You've heard of ADD. But how about DAD?

Attention Deficit Disorder is a common enough affliction that most of us know the initials ADD. However, just this past week, I’ve discovered a new, financially based version of the same thing: “Deficit Attention Disorder.”

DAD results in otherwise responsible adults running up big deficits because they can only think about money in the here and now. They have no ability to make financial decisions that will help them immensely later on. Here’s one recent example.

Our No.1  “daily thought”

If I were to ask you what most Americans think about every day, what would you guess? Sex? Food? Politics?

No, it’s money.

GoBankingRates cleverly asked about our top “daily thought,” and money came in at 18 percent. Work was second at 17 percent. “Love life” was only third, at 11 percent.

As a follow-up question, GoBankingRates asked about our “biggest financial fears.” Topping the list at 20 percent was “not being able to afford a home.” Sadly, “never being able to retire” was second at 16 percent, followed closely by “losing my job” at 15 percent.

If you notice, retirement is the most far-from-now category, so it’s not too surprising it didn’t rank higher. Still, it’s also the most serious fear with the most catastrophic ramifications — because you can always rent if you can’t buy a house, and you can always get a job (even if it’s lower paying), but if you retire broke, there’s no option that late in the game.

Tired of retirement talk

Sometimes, when a problem seems intractable, we simply give up trying to solve it. I’m fearful that retirement has become just such a problem for most Americans.

Earlier this month, insurance firm Aon Hewitt released a thoroughly depressing study. The company analyzed 77 large U.S. employers with a combined 2.1 million employees — and found “only one-in-five are on track to meet or exceed their needs in retirement at age 65.”

Worse still, three in five workers will need to keep working past 65 just to survive. Even with this bleak news, “many workers are not planning enough for their long-term financial goals,” researchers conclude.

Of course, it’s hard to plan when you’re swamped with credit card debt,  which many Americans are. The average U.S. household owes more than $15,000 on their credit cards. If those households had that $15,000 to invest for retirement over the next 20-30 years, they could easily turn that into a solid nest egg.

For more info about retirement, here’s a video I made for a curious reader. If you’re drowning in debt and can’t even begin to think about retirement, call a certified credit counselor for a free debt analysis at . Do it now. Don’t let Deficit Attention Disorder become an even worse condition: Debt Death.

Howard Dvorkin is a CPA and chairman of, an educational resource for those who want to conquer all forms of debt in their lives.

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About the Author

Howard Dvorkin, CPA

Howard Dvorkin, CPA

I’m a certified public accountant who has authored two books on getting out of debt, Credit Hell and Power Up, and I am one of the personal finance experts for I have focused my professional endeavors in the consumer finance, technology, media and real estate industries creating not only, but also Financial Apps and Start Fresh Today, among others. My personal finance advice has been included in countless articles, and has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Forbes and Entrepreneur as well as virtually every national and local newspaper in the country. Everyone should have a reason for living that’s bigger than themselves, and besides my family, mine is this: Teaching Americans how to live happily within their means. To me, money is not the root of all evil. Poor money management is. Money cannot buy happiness, but going into debt always buys misery. That’s why I launched I’m glad you’re here.

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