Thread subject: The Dyscalculia Forum :: Trouble with numbers at work and home.
Posted by hknixon on June 23 2012 03:58 AM
I work for an insurance broker and normally I don't have *too* much math to do and what complex stuff I do have is already set up in spreadsheets with formulas.
My boss however has been pushing me to do more "financial analysis" i.e showing the clients how much annual premium we are saving them by adjusting plans, contributions, etc. The frustrating part that usually leads to screaming matches and tears is that he is a human calculator. His major was actuarial studies, he's a math genius and he has no idea how I can *not* comprehend what he calls "basic" math. He thinks I'm just being lazy. I'm seriously pondering getting tested just so he'll get off my back about it.
At home I've been using a spreadsheet to help with finances and I have a sort of "triple check" system but recently my husband and I have acquired a couple more bills and having to figure out how to juggle everything between paychecks is not working and we're falling behind even though by my calculations (HAH!) we should have plenty of money. My husband is just as bad as I am so there's really no help from that quarter.
I guess my question is, living in the US, if I get tested and diagnosed is there a way to get help with our finances that won't use up what little money we have? All of my safeguards and "workarounds" are starting to fail and I'm afraid we're going to end up with a mess if I don't do something soon.
Posted by justfoundout on June 25 2012 06:08 PM
There may be some help here that I don't know about, but the one time that I couldn't do my own taxes (because they were very complicated that year), I just had to break down and pay a tax preparer. It was $65 that I hated to have to pay out, but it helped me get back more of a return than I would have gotten doing it myself.
I'd tried working for a company one time that helped people with their finances. (Yeah, I know,... like you said about yourself, 'HAH'.) What I found out was that, even when the person trying to help is sincere, the company itself holds all the power and can sabotage the results. The very knowledgeable and well-intentioned man who was my trainer suddenly found himself in the position that he had 'advised' a family to do certain things with their money, only to find that the company changed its rules and tossed out that option. Then, he was left searching for ways to help that family get back to a stable situation. He did this because he had a conscience and wanted to 'do the right thing', but I could see how someone with less knowledge of the workings of 'finance' and with less conscience than he had might have just told that family 'too bad'! So, please be very cautious when accepting 'help' from financial planners. I didn't continue in that job. I wouldn't have had the knowledge to 'fix' things that could go wrong for people. This was just one of many times that I saw flaws in systems that were supposedly 'helping' people. Businesses hire 'customer service people' who are personable, helpful, friendly, listen well, and have nice speaking voices. But the customer service person really has no 'power' to make the company follow through on what it offers. I'm surely not the only ex-customer service person to have noticed this? - jus'
Posted by RottieWoman on June 27 2012 03:27 PM
Hi again :)
if you are officially diagnosed - as 'jus said, there may be some help, depends on where you are and what your perspective is.
I was a case manager and worked with people with cognitive disabilities, on the Spectrum and people labeled as having "profound learning disability" - that was a couple of my clients. One of those clients hoped to learn to drive and I personally had just learned to drive as requirement for that exact job. So our agency did a number of things depending on severity of need - one person might need help writing checks; one person might need assistance locating an adult driver's ed teacher and said teacher and client -might- need some review for working together upon initial meeting. The clients did not pay a fee for my work with them. It is true they were referred to this program by another State disability agency - but that may not have to be the case with every type of assistance program.
If/when you get diagnosed, that would be one question to ask at the meeting where you get the results back.
When I was in college I had my first checking account<before diagnosis> and it was a disaster. My then-boyfriend helped me with it but he wasn't there every day and I'd actually take it to the bank and tell them I was having difficulty - later I told them of the diagnosis - and had them help me.
well, just remember you're not alone here!
Posted by Alice12 on June 29 2012 11:52 AM
In response to the work zone:
If you live in the US go to the website for Americans with Disabilities Act. Then on that website click on JAN (you'll see the link) and you will find appropriate phone numbers for counseling and follow up regarding the process. Request from your employer to provide specific accommodations and be very specific. In the US the law is on your side. I recently went through that process and it was worth it, my employer is now ready to provide the specific accommodations that I requested.
In response to personal finances here are a few suggestions:
The good thing is that dyscalculia keeps me away from spending and making irrational spontaneous purchases.
Do not make any expenditure without first thinking them through; take time to map out anything that has to do with money.
Avoid cash transactions unless they are very plain (such as round numbers.)
Hire a trusted accoutant for taxes, it's worth the extra cost.
Be very conservative in your finances. Take plenty of time to think them out ahead of time. Keep things simple.
If you use credit cards, select one from your bank because it may be better protected; avoid handling multiple credit cards; avoid anything that sounds like a good deal because chances are it's not such a good deal. Read all the fine prints and keep transactions simple.
For banking I tried a software program but it was an absolute nightmare so I went back to a time consuming but somewhat manageable paper-booklet and manual reconciliation. I always keep a couple hundred dollars in my account as a "cushion" so that any error does not end in penalties.
Use automatic withdrawals for regular payments (cars, insurances, etc.) so that you don't have to write the checks (I tend to bump numbers, invert them, write the number of the check in the amount to pay and so forth.)
Use a notebook to list every payment for each pay period and check them off every time you make the payments. A friend of mine who is not dyscalculic did that for me years ago (I was then struggling to stay afloat total chaos) and since then I have used the system that she put into place for me, with a simple notebook and a pencil, and a caculator with big and simple buttons.
Stay away from financial advisors unless they are legal, highly recommended by sound sources and totally objective.
Be organized, concrete, and give yourself time to process your finances.