The Financial And Spending Challenges People With Learning Differences Face – And How To Overcome Them – Forbes

December 21, 2022 by No Comments

Man paying for holiday gifts using a credit card.


All consumers are getting hit hard by inflation, especially in the height of the high-spend holiday season. But, according to Dr. Andrew Kahn, Psy.D, for the 70 million Americans with Learning and Thinking Differences (LTDs), some of the challenges they may face with impulsivity and information processing can make this holiday season even trickier to manage.

Kahn is a licensed psychologist specializing in working with individuals who think and learn differently. He is the Associate Director, Behavior Change & Expertise at, a nonprofit focused on supporting the millions of Americans with LTDs, like ADHD and dyslexia

Finances are difficult to manage even without holiday spending or inflation. The financial world is loaded with pressures to spend money. Companies and credit cards use sophisticated tactics to lure consumers into opportunities to spend and engage in financial relationships that is mostly beneficial to the person getting your money.

These pressures are hard for anyone to maneuver, but according to Kahn, people with LTDs are especially vulnerable. There are a wide range of financial challenges for neurodivergent adults. Overall, people with LTDs have difference around executive function. This is the ability to take in information, organize it, put it in to categories and plan how to make use of this information. How this presents financial challenges vary on the specific LTDs.

Dyscalculia impairs an individual’s ability to learn number-related concepts, perform accurate math calculations, reason and problem solve. This causes people to struggle to understand a tip or bill. Dr Kahn says that something like, ‘Just give an extra 10%’ may be hard to understand, and these calculations take some decoding.

People with dyscalculia often go on autopilot, Kahn says. They accept that they will get charged what they get charged, and this makes it easy to get victimized, or at the least be uninformed about what they are spending.

Dyslexia involves difficulty reading due to problems identifying speech sounds and learning how they relate to letters and words. The financial world is full of advertisements, sales, credit card statements, lease terms and contracts. Kahn illustrates the ubiquitous of written financial agreements with Store Reward Cards. “Think about when you are at any store and the cashier asks if you want to sign up for a Rewards Card. They make it so easy – all you have to do is say ‘yes’, and click a button. Difficulty reading and comprehending what you read makes it hard to process this information, and determine the right decision.”




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