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Money and My ADHD; How Not to Buy an Inflatable Palm Tree for Your Dorm w/ Investment Advisor David Dewitt

by Faster Than Normal

David DeWitt is a registered investment advisor and podcaster who helps adults with ADHD take back control of their money. He’s been a registered investment advisor for 6 years but it wasn’t until he had his ADHD awakening in early 2021 that he realized he wanted to work with other people with ADHD. David knows from experience that effective  personal finance when you have ADHD is hard – even when you are a trained professional. After his ADHD awakening he set out to build a financial planning model that works for ADHD brains, first testing it on himself. And now, he’s on a mission to help as many ADHDers as can. Enjoy!

In this episode Peter and David discuss:  

00:48 – Intro and welcome David DeWitt!

2:48 – Were you diagnosed as a kid; when were you first diagnosed? Ref book: “Delivered From Distraction

3:42 – Getting diagnosed isn’t a bad thing!!

4:19 – How did you decide to go into Finance, of all things?

5:08 – So after this wake up call, what changes?

6:01 – So tell us, what should we be doing differently? What can we learn?

7:34 – What else do we need to know about avoiding those impulse/dopamine hit purchases?

9:45 – Can we still have a moment of enjoyment, or “spend” every once in a while, yet not go crazy?

12:00 – How can people find more about you and what you’re doing? and on the Socials @ADHDMoneyTalk on Twitter  INSTA and “ADHD Money Talk Community” on Facebook

12:27 – Thank you David! Guys, as always, we are here for you and we love the responses and the notes that we get from you; so please continue to do that! Tell us who you want to hear on the podcast, anything at all; we’d love to know.  Leave us a review on any of the places you get your podcasts, and if you ever need our help I’m and you can reach out anytime via [email protected] or @petershankman on all of the socials. You can also find us at @FasterNormal on all of the socials. It really helps when you drop us a review on iTunes and of course, subscribe to the podcast if you haven’t already! As you know, the more reviews we get, the more people we can reach. Help us to show the world that ADHD is a gift, not a curse! 

19:20 – Faster Than Normal Podcast info & credits


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 Hey, everyone. Welcome to another episode of Faster Than Normal! My name is Peter Shankman. You guys welcome to Faster Than Normal! Let’s talk about.. no not sex. We’ll do that all the time. Let’s talk about money. Let’s talk about money this week, let’s say money and ADHD. ADHD is one of the worst possible things to have when you’re dealing with money. And I know this from experience. I cannot tell you how many things I’ve impulse purchased because they looked cool at the time. Remember Sharper Image? David, remember The Sharper Image store? Yeah, coolest things ever.. coolest things that are when you are a 20 year old kid or a 19 year old kid who just got his first green American express card, Sharper Image, man, you’re fucked. I, I, I remember I went in the Sharper Image and I came out with a, with a inflatable raft, with a Palm, inflatable Palm tree attached to it, which would have been great if it wasn’t the middle of winter at Boston University. I remember, I just, I blew it up and I sat in my, in my dorm room. Yeah. Money is not necessarily a good thing when you’re ADHD, but Dave Dewitt. Who’s with us today is a registered investment advisor and podcast who helps adults with ADHD take back control their money; ‘the hell were you when I was buying my inflatable Palm tree, He’s been a registered investment advisor for six years, but it wasn’t until he got his ADHD awakening and early 2021 that he realized he wanted to work with other people with ADHD. And let me tell you it’s desperately desperately needed. So you’re building a financial model. You’ve built a financial planning model that works for ADHD brains by first testing it on yourself. I think that was the same way the guy who who invented the cure for ulcers? He like drank a bunch of crap to give himself an ulcer and then treated it with what he invented a nd it worked anyway. He’s on a mission to help us with ADHD; David welcome to Faster Than Normal man! 

Thank you so much for having me on it. Really excited because you know, if you asked me six months ago, if I’d be on your podcast, I’d say, what podcast is that? And, um, and then I read your book and I was like, oh cool, this guy’s awesome. And I’m pumped to be here!

I love it. I love it. So what’s your background? So, so you, you grew up, you weren’t diagnosed where you were, you exhibiting obvious ADHD as a kid or? 

I was diagnosed and I was in high school and high school, um, with inattentive ADHD, but I didn’t even know what the heck that really meant And no one told me. So when I was diagnosed with it, it all it really led to was, you know, people at school saying, oh, it’s ADHD Dave. And so it was something that I didn’t want to have. I didn’t appreciate it. And I pushed it down. And then I lived the next 16 years of my life kind of like. Pretend and operate in the world Like someone who doesn’t have it, which ended up resulting in a lot of pain and struggle and confusion about why I was struggling. And then I read a book Delivered From Distraction, and that was the first book I read. And then I read a couple of others and I read your book. And then basically that was in my awakening happened. I was like, you know, wow. So many things in my life now it makes sense. And that was A very, really huge transformation for me. 

It’s a bummer to hear that now, because a lot of times we find that people get diagnosed and they get diagnosed, but they’re awakening to: “Hey, this actually isn’t a bad thing necessarily doesn’t come for many years after that. And that’s a shame. That’s something we really get to work on to change. 

Yeah. I mean, doctors, you know, you know, so, right. So you get the diagnosis, then they send you to a psychiatrist, then they give you medicine. And then like, but no one ever says like, okay, You know, relationships will be hard and here’s some things you can do to prepare, you know, here’s some things to think about, so you’re prepared, but like no one told me that. So I just was like, all right, cool. 

It’s crazy. It really is crazy. And it’s so frustrating too, so, okay. So you, you, you will have this awakening about six months ago and you were already a financial adviser. It’s interesting. It’s a lot of people who have ADHD don’t necessarily go into things that require numbers. I mean, I know that that, that numbers in my case are just evil. Right. I try to avoid them with all my heart. Uh, right. You went into, you went into finance. 

Yeah, it’s weird because I was, you know, math was terrible in math, in high school. I was, uh, I had to get into the college. I went to, I had to do a remedial algebra class to make sure I was capable. Right. And what I, what I thought when I thought about it, I was like, one of the reasons why I think math is so hard for people that have ADHD is because it’s so operationally focused that if you miss the first two steps and then you catch up and you’re not paying attention for the third step, you’ve no chance.

A hundred percent, a hundred percent, so, okay. So you go into it, you get through the remedial algebra problem, you go through it and, and you’re doing it and everything’s happening. And then you have this wake up call what changes? 

Yeah, I mean, so six years I’ve been a financial planner and it wa it’s been kind of, it’s been kind of difficult only in a sense that I would tell people, you know, my advice to them, but I’d go home and kind of do the opposite. So I, I developed this imposter syndrome and I wasn’t finding that I was, you know, earning people’s trust and I was like, what is going on? And this was before I realized the ADHD thing. And so now that I got the awakening, um, I realized, okay, so I made financial mistakes, even though I know better, but it’s, it’s explained somewhat by the ADHD and now I can at least help other people, you know, avoid these mistakes that can lead to some painful outcomes. And, um, and that’s really where I am now. 

Okay. So tell us, what can we learn? What should we be doing differently? What are we screwing up? Floor’s yours. 

Sure. So one thing for sure is for people with ADHD, you know, your mind is so cluttered with missing bills and, you know, making sure you have money in your bank account and making sure that you can just get through the next week. So it’s hard to even ever sort of stop and think about like, okay, what do I want the next 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 15, 20 years to look like, and, and why is money even important to me? So one of the first things I have people do is just like, ask that question to themselves. Like, why is money important to me? And, and usually the first answer is. I don’t know, because you know, it helps me get to work and I can ..

need money to live. Right.. 

Yeah. And I say, okay, so you know why, so you replaced the answer with, with, with money. So you say, well, okay, why is living important to you? And like, oh, what the heck? What do you mean? Why is living important to me? I mean, living is important because, you know, I want like, okay, well, you know, you want, why you want to, you want to have a better life. They, why is having a better life important you and you keep doing that and people realize that like, okay, you can connect money to like, You know, giving back to the community or having stability or having more freedom, more options, less stress. And so if you at least get the groundwork of understanding, like what’s the point of even trying to take control of this thing that’s been controlling me for so long. Uh, it helps at least shift sort of the mind set. And I like to have people write down their like statement of financial purpose and put it on their fridge. So they at least walk by and we’ll read it once in a while and be reminded. 

Yeah. Very cool. So tell us about how do we avoid, I mean, I’ve heard the rules like, oh, you know, ask yourself if it’s going to, where it’s going to be in your apartment. And if you can’t find a place where do you really want to buy it and things like that. But what else do we need to know about sort of avoiding those impulse purchases? That’s the big thing right? I think that, that we get those ideas because let’s face it, you buy something, Google, you click submit, you click buy, or you walk out of the store and it’s Dopamine hit, right? And that’s what we’re looking for. 

That’s totally what you’re looking for. So it’s hard. It’s hard to sort of get into the practice of, of asking yourself questions. That question you said is a good one. Another question is. What, what value will this provide my life in three years? You know, will this give me any return on value in my life in three years? What else could I do with this money that will provide more value to me in three years? Is it saving or whatever, and, and before you even save money, you have to have a goal. Right? So one, after I asked that first question, why is money important to me? I then say, What in three years in let’s imagine it’s three years from now, what would have to happen in your life or to be a financial success? Like, what is your life like? And then it’s usually like, you know, I’d have no debt and then goals just start pouring out, like, okay. All right. So you’d have no debt, you’d have this or that. And like, okay. So how do we get there? You know, what’s blocking you. And a lot of times. Eight out of 10 times with ADHD, it’s spending it’s impulsive spending. It’s no, no control, no awareness of their cashflow or their spending, where the money is going. It just sort of, it just leaves like the money comes in and then just leaves it disappears into this nebulous abyss. And, and that’s where you have to really get under control of that. So, um, you’re right. So once, but once you have the goal, you say like, rather than saying, well, this provide value to me and say, is this helping me pay off debt? And what’s more important to me, this, these new slippers I found on Amazon that claimed to make me have no back pain that are $10 that are definitely not going to work, or having no debt and feeling more free. And so if you just remind yourself to have that and whatever it takes to have a monitor, maybe put a sticky note in your car and you get out of the car the last thing you see is remember the question. I don’t know anything like that just to get yourself because all it takes is a five second pause to avoid that decision. 

