Feng Shui: Fix the Flow of Wealth in Your Home and Office

Feng Shui expert Ali Bogner consults with Maria Lin We love a fresh start.

That’s why we’ll take as many new year’s celebrations as we can get.

And today, there’s another one: Chinese or Lunar New Year. Lunar New Year is the most important holiday in Asian cultures. When I was little, my mom told me that it was important to act on Chinese New Year how you wanted the whole year to be. Traditionally, homes are swept clean, special lucky foods are eaten, fights avoided and grudges forgotten so that peace and happiness can be wished on everyone.

The Chinese are big on prosperity and fortune as themes for Lunar New Year, so in honor of today's ringing in the Year of the Dragon (a year of great luck), we had a feng shui consultant come to my apartment and assess what changes I could make to increase wealth in my life. If you’re raising an eyebrow, feng shui is an ancient system of geomancy based on geography and astrology that has been around for over five thousand years. It’s based on the concept of “chi,” or energy, and often the tips just make a lot of common sense.

Allessandra (Ali) Bogner is a feng shui consultant in New York City who used to have the very non-fluffy job of investment banker, so she knows a thing or two about money. She got interested in feng shui when her life started to fall apart after moving into a building, and she heard similar stories from other tenants. She works with clients who are prominent in the fashion, finance and hedge fund industries in New York City.

"Wealth means different things to different people," says Ali. "It's not necessarily about money, although it can be. It can be about creativity, achievements or recognition."

While we obviously recommend tackling your finances in a concrete way first and foremost (start the new year off right by signing up for an affordable Financial Plan, or a free Take Control of Your Finances Bootcamp), a little extra luck never hurt. Follow these general tips to increase the flow of good wealth-creating energy into your life. Then view our slideshow to two feng shui makeovers: My apartment and an office cubicle.


1. The wealth corner is the southeast area of your home.

If you hire a consultant, she will do a more detailed identification of the spot based on the year your building was built and your birthdate, but you can use the southeastern area as a rough guide. Here, put symbols of money or real money (tape it behind a piece of furniture or a picture).

2. Put something "active" and red in the areas you want to activate.

You should also put active elements in your wealth area. Examples of active things are a computer, printer, a working clock, a fan, a TV, a fish tank, a fountain—something that is used and has energy.

3. Remove dead flowers or branches.

Dead or dried flowers or branches represent dead chi—they are the worst thing to have in your home. Ali tells me that she used to have lots of dried flowers around her apartment, and it was one of the darkest times in her life.

4. Put some live bamboo in your career area (this is generally the northern area).

"Left to its own devices, bamboo will grow like crazy," says Ali. Bamboo is a lovely sustainable plant that represents money and natural, creative growth.

5. Close the bathroom door.

Keep the bathroom door shut at all times. Otherwise, the energy of the house will flow into the bathroom and "down the drain."

6. Fix anything that isn't working properly.

In feng shui, everything should work as it's designed to, so there is good chi and flow. A leaky faucet? Money leaking out of your life. A clogged drain? Not letting things go. A clock that has stopped still? It can symbolize time stopping. A burner on a stove going out is bad—the oven is the hearth of the home. Fix whatever you can, and get rid of the rest.


1. Keep clutter at bay.

The most important thing you can do for your career is to perform well (check out our Build Your Career Bootcamp), but some physical changes to your work area can help. Make sure your desk is neat and organized—take some time every week to go through your desk and make sure everything is neat. Ali points out that your boss will notice a re-organized work area, whether consciously or not, and it will send a message of effectiveness and organization.

2. Make sure your pictures are inspirational.

Look with a fresh eye at what images you have around your work area. Make images positive, future-oriented and inspiring. Replace old ticket stubs or old vacation photos with pictures of where you'd like to go in the future. "I had a client who had a giant picture of the Titanic hanging in his office," says Ali. "He liked to remind himself that nothing was ever a sure thing, so it reinforced his cautious nature. I told him to take it down, and instead he put up a photo of Mount Everest.

"Within a month or so of doing a little feng shui in his office, he signed the biggest deal of his life. He started focusing on international deals, with emphasis on the Far East. (Yes, near Everest.) Within two to three years, he managed to build up his business and hire enough people that he could work from home."

3. Evaluate the papers on your desk.

"What papers do you have on your desk that are positive or negative?” asks Ali. “An executive I worked with had piles of paper and half of them were dead deals! Why would you want that negative energy around you? Store them somewhere if you have to keep them, but don’t keep them out and around you.”

4. Keep family photos to a minimum.

Work is for work, according to Ali. Keep images to those that will inspire you for work, so you can stay more focused. Have just one spot for your family or personal photos—don't spread them everywhere—or you will be less focused.

5. Don't have your back to the door.

Never work with your back to the door or to a room. If you can't change your seating, put up a mirror near your work area so you can glimpse people who are coming up behind you.


View Slide Show

More From LearnVest

Valentine's Day is coming up! Check out our top list of gifts that give back.
Less is more when it comes to home decorating: Find out why.
Don't waste money on food by letting it go back. Learn the best way to store food so you can make it last.

Photo Credit: Trevor Wilson

  • Writerone

    Just a little confused…the article mentions that the southeast area is the money area, however in the same paragraph it says use the northern area. Could you please clarify?

    • Anonymous

      Hi Writerone,

      Thank you for pointing that out. It is the southeastern area of your home, and we’ve change the article to reflect that.

  • Kel78belle

    where did you get the file cabinet?

    • Maria

      Hi Kel78belle, I got it at Homedecorators.com; it’s the Southport filing cabinet!

      • Kel78belle

        thank you!  it’s awesome, I love it and a great price compared to things I’ve looked at on Pottery Barn and Crate & Barrel

  • T Ralston

    i’m pretty sure it’s the northwest corner of your home, based on the location of your front door. The southeast bagua is for travel and helpful people…..
    the baguas are important and putting the wrong items in them can seriously affect the chi….

    • Anonymous

      Hi T Ralston,

      According to our feng shui expert and additional research, the southeastern corner of your home is the wealth area, while the northern area is your career area.

      As we mentioned in the article, there can be small variations on this according to where your front door is located, the age of your building, and your birth date, but in lieu of having a feng shui expert visit your home, keeping these general principles in mind can guide how one activates the wealth and career areas of the room.

  • Ejeng98

    Hi there. I was wondering if fake flowers/trees in the house is okay.

    • Ali Bogner

      Fake flowers and trees are great.  They can add color and cheer up a room…and fake flowers have come a long way, as they actually quite beautiful and look real.  The problem with having dried flowers in your house is that it really is a living thing that died. It’s dead energy/Chi and it should cycle back into nature as intended.  You wouldn’t keep the corpse of your dead pet in your house either.  Remove the dead flowers and replace them with something vibrant – you will feel the difference!


      • Suzanne

        What about having the ashes of a deceased pet?

        • Ali Bogner

          I’ve gotten this question several times and it’s never an easy answer. With 3 cats and a dog at home, I understand the deep love people have for their pets.  Feng Shui was originally the science of finding the perfect burial site for deceased family members.  Traditional Feng Shui is very clear about the separation of the dead and living. That said, I practice authentic, but practical Feng Shui. I’ve had many clients that insist on keeping the ashes of their beloved pet.  My first advice is to find a place on your outside property to keep the ashes.  If this is not a possibility, I suggest creating some kind of special space in your house. Perhaps in the NW area, which represents your mentors and travel. I would strongly suggest that you NOT put dead energy in your career, wealth, fame or relationship areas.   

    • Suzitain

      Hey you, Ive tried everything to get in contact with you.  Where are you?  Sue 

  • Monstertrucknyc

    wow, I need all that. how can I find ali?

  • Bianca

    My home’s southeastern room is our garage. Does that count since we don’t live in it? The next room would be our mudroom/furnace closet.These are narrow rooms, and on the other side of that wasll is our walk in pantry and kitchen.

    • Ali Bogner

      Many homes have odd shapes. You would have to consult with a Feng Shui expert in person or at least have them look at your floor plan to determine where your SE area is located.  That said, you can always create your wealth corner in any one room…living rooms are great for this.  I consult in Manhattan, where many of my clients have small, studio apartments, so I find the SE direction (which is usually a corner or small wall) and create a wealth area.  The most important ingredient?  Intention.  When you choose any area of your home to energize an aspect of your life, you need to create that space with intention.  Visualize what opportunities you want to come into your life by creating this space.

  • Lorrikim

    I LOVE the new mobile slideshow format! It was always difficult to see them on my phone or iPad, where I do most of my browsing, so I missed out on a lot of (probably!) great content. I just had to see this slideshow and was thrilled to see the new feature. Thanks for listening to prior feedback about that!!!

  • goldberry

    Doesn’t it bother anyone that this is superstition? How could taping money behind furniture actually help me make money? How could my luck actually go down a leaky drain…? Maybe the loss of religious beliefs has caused people to turn to these ideas. I have nothing against harmonious arrangement of living space, but I certainly am not going to adopt superstitions just because they are new and interesting in my culture.

    • Carla

      For me, feng shui is more about energy, and less about superstition…

    • Jello

      It is superstition, but if you read the instructions and follow it carefully you will have a neater home and a simpler life. It helps things in your life and home flow better. It is not a religious thing to worship, just a motivator to make life easier by getting rid of all the unnecessary things.

  • Ladycelt

    I love the tall bookcases in the corner. Where did those come from?

  • Roxanne Quicks

    I love this idea of Feng Shui. I have recently really gotten into it. I love all the points you make and feel like office Feng Shui is important as well. I found another site that you may find interesting if you want to check it out! http://www.rosiofficefurniture.com/office-furniture/Utah/office-feng-shui.html

  • sam

    if my main door is at south, how do i find south east side

    • Innovative Obsessions

      easy check with a compass

  • Squiby

    Does cut decorative eucalyptus count as a dead plant? It is
    a cut plant, however emits oil that smells so wonderful. Should I keep or

  • Pokey

    How do you read the Baqua map? Do you look at the Baqua map, with a compass? Or as you walk in the door of a room or you home? For me the wealth corner is now a bed, so maybe I am ‘sleeping my wealth away.’ But I am unsure if the wealth corner is the southeast corner by compass, or the back left corner when you walk in the door.

    The love corner has a home office. Going to change these!