Money Management for the Adult with FASD


Q:  How do I help my grown son who is alcohol affected to manage his money, now that he has a job and gets a pay check regularly?   


A: Donna In my experience this is one of the biggest places where the "External Brain" comes in.  In the case of my family it was me for many years.  My husband who has FASD, as well as 2 of the kids, needed to have me handle their money for them or they would have starved or been out on the street. 


We had an agreement that they would come to me with their money before they went anywhere.  I paid all bills based on a previously agreed upon budget, and then they could have whatever was left over.  They would make decisions to save for big items, but when the time came to allow me to keep the money for saving they would impulsively want to spend it on something else.  (That car etc. was too far down the road.)  I let them do whatever they wanted, so they often didn't get the big items.  If I was lucky, I would be able to remind them of their goals or divert their attention to a smaller item. 


Today I do the same for my clients with FASD, acting as their "small t" trustee (I co-sign all checks).  Since they are adults and most of them are their own guardians, I cannot outright deny them the right to spend their money the way they want.  It's my job to gently convince and remind them that they want to eat for the rest of the month or buy new clothes. 


Quite frankly, I find that giving them a payoff when their money comes in, so they feel like they have had a celebration, usually helps to convince them to let me use the balance of the money to pay the bills.  (They have to really like me at the time.)


Often I will okay a big evening out for dinner on payday or maybe a new outfit or game or any relatively small item, so they get the high from having enjoyed the results of their hard work.  Isn't that what we all want and sometimes forget, because we have to pay the bills?




FAS Community Resource Center