wright:
So, this like my wish list in Audible, which I was paying for month a month, has now just been migrated over to Libby. Some books are not available at my local library, eBooks are not available. So, then I might have to go back if it’s important and actually pay for the book.

Nikki Kinzer:
Sure.

Pete Wright:
I find that I am perfectly satisfied with Libby. The other thing if you love the Kindle app, you can actually use Libby to read your books through the Kindle app. You can say, open with Kindle, and it routes you through your Amazon account and loads it onto your Kindle device if you love reading on your Kindle E-reader. So, hot tip, if you want to save a little money from buying books and audiobooks, Libby, at least in the United States and your local library, great solution.

Nikki Kinzer:
So I have a question for you from our live stream right now. We have a comment saying that the hard thing about Libby is I get only two weeks and then I forget to read them. So, any suggestions, Pete, on how to remind yourself that they’re there to read.

Pete Wright:
Well, I go back to the same stuff that I always do which is put the alert, put the time on the calendar when you’re reading, put an alarm on the calendar that says, “Hey, don’t forget to read this book today,” that sort of thing. In some cases, you can extend your loan if you need just a little bit more time. On new released books, books with a very long waitlist, you can’t do that. There are a lot of people who are in line for it. And so, yeah, you just need to get through the book in the amount of time allotted.

Pete Wright:
But you got to ask yourself, if you’re not reading it, if you don’t remember to read it in 21 days or 14 days, whatever it is, how important was that book? And maybe you just read the next book on your list, do you know what I mean? And so you just got to ask yourself that, right?

Nikki Kinzer:
What I kind of like about it is it gives you sort of a timeframe, right. So when you do have it, you know to read it because it will go away, which can be really helpful, because otherwise if you were to buy it, it most likely would just be sitting on yourself until who knows when. So, I mean, it does give you again some of that boundary that maybe you need to have.

Pete Wright:
Right. Well, and I’m triaging my behavior, right? And my behavior is just continuing to acquire digital properties. And in some cases, reading them right away, in some cases not, but spending the money regardless. So, because I’ve reprioritized reducing monthly subscriptions over my selectivity, over what I’m reading at any given time, this has become the result for me. So, sure, there are lots of ways I can critique my behavior with Libby, but the one thing that it does exceptionally well, is allow me to cancel other subscriptions, right? And so, I’m doing that first. So, there you go.

Nikki Kinzer:
I like it. Another question that came through was about bill paying. And that’s something that I have a lot of clients who struggle with remembering when to pay bills, keeping track of bills. We talked a little bit about this at the beginning of we have the money in the account, we just forget to transfer it, and then all of a sudden get this overdraft notice.

Nikki Kinzer:
I think this has gotten easier as technology, back in what, late ’90s, we started having automatic withdrawal from different companies and now that’s the standard. And I know there are still people out there that don’t do that and so I think the first thing I would recommend with bills is definitely get onto an automatic payment system so that you don’t have to think about actually writing a check and putting the bill in the mail, because if you can eliminate that, that can make a big difference.

Nikki Kinzer:
The budget though, I’ve got to go back to YNAB, I think that when you have your bills out late like that and you showed me that you can actually track the dates of when they’re due and that just stays there all the time, that’s a really helpful way and easy way to keep track of when bills are due regardless if you have to pay a check or not. I don’t know, what do you think?

Pete Wright:
Well, yeah. And that’s the thing that has made this particular tool, and I don’t want to make this [inaudible 00:27:22]. Yes, I’m an acknowledged evangelist all of a sudden of this new thing.

Nikki Kinzer:
Right, I know. We’re, yeah-

Pete Wright:
It’s not like a [crosstalk 00:27:28].

Nikki Kinzer:
We’re not getting paid for this.

Pete Wright:
We’re not getting paid for this, right, no. But what I will say is that I go back to the dopamine rush, right? What is helping me build a habit? And one of the things that I like about that, about ordering my monthly bills, my expenses in what day of the month are they due at any given time and then putting those in order so that I know on the first I better have that green bubble filled and then I have a couple days before the next bill, better have that green bubble filled. That is the dopamine rush, when the bills come in, I’m excited to pay them, right?