What do you, what do you say though? I mean, we can’t go with avoiding. There has to be a payoff. It has to, and I know the pay off obviously is getting out of debt. But how do we, how do you recommend, do you have any tips or tricks to recommend that we, that you recommend that allows us to have a, uh, a moment of enjoyment every once in a while? Like for instance, um, there are, um, you know, when you’re dieting, right? It’s like, you know, once a week, take out the ice cream, put a two scoops in a bowl and enjoy it right. And put the ice cream away. And he knows what any tips to let us do have a spend every once in a while and not go crazy. 

Uh, for sure, because, you know, if I were to ask you Peter, what’s the first feeling that you get when I say, when I say, okay, we’re going to put you on a budget?

Depressing as hell. 

Yeah, It’s depressing as hell. So why not call it like, at least for terminology, call it a spending plan because the budget is really, it’s not a plan to deprive you. It’s a plan. It’s a good diet to spend money, but spend money a little bit more deliberately on things that actually are important to you. So. So when you create a spending plan, you know, you just, it’s very simple. It’s it’s what, what do you bring in and what are your fixed expenses and how much are you going to save? And what’s leftover now let’s divide this between the things that you want. So if that requires a little less, you know, take out, which if you’re doing five times a week, you’re probably, it’s probably more of a habit and not something you’re truly enjoying anymore. So why not just do it one time a week so it’s more valuable to you. So it’s more, you enjoy it more when you get it? And then put the, the rest of that money towards things like maybe it’s savings for, for, you know, that thing called retirement that no one with ADHD ever thinks they’re going to do, but then ask your, you know, 75 year-old might feel slightly different and, you know, might have a health problem that where you need some money, so you can get by. So. It’s kind of like that. So it’s, it’s allocating the money to what’s important, but really first you have to have an awareness of where your money’s going and, and at least get to the point where you’re not building up like credit card debt every, every month because you just are spending recklessly. So we do want to enjoy, enjoy things, but why not deliberately say, this is what I’m going to enjoy this month. This is how much I’m going to spend on it. I’m looking forward to it, rather than being out of control and things coming to you and then just doing it mindlessly. 

Very cool. How can people find you? How can they reach you? 

Yeah. So people can find me at I have a podcast there. And, um, and yeah, from there, you can, you can listen to the podcast. You can find me if you want to, you know, talk to me, you know, just that that’s the place. and on the Socials @ADHDMoneyTalk on Twitter  INSTA and “ADHD Money Talk Community” on Facebook

Very cool. You’ve been listening to Faster Than Normal. David, thank you so much for taking the time guys, David Dewitt, financial planner, for those ADHD, give him a call. Listen to his podcast, it’s worth it. You will learn some stuff. Very, very cool. Really glad we had you on today man, it’s, you know, money’s one of those things that, that ADHD touches every single part of your life and money is one of those things you don’t really think about until you’re like, oh shit- now I own an inflatable raft in my living room in Boston. So yeah, needless to say, I’ve let that go.; it hasn’t bothered me or anything in the past 30 years. Anyway, thank you very much, David. I really appreciate you taking the time!

Guys as always, if you liked what you heard reach out and leave us a review, we’re always looking for new guests. If you think you might fit, you have a story like David’s or something cool you want to talk about shoot me an email. [email protected]. Let me know, love to have you on we interview incredibly big famous people. We have. The Dean of public health at Boston University coming out in a few weeks, who’s going to be talking about how the pandemic affected people who are neuro-diverse. We’ve had celebrities, we’ve had Shinedown. We’ve had, uh, God who have we had. We’ve had, um, the mayor of Boston. We’ve had, um, Keith Krach, who was the, who was the founder of DocuSign on the under secretary of business, uh, under the President. We’ve had tons of cool people, got over 200 episodes in the bank that you can, you can listen and review anytime you want. We keep pumping out as many as we can. Thank you for listening. Leave a review if you’d like. ADHD is a gift, not a curse; I’ll say it one more time thanks to Dave Dewitt, and we will see you guys next week. Stay safe, have fun. We’ll talk soon.

Credits: You’ve been listening to the Faster Than Normal podcast. We’re available on iTunes, Stitcher and Google play and of course at I’m your host, Peter Shankman and you can find me at and @petershankman on all of the socials. If you like what you’ve heard, why not head over to your favorite podcast platform of choice and leave us a review, come more people who leave positive reviews, the more the podcast has shown, and the more people we can help understand that ADHD is a gift, not a curse. Opening and closing themes were composed and produced by Steven Byrom who also produces this podcast, and the opening introduction was recorded by Bernie Wagenblast. Thank you so much for listening. We’ll see you next week!


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