Money Management

7 Dangers Of “Money Manifesting” & Why It Can Be A Toxic Concept

By Tuesday, April 06, 2021

“Manifesting money is all about the energy that you bring to the experience,” Sarah Prout writes on her blog, 6 Secrets to Manifest Money Fast.  The notion of manifesting, especially in regards to money, has gained huge popularity since the beginning of the pandemic — and it’s easy to see why. The idea that you simply have to “think good thoughts and money will come to you,” is what these new law of attraction financial teachers claim. And, considering that around an estimated 10 million Americans are still said to be unemployed (and/or claiming unemployment benefits), this way of thinking is both attractive and enticing. More importantly, these usually unlicensed teachers preaching this are only not giving out unqualified financial advice but it’s predatory in nature to the point where it almost seems scammy.

So let’s start from the top as to why this version of money manifestation, is problematic. Firstly, the most cited and well-known “gurus” are usually white, wealthy men or women.As a result, they usually fail to acknowledge their privilege and biases while doling out their advice. Money is not just energy  —  it’s a necessary tool for survival. Poverty and/or depression are not caused by your loss of connection to “spirit,” as Gabby Bernstein says in her book Spirit Junkie

“Money is not just energy  —  it’s a necessary tool for survival.”

According to self-professed money queen Amanda Frances, we can ‘create luxury in our lives by spending our money with love. ‘Many of them will claim that a  scarcity mentality is blocking your abundance. This in particular comes off a tone-deaf. The racial wealth gap is still very much a thing but not discussed or acknowledged; and no amount of “tapping into” an abundance mindset, or an attitude of gratitude while paying our bills, is going to eradicate the structures in which these gurus benefit from. This privileged belief system disregards the social and political factors that play into the individual’s life, and is damaging to people who may have experienced past trauma, oppression and/or racism. 

Overall the language surrounding this phenomenon is quite harmful and problematic.  Many of them say you “create your  reality.” However, this completely disregards the social, racial, and economic factors that play a huge part in an individual’s life and their ability to make money. It is also very much a victim-blaming way of thinking. “Keep your vibration high,” is not only encouraging people to numb themselves emotionally, but also a perfect example of toxic positivity. “Sending love and light” forces people to distance themselves from the problem and causes inaction. This is especially true in regards to pressing social injustices our world is currently facing. 

Manifesting, in general, emphasizes the individual’s desires and superficial things. In the blog post, “No Shame in the Self Help Game: My experience at a Gabby Bernstein retreat,” Doug Marshall muses at one point how these women at this retreat seem to have it all. He explains: 

As she talked about all the emotional blocks we have in our lives that hold us back, I found myself struggling with judgment and reading people based on their outward appearance.  It was a sea of fancy yoga pants from places like Bandier, a Louis Vuitton bag here and there and really big wedding rings.  My mind started to wander–did they manifest all of this?  Was her Goyard bag on her vision board?  These are highly accomplished women, the ones you look at and compare yourself to, thinking they have it all and that your life sucks.

He later goes on to admit he caught himself judging people he didn’t know and there is more than meets the eye with these particular women. What’s extremely fascinating is, even in this post, you can see how much materialism is prevalent. One could also argue it breeds narcissism as many in the manifesting camp focus on their wants more than anything. God forbid you talk about what’s happening in the world and try to make it a better place. There’s nothing wrong with having desires but actively trying to improve the world is something I think should be on everybody’s agenda. Especially if you’re white and claiming to be a wealthy woman with a big audience using cultural- appropriated practices as part of your offerings.

But that’s just me. 

Toxic money manifesting includes a victim-blaming way of thinking and language. “Keep your vibration high,” is not only encouraging people to numb themselves emotionally, but also a perfect example of toxic positivity. So is “Sending love and light”

The practice of money manifesting is very much reminiscent of prosperity gospel. Prosperity gospel says if you believe in God and He favors you, you will be blessed financially. Better yet, if you tithe your luck will be expanded greatly. It is rooted in the Christian evangelical tradition and has taken a new life as the concept of manifesting. 

Lastly, I’m disturbed to see multilevel marketing (MLM)praised and suggested as a potential source of income by these influencers. In 2015, Gabby Bernstein wrote a piece in the Huffington Post praising multilevel marketing companies as potential profit centers. She even had DoTerra (alleged essential oils MLM) as a sponsor for her Spirit Junkie Masterclass in 2019. Amanda Frances doesn’t even bother to hide the fact that MLM distributors are her niche. She has a program called “The Network Markets Blueprint” in her shop.  What makes it even ickier is that MLM distributors themselves make little to no money. In Jon Taylor’s study for the Consumer Awareness Institute on multilevel marketing companies, he says: 

Loss rates are extraordinary – over 99% for all of the MLMs for which I have been able to obtain relevant data. This in itself would not be so bad, except that it is promoted as an “income opportunity” – or even as a “business opportunity” – a misrepresentation in itself.

What makes it worse is that many of these MLM companies have self-improvement ingrained in their training so there’s a symbiotic relationship between self-help, Law of Attraction and MLMs. If a distributor fails or quits, it’s because they didn’t have the right mindset for it, not the structure in place causing it in the first place. 

It seems these influencers don’t really care about the audience they’re serving but seem more about making money (of course). They don’t offer refunds. They only continue to sell and upsell you. If they really cared, they wouldn’t suggest MLMs are possible side hustle nor would they strongly encourage you to align yourself with them. You’ll have better luck investing in the stock market than being in an MLM!

So in short, here are 7 ways Money Manifesting can be problematic.

  1. A lot of the advice is from unqualified ‘financial advisors’ who are predatory in nature.
  2. Most of the advice cited comes from privileged individuals, who fail to acknowledge (or are even aware of) their own advantages and the bias that comes with said advice.
  3. While the power of manifesting and the law of attraction do haves some scientific-proven benefits, money itself is not just energy – it is a necessary tool for survival.
  4. A good portion of money manifesting embodies toxic positivity. Such examples include: “Keep your vibrations high,” “Sending love and light,” “If you think it, you can make it,” and so forth.
  5. A ton of new money manifesting professionals and practices encourage, if not praise, multi-level marketing (and MLMs) and that are extremely dangerous and risky, financially.
  6.  The practice of money manifesting is very much reminiscent of “prosperity gospel.” Prosperity gospel says if you believe in God and He favors you, you will be blessed financially.
  7.  Money manifesting often victim-blames or victim-shames individuals for “failing” manifest their idea funds and lifestyle, while completely ignoring such disadvantages of race, eco-class, gender, and so forth.

While I’m all for improving your mindset and increasing your finances, we do need to step back and be critical of the content we’re consuming and the products we’re buying. 

Editor’s Note: It’s not so much that money manifesting is a problem, so much as the actual advisors, teachers and gurus (whom we consume our information from), can be problematic. So when it comes to the art of manifesting anything — in this case, money — tread lightly. Lean more into the concept via independent research and practice,  and not so much the “preacher.”

Dora Bralo is a writer currently living in New York. She enjoys traveling, learning new things, a hardcore foodie and could talk to you all day about personal finance and money. She has written on a wide range of things and experimented with different styles from poetry to personal essays. 

Image via Unsplash

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