‘Shark Tank’: Why Kevin O’Leary Says Being ‘Too Shy’ To Talk About Money When Dating Leads To Problems in Marriage

Kevin O’Leary of ABC’s Shark Tank is known for his love of money. Considering himself a very selective investor, O’Leary exercises plenty of due diligence before partnering with an entrepreneur. Though he goes by the moniker “Mr. Wonderful,” O’Leary doesn’t spare someone’s feelings when it comes to making a merger.

While he considers himself a romantic, the Shark Tank star advises couples headed to the altar to handle their upcoming nuptials much like a business merger.

Kevin O'Leary of 'Shark Tank'
Kevin O’Leary of ‘Shark Tank’ | Jessica Brooks via Getty Images

Kevin O’Leary recommends due diligence

Revealing that only a bit less than half of small businesses survive longer than five years, O’Leary encourages anyone considering a business partnership to put everything in writing before allocating any funds. He recommends the same kind of protection in another kind of union.

“What other institution has an equally high failure rate after five years?” O’Leary wrote in his 2012 book Cold Hard Truth On Men, Women, and Money: 50 Common Money Mistakes and How to Fix Them. “Marriage. We all think we’ll beat the odds, that we’re different, special, that our love is uniquely suited to withstand the trials and tribulations of life. And I’m nothing if I’m not a romantic (believe it or not).”

The Shark Tank panelist feels that couples about to walk down the aisle need to do their homework when it comes to finances, just as they would if it were a business deal.

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“That’s why I love entrepreneurs so much – their stories, their gusto, their passion for a project,” O’Leary explained. “But I don’t hand over a dime before performing thorough due diligence. … I go into every venture protecting myself against grand claims and probably changes of fortune. You’d be insane to do otherwise. So why do so many people get married without doing the same kind of due diligence regarding their life partner?”

No surprise that Mr. Wonderful believes in prenups

While some may consider a prenuptial agreement to be showing a lack of faith in a relationship, O’Leary sees the contract as simply being financially responsible. The Shark Tank panelist also noted that prenups are not just for the wealthy – and not just for men.

“Sometimes they say prenuptial agreements are for people who have a lot of assets to protect,” Mr. Wonderful commented in his book. “Wrong. … When so many women are out-earning men and buying property before they are married, this piece of advice is particularly crucial: Ladies, don’t let him take you for an idiot. You must get a prenuptial agreement before you get married, regardless of your financial situation, especially if you own a business.”

For those who are marrying for the second time, or tying the knot with someone who has been married before, O’Leary warns that exes can threaten financial stability.

“An ex-spouse, especially a vengeful one,” the millionaire wrote, “can mire your business into the kind of legal drama that could completely bankrupt you.”

Mr. Wonderful believes in bringing up the subject early

O’Leary suggests facing the topic of money head on when dating. He advises making financial planning a focal point early on in a relationship, just as he would if contemplating a business partnership.

“People will be unemployed, livelihoods will be destroyed, all because you were too shy to talk about money on a date,” the Shark Tank panelist remarked. “If you can’t talk about money, what other important subjects are off limits? What do you do in the event of illness? How do you want to raise your kids?”

The reality star reiterates that prenuptial agreements are for anyone who wants to safeguard their assets, and have a say in what they worked to financially accomplish. O’Leary believes that following the same principles in protecting a business can apply to a relationship.

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“Prenuptial agreements are not just for rich, older people anymore,” O’Leary reiterated.”Anyone coming into a relationship with any assets, any savings, any investments, however small, needs to get one. … Even if both spouses come into a marriage with next to nothing, a windfall could occur later on that changes everything.”