Pete Wright:
Because that’s a bill that I know it’s for a service that I’ve decided to keep intentionally. It’s one that I’m enthusiastic about paying because I get value from that service. And I love that the green bubble is there and it turns gray when I paid it and it means I’m a good human being and I want to log in to this stupid thing. I’m a grown up, I am adulting, and I want to be a part of that.

Pete Wright:
And so, that reinforces my everyday behavior to make YNAB the number one tool that I go to whenever I think about money. So, that association is very strong right now. And that’s what you want, right?

Nikki Kinzer:
Exactly.

Pete Wright:
You want to create those to build habits. You want strong associations.

Nikki Kinzer:
There’s a question here for YNAB. Do you have one account like a family or for each individual? I personally have one account, it is our home account. And so, my husband and I share our finances. So, my income goes into this account, his income goes into this account. We have a separate savings account, which is part of our budget, but it is one account, one family pay.

Pete Wright:
Well, and let me clarify some language too because this is important. You have one account that you set up and multiple people can use it, so like you and your husband, me and my wife. Within your YNAB account, you can create multiple budgets, right. And so, I have our family budget and I also have the TruStory FM budget, and those have different bank accounts that are connected to them.

Pete Wright:
So my business bank account is connected to my business budget and our family bank accounts are connected to our family budgets, and we budget those expenses differently. And it’s a very quick little drop down to switch between budget so that you can actually manage your expenses where they make the most sense.

Nikki Kinzer:
So technically, if you and your spouse or my husband and I did have separate accounts and you have a separate budget, you can have two different budgets, one for yourself and one for your spouse.

Pete Wright:
Right.

Nikki Kinzer:
And if you have your money individual like that, right? I mean, because-

Pete Wright:
Yeah. If you haven’t combined your and then you just… somebody takes responsibility for different expenses and those become blind items in your budget.

Nikki Kinzer:
Right, exactly. Yeah, good question. Let’s see, what are some other things that we were going to chat about today that might be relevant?

Pete Wright:
We were going to about documents like what documents do you keep, what do you shred, what do you scan that some folks might be dealing with pile ups?

Nikki Kinzer:
Right, yeah, paper pile up. That’s an issue for sure. I think that there’s a couple of things like with backlog versus like do you tackle backlog first or do you get a system up and running first and then figure out how to deal with the backlog? I kind of think you got to get your system somewhat set up first, right, because the backlog, it’s been there, it’s going to stay there, it’s not going anywhere. And most of it’s going to be shredded anyway. But if you can figure out how you want to do your budget whether it’s through YNAB, whether it’s a different program.

Nikki Kinzer:
But when we talk about how to just get started with financial management, we’ve talked about, looking at your budget, looking at what’s coming in, what’s leaving. And what you need to keep are really just the things that you need to keep for tax purposes. So, I would always encourage you to find out from a tax consultant, somebody who’s an expert in what tax forms need to be done, and those are what tax forms need to be kept and that’s what you keep. We’re not experts in that. I have a good idea but I wouldn’t be comfortable enough to really say, “Oh, you can get rid of that,” if that’s part of a really important piece of your taxes. But in general-

Pete Wright:
But the thing about taxes though now is that so many of those documents even are electronic like-

Nikki Kinzer:
Oh, absolutely.

Pete Wright:
It’s hard to find, I think, an organization that doesn’t offer you the ability to go download your own documentation at any point in time.

Nikki Kinzer:
Absolutely. Yeah, we get our taxes back online. I mean, yeah. It could be so streamlined. My guess is if you-

Pete Wright:
It really reduces the pressure of what to keep-

Nikki Kinzer:
Right. Well, and that’s thing. There’s just not a lot you have to keep. So if you’re keeping a lot of paper, my guess is you’re keeping way too much and you could get rid of a lot of it and shred a lot of it. And you’re probably not getting as much paper anymore in mail because if you are signing up for automatic payments and things like that, you’re going to get that through email versus really a hard hardcopy mail.

Nikki Kinzer:
So, we do have an online program, the Paper Solution, where I actually do go step by step on how to take care of that backlog, how to set up a mailing system, or when incoming mail comes in. But my first suggestion on people who have a lot of paper right now, just purge and get rid of everything that you don’t need because most of it you don’t. And if you’re not sure, keep it and then ask a tax consultant to make sure that you’re falling in line with what you need to do. But even if you get rid of it, you can always get it back probably, so.

Pete Wright:
And I think that’s a great rule which is just that any anything that, if you look at a piece of paper and you said, “Well, that’s from the bank and the bank offers me to download the PDF so I can shred that.” Anything that you feel like you can look at and confirm that you can access it online is an easy candidate to shred.

Nikki Kinzer:
Absolutely.

Pete Wright:
So, dump it.

Nikki Kinzer:
Yeah. Let’s see. Oh, one of the things that Dr. Stephanie Sarkis talks about in her book is making sure that medication is looked at as a fixed expense. And I thought that that was a really important point. And she does expand a little bit in the book about why that is, is that if you don’t look at your medication as a fixed expense and something that’s more variable, then the consequences are much worse down the road. Because if you haven’t taken your medication, you’re going to be even more likely to not pay the bills or pay attention to your buying and things like that.

Nikki Kinzer:
So I just thought that was a really interesting point that, yeah, that needs to be important. It needs to be a fixed expense. You need to put it in your budget. It’s not something to think, “Oh, maybe I need this, maybe I don’t.”

Pete Wright:
Yeah, right. There is this conversation about dealing with these financial stresses in a relationship, marriage partnership, and I’m so curious especially now that you’re delving into YNAB, how you and your husband are addressing or have historically addressed finances together?

Nikki Kinzer:
I was so excited to tell him I was doing it.

Pete Wright:
I bet you were.

Nikki Kinzer:
I was like, “You’re going to be so proud of me. I am setting ourselves up on a budget. I’ve got this new program.” He’s like, “Yay!” He’s thrilled. Yeah, it’s a tough one. I mean, I think that it’s that communication and just being really clear. And that you keep communicating because it’s something that you talk about before you get married. It’s something that you need to talk about of what your values are like how you guys see money, all of that needs to be done before you even get married or commit to a relationship because it is such a pivotal part of how you live with someone especially if you’re combining incomes.

Nikki Kinzer:
But it’s an ongoing conversation too because we, almost 20 years later, still have conversations about where our money’s going and what we think is okay and what we don’t think is okay. And we still have differences of opinion. And it never really ends. We’ve been lucky enough that we haven’t had it be a situation where it put our marriage on the line or there were any deal breakers. If one of us did something and I can think of a couple of times where it really was upsetting. We worked through it and apologies were made and accepted. And you keep working together with it, but it is something that you can’t… you can’t ignore it, you have to talk about it.

Pete Wright:
Yeah. We’re in that similar boat. I mean, 21 years this year, and I think this YNPA transition is the first time that my wife and I have both agreed on the methodology and the tool at the same time, right? We’re always sort of like competing with each other in terms of interests and she does certain things like the grocery shopping. She handles that on every Sunday and she just loves it and she just takes care of it. And we have that conversation every single week. When she comes to me, she’s like, “How’s your money?” Because my money comes in weird times, I don’t get paid like the salary. So it just comes in when it comes in.

Pete Wright:
And so she says, “Yeah, how you doing? Do we have money to cover this? Do we have money to cover that?” And I get very frustrated. It’s like a head explosion thing because I feel like I’m being pounced upon. And especially when I don’t know at the top of my head. Well, now we do, now we know exactly what is available and if there isn’t enough in the little green bubble for groceries, we got to figure out a way to move it and so we can take shared ownership of that.

Pete Wright:
I am the guy who, like the second year of our marriage, went out to take my car for an oil change and came back with a new car, like that’s the… without talking to her about it, that’s my history and it’s not great. And so, it is a long journey to figure out how to make finances a partnership but I feel like once you do, once you get there, it’s really great.

Nikki Kinzer:
It is and, again though, I just have to say like in our experience, it’s still ongoing. So last year, we bought, we had an Acura and it was like a 2002 Acura, and we beat that thing down, right. So, we were turning it in in 2019 and it was a 2002. And so we drive our cars for a really long time.

Pete Wright:
Hard, yeah.

Nikki Kinzer:
Yeah. But we were thinking about getting a new car and turning this in or trading it in for like $500 it was worth, but two different opinions. He had a really hard time turning that car in because it was still running.

Pete Wright:
Oh, sure.

Nikki Kinzer:
And we really didn’t need a new car and so back and forth, back and forth, and finally, I was just like, “You know what, we’re not getting a new car until you are absolutely sure and you are okay with getting a new car because I don’t want this conversation anymore because we just keep going around in circles and getting frustrated with each other.” And it was probably about a month later that he thought, “Okay, we can go look for a new car.” And then we were kind of more on the same page. But, I mean, I had to recognize that he wasn’t ready to let go of it yet like he wasn’t ready to do that.

Pete Wright:
Sure.

Nikki Kinzer:
And I didn’t have to drive the car. So I was like, “Okay, you keep driving that as long as you want.” So it is constantly a conversation and, yeah, you do the best you can. But again, it’s one of those things that if you need professional help, a marriage counselor is not a bad idea to talk these things through because it is somebody who’s out of the relationship, who isn’t in it in the same way that can help guide you and there’s nothing wrong with that either.

Pete Wright:
Absolutely.

Nikki Kinzer:
You want to talk about some questions that we got from the audience that are not related to money?

Pete Wright:
Sure. We’ve got a little Q&A housecleaning to do.

Nikki Kinzer:
Yeah, we do.

Pete Wright:
Just a couple. First, we have this. I just listened to the Working with Instructors, Episode 397. What about instructors who have ADHD? The online teaching format during COVID–19 and knowing in the fall we will be online again, I’m in panic mode. It did not go well. Oddly, I love working from home but was working 80 hours a week just to keep up. Meanwhile, as an instructor, I always walk a fine line of how much I disclose to my students. I have dyslexia as well. Part of me is like screw it, I’m going to let it all hang out. Okay, love your podcast. Thanks.

Pete Wright:
Well, thank you, love the question and kudos. Thank you so much. Here we go. What do you think?

Nikki Kinzer:
Tough time for our students and instructors going to online school, no doubt about it. And I had many conversations with my kids too about, "Hey, you got to give your teachers some slack because they don’t know what they’re doing any more than what you know what you’re doing, so you’re all trying to get through this together. But what I would say is if you do expect that you may be going into the fall doing this kind of online learning again, is to really take some time to reflect of what went well in the last few months and what didn’t go well. And many times, we just don’t take the time to reflect that.

Nikki Kinzer:
We just either, unfortunately with ADHD, procrastinate and wait too long to plan or prepare and so now school starts in a week and you’re panicking. So that’s the one thing that I would really need encourage the teachers out there is to do that reflection now while still somewhat fresh in your mind. And it may just be even just a half hour, jot some ideas or jot some things down that you would like to do differently or what did work because you’re not going to remember them in the fall either. So, do it now if you can, and think about how maybe you can make it a little bit more streamlined.

Nikki Kinzer:
I think that was the biggest issue that I saw with kids, with my children, it’s just that everything was sort of haphazard, but that was under the current circumstances. So, now that you’ve had some time to think about it, maybe there are some things that you can put a little bit more structure around your days. But the other thing I would do is ask for support from other instructors. How are they doing this? How are they dealing with this, because you are not the only one struggling, I can guarantee you that. ADHD or not, you’re not the only one struggling

Nikki Kinzer:
As far as what to talk to your students about with your own ADHD and dyslexia, personal decision, it’s really hard to know what’s the right thing or wrong thing to say. I guess, one of my questions would be for you is what’s important for them to know and how much is it important for them to know about your condition. But, yeah, that’s something you would probably want to actually really talk to somebody about and kind of like really peel back the layers of what the benefits are, what the consequences might be, how old your students are that you’re talking to?

Pete Wright:
Yeah, yeah. Well, especially in this, I think… well, actually, I don’t know. I don’t think she’s says here how old the kids are. But I would say, and I’ve spent a lot of years teaching online, and it’s hard. I think it’s a lot harder than teaching in the classroom certainly for the brain fireworks, right? I mean, it’s just really hard, it takes more time. The difference is you can spread out the time throughout every day instead of just heavy up on kind of one day or three days a week, depending on your course schedule.

Pete Wright:
For me, find every single efficiency that you can in the software that you were using to deliver your content online, whether you’re using Moodle or Canvas or Blackboard or Google Classroom, learn those tools inside and out, invest now to understand all the nooks and crannies, all the ways to rapidly post responses, get it on your phone, get those devices everywhere, because the investment today in learning how to be efficient with your classroom responses will help you dramatically on day one when your students get access to their course for the first time in the fall. It is a huge thing.

Pete Wright:
And most of the time, when I talk in other instructors like this about getting their systems in place, they say, “Well, I don’t know how to do that in Canvas.” Well, let’s learn how to do that in Canvas. Whatever it is, there shouldn’t be a thing you don’t know how to do in Canvas, become an expert.

Nikki Kinzer:
Good point.

Pete Wright:
It is it’s incredibly important that you understand the ins and outs of the service. So, that’s where I would start. But all the other ADHD tools should be accounted for, right? Alarms, block scheduling, make appointments with yourself for grading papers and delivering responses, learn how to use dictation if you’re not using dictation. I started doing like just straight up audio comments for all of my paper feedbacks.

Pete Wright:
So, students instead of reading my responses will get to listen to my voice, and that is a standard feature of Canvas. So, I could just hit record on their assignment and say, “Hey, it’s Pete, and here is what I think of your paper.” And they get to hear my voice, they hear the sort of the tone that I’m giving them. If I really think their paper suck, they hear it and they sort of get a sense for my entire experience and that ended up being an incredible time saver. So, those are the kinds of things that you can do to make your life better.

Pete Wright:
In terms of what you disclose, I’m pretty open with my ADHD with my students when it comes up. I don’t disclose like on day one. I also think that there is an acceptable amount of daffy instructor stereotype that I can live within that students don’t need to know of a diagnosis. They’ll think that I’m a daffy instructor anyway, right? I could be a mad scientist kind of a guy and they’ll forgive that because of the cultural sort of understanding of what that is. They’ve seen it in movies, the Crazy, The Absent-Minded Professor, sort of Gestalt, and I’m okay with that. I don’t need to let them know, confirm it.

Pete Wright:
What’s the great saying, better to leave your mouth closed and let people think you’re an idiot than open your mouth and prove it, so.

Nikki Kinzer:
That’s an interesting saying, [inaudible 00:47:13] of it. Good.

Pete Wright:
So, there you go.

Nikki Kinzer:
All right. This next question.

Pete Wright:
Question number one.

Nikki Kinzer:
Yeah.

Pete Wright:
Question number two, “Hi Nikki. I value your work so much, your podcast has really helped me where medication and therapy have not been able to. I have a focus question. How is it I can focus and admittedly hyper focus on an activity and yet find accessing words difficult while I’m having a conversation related to or writing about the project I’m working on? I hope that makes sense. Kind regards.”

Nikki Kinzer:
Yes. This is an interesting question. I had to do a little bit of research on it because it’s a, I mean, not that crazy scientist that studies the brain and understands like why this does this or why this is happening. But my first instinct was correct, I think, when I was trying to figure out why this might be happening with her. From my understanding and from some of the research that I did and what my instinct is telling me is it has to do with the executive functions. This is where you’re organizing your thoughts and communicating.

Nikki Kinzer:
And if you’re having a hard time organizing your thoughts and communicating, that may be why a conversation is more difficult than you just reading it and taking in the information yourself, and putting it into your brain. But then having to try to actually talk about it is a very different set of skills. And so, that’s what’s kind of going into my thought, is that it goes kind of back down to communication too. It’s really difficult especially if you’re on the spot and you’re not expecting to talk about it and somebody’s asking you about your research or what you’ve been doing, that is a hard thing to do.

Nikki Kinzer:
And it’s that brain fog, right? It’s like you know so much, but it’s really hard to articulate what you know because your mind is going in all different directions. And then you’re wondering, "Oh, I just forgot about that, I need to bring that in. And so, you’re kind of all over the place. So that could be part of what’s happening too.

Nikki Kinzer:
But one of the things that I would say is do you talk to your doctor about this, and tell them that this is something that you’re dealing with and seeing if they can zero in more on what’s happening and how to effectively help you. And it could be an executive function thing where they just say, “The more you have time to prepare and plan, the more articulate you might be.” I don’t know. I mean, it’s different to have a presentation with bullet points and you’re ready to go than, “Hey, Pete, what have you been reading, researching on, and what you’ve been doing on this big project?” It’s hard. It’s hard.

Pete Wright:
It is hard. And I really relate to this which, I don’t know, maybe hard to believe because I spent so much time on the microphone in any given week. But in my experience, it all comes back to, and I’m sure there’s some way to explain it in the brain, we’ll have to ask Dr. Dodge about how that works. But for me, it all comes down to context shift and how hard context shift is for me, right? That when my brain is here then I can speak quite fluidly about whatever we’re talking about.

Pete Wright:
But if you asked me now to switch gears and talk about scheduling for the weekend or even something is sort of innocuous as that, like when can we get in the car and go get some lunch? I’ll go into straight up schedule panic and I won’t be able to form words like it takes me time to change gears, and that may be part of it, right? When you struggle moving nimbly from one subject area to the next, one domain to the next so, something to consider.

Nikki Kinzer:
Absolutely. Thank you for your questions. And if anyone else has any that they would like to spring on us, we will do our best to answer them whether we know what we’re talking about or not, we’re going to do our best.

Pete Wright:
That’s right. Well, once again, it’s been a great year. We’re in sort of annual summer cycle. And this has been a great little series even though it’s sort of abbreviated. We’ll find a way to fill in this last hole. Because I’ve got a delightful email from our guests here which is very… we will reschedule at some point.

Nikki Kinzer:
Good, that’s great.

Pete Wright:
But we are taking July off and that means no live streams and no podcast for the month of July. We’ll be back in the first week of August. We’ll start the machine back up again.

Nikki Kinzer:
That’s right.

Pete Wright:
So, yeah, if you have those questions, July is a great time to get them in.

Nikki Kinzer:
Absolutely.

Pete Wright:
Well stuck them up and start knocking them out when we get back. So, our first live stream episode will be… that first one is at August 3rd, I believe.

Nikki Kinzer:
Yeah, it’s that first week.

Pete Wright:
Yeah, it’s at August 3rd and that means the first episode will go live on August 11th. And that episode that is recorded on the third will go live on Tuesday the 11th. So, the machine again starts up that first week of August.

Nikki Kinzer:
That’s right.

Pete Wright:
For your calendars-

Nikki Kinzer:
We’re the machine.

Pete Wright:
We are the machine, that’s right.

Nikki Kinzer:
We get to take a little break and then we get all oiled up again, and then we keep going.

Pete Wright:
That’s right. Just beaten, Nikki, all oiled up to podcast.

Nikki Kinzer:
To podcast. That’s right.

Pete Wright:
Jeez. All right. Thank you very much, everybody. In behalf of Nikki Kinzer and Pete Wright, thanks for your time and your attention. We’ll catch you next month after next, right here on Taking Control: The ADHD podcast.