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“All right, babes. Are you ready to tap?” Natalia Benson asks. The millennial women’s empowerment mentor and astrologer—“all things mysticism, motivation & money,” according to her Instagram bio—is beaming into my bedroom via a prerecorded video, encouraging me to embrace my inner wisdom.

Tapping, Benson says from within the glow of a ring light, means drumming my fingertips across different parts of my body to “smooth out” speed bumps in my nervous system and ultimately help me find a “new wavelength” with how I regard myself. While I am very pro astrology and the ~celestial arts~, I do have to pause for an, Ummm, okay. But I’m here for work and willing to go all the way to investigate the hugely popular New-Age-y idea that positive vibes can bring money into your life. And also, I would love to manifest a down payment for a house.

Onscreen, Benson is now reciting a series of self-help mantras, which she repeats in a soothing, yoga-teacher-esque voice, and I repeat in a less soothing, less yoga-teacher-esque voice: “Even though I worry sometimes that I’ll never have enough, that I won’t be able to pay my rent or my mortgage, and it causes me so much anxiety…even though this feels like a big hurdle for me that causes me so much pain, I still deeply love, accept, and forgive myself.” Ten minutes later, my first session with her Magical Women & Money course, which can be purchased for $249, is over. I have 17 parts to go.

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It's being called a “she-cession” (*eye roll*), and its impact has been profound: In COVID-19-devastated 2020, about 2 million American women were pushed out of the workforce due to layoffs, childcare issues, having to support a sick family member, or honestly, just insert any of the many other coronavirus-caused reasons here. A recent Bureau of Labor Statistics jobs report shows the economy lost 140,000 net jobs in December—all of them held by women. ALL of them. Let that sink in.

It’s no exaggeration to say that this financial disaster, without precedent or imminent conclusion, has left many women desperate for a lifeline. And unorthodox times are pushing some to unorthodox solutions. Which is perhaps why business is thriving for young female money mentors offering to help those less fortunate manifest themselves out of debt and into a bigger bank account—relying not on savings or stock tips but the idea that positive thinking can put you on a path to riches.

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