Why ‘Shark Tank’ Star Barbara Corcoran Says ‘Money Is Not What It Is Often Cracked Up To Be’

Barbara Corcoran of Shark Tank built her real estate empire from a $1,000 loan, then sold it for a whomping $66 million in 2001. The Shark Tank investor earned her millionaire status through hard work and determination. While there are definite rewards to gaining such affluence, Corcoran revealed there can be a down side as well.

Barbara Corcