Can you manifest money?
Every young woman I know gets served up spiritual content on TikTok and Instagram, myself included. Our feeds are full of Tarot readings, astrology, human design types, crystals and – of course – manifestation techniques. Call it algorithmic, or call it the universe sending signals! But can you really manifest money?
I used to be sceptical. Sometimes I’d read my horoscope in a magazine, but really just out of curiosity or for a giggle.
Still, the more this stuff turned up in my feeds, the more I found myself curious. Especially when it comes to manifestation, I have found myself really drawn to learning more – , how people manifest and how it works.
As I was typing “how it works” I could sense your eye rolls. Please stay with me for a second!
I don’t actually think manifesting is magic. I don’t think that if you visualise yourself living in Kim Kardashian’s mansion, you’ll wake up there one day. And more importantly, I don’t think people who are struggling financially have just failed to manifest better fortune – there are systemic issues that make it very difficult for most people on this planet to experience financial security and financial freedom.
But, I do think manifesting “works” in a sense. It works because it encourages you to set goals, and setting goals is something that really has benefits (no magic required).
What is manifesting?
Manifestation hit the mainstream with the publication of The Secret by Rhonda Byrne in 2006. The book sold tens of millions of copies and was endorsed by Oprah Winfrey. The Secret is pseudoscientific, mixing truths about the power of the placebo effect with nonsensical claims that your thoughts literally alter the physical word.
In the documentary accompanying the book, author Lisa Nichols explains The Secret’s money philosophy: “Every time you look inside your mail expecting to see a bill, guess what? It will be there. You’re expecting debt, so debt must show up. . . . Every day you confirm your thoughts. Debt is there because of the Law of Attraction. Do yourself a favour: Expect a check!”
It’s a very literal understanding of manifestation, and unavoidably it feels like The Secret blames those who are experiencing hardship for “attracting that energy” into their lives.
The good news is that since 2006, manifesting has had a makeover. At your local bookshop you’re likely to find manifesting journals for sale. These journals usually contain prompts to set your intention, to envision what it is you really want to manifest. Then the next step might be imagining what it will look like once you’re well on the path to manifesting that attention. Basically, you’re being asked to set one big goal and then think about the smaller, more achievable milestones you will hit on the way to that goal.
This is the kind of manifesting that’s popular on social media recently. Influencers encourage their followers to write down what they want to manifest, make vision boards and then think about what the first step to achieving that dream looks like.
Toxic positivity vs the benefits of positive thinking
Manifesting, in all its forms, involves encouraging positive thinking. Research has shown that happy people tend to live longer and be healthier. But the pursuit of happiness, through positivity in the face of real hardship, may be harmful to our mental health.
University of Melbourne researchers Brock Bastian and Ashley Humphry looked into why positivity can sometimes be toxic. They found that when people had a long-term goal they were working towards that brought them deep satisfaction, they were far less upset by life’s ups and downs. But, if “being happy” itself was the goal – that could be toxic.
“If we are aiming to be happy all the time then we might feel that tough times are interrupting our goal. But if we simply put a priority on positivity, we are less concerned by these feelings – we see them as an ingredient in the good life and part of the overall journey,” they concluded.
“Rather than always trying to “turn a frown upside down”, we are more willing to sit with our low or uncomfortable emotions and understand that doing so will, in the long run, make us happy.”
So go set a goal!
Research has consistently shown that people who set specific and challenging goals are more likely to achieve those goals. And people who set goals are also more motivated and report higher levels of self esteem and confidence than those who don’t set goals.
Whether you call it manifesting, or you call it budgeting for your dream holiday, you’re actually doing the same thing.
You are being specific about what you want – you’re imagining the accommodation you want to stay in, activities you want to do, what time of year you want to holiday – and that’s your goal. Then you’re breaking that down into smaller goals, what it will look like to be on the path to achieving your big goal. If you’re saving for a holiday, that probably looks like working out how much your dream holiday costs and making a realistic timeline to put those savings away from each pay cheque.
Whether you write that down in a manifestation journal or an Excel spreadsheet, you’re basically doing the same thing!
I think the best thing about manifesting is the way it encourages you to be bold in announcing (even just to yourself) what your goal is. Sometimes it can be so scary to even admit that you want to do something big, like save for a house deposit.
At times, we all have that little voice in our head that says, “as if you can do that”. Manifestation is a great reminder that the stories we tell ourselves matter, and have impact.
This article is published by Verve Money Pty Ltd (ABN 71 653 669 366, AFS Representative No. 001294184), a Corporate Authorised Representative of True Oak Investments Ltd (ABN 81 002 558 956; AFSL 238184), as the Manager of Verve Money. A friendly reminder that all the financial information contained in this article is general in nature and does not take into account your personal financial objectives, situation or needs. It’s important to do your own research and consider getting in touch with a professional adviser to access specific information tailored to your unique situation.
You should read the Product Disclosure Statement, Investment Guide, Target Market Determination and Financial Services Guide before making a decision to acquire, hold, or continue to hold, an interest in the Verve Money Fund. Visit www.vervemoney.com.au/documents to view these documents.
Interests in the Verve Money Fund (ARSN 662 622 899) are issued by Melbourne Securities Corporation Limited (ACN 160 326 545, AFSL 428289). When considering financial returns, return of capital is not guaranteed and past performance is not indicative of future performance.