The Financial (and Emotional) Cost of the ADHD Tax

Fredrick Royster
6 min readJun 2, 2023
Photo by Jp Valery on Unsplash

With the horrid state and price of healthcare in the United States we are all paying too much for our doctors visits, checkups, hospital stays and vital medications.

But there is one condition where even if you live in South Korea or Denmark with their high ratings on their universal healthcare system, there is one disability that you still end up paying tens and thousands of dollars for: and that’s Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

From Attitude Magazine

From impulsivity to forgetfulness and even emotional dysregulation — translate to very real financial consequences. It’s why people with ADHD, compared to non-ADHD peers…

…are in poorer financial situations and exhibit difficulties with financial decision-making.1

…exhibit poorer financial competency and capacity.1

…are more financially dependent on family members.2

…earn less and attain lower socioeconomic standing over their lifetimes.2 3

Hence the “ADHD tax” — a term that refers to the obvious and hidden costs of living with the condition.

This can wreak havoc on someone’s life, emotionally, and financially. Missing credit card fees and mismanaging money leads to low credit scores and the inability to buy houses, cars or get a loan.

How I’ve Paid The ADHD Tax

I shudder to think what is probably the TENS of thousands of dollars I’ve wasted in a lifetime

  • All the lost car keys (not very cheap to replace on a German VW Golf)
  • All the lost iPhones.
  • All the lost pairs of glasses.
  • The time when I lost my oral retainer in the 4th grade and my dad was livid with me.
  • The time when I left my little Weber grill outside of my apartment and forgot to take it and it was stolen.
  • The time when I watered the grass.. then forgot to turn the hose off leaving the water running for HOURS.
  • Leaving my coffee on the roof of my car and driving off.



Fredrick Royster

Lapsed Web Designer*UI/UX Professional* Electronic Dance Music Aficionado * Chicagoland (except that stint in Croatia!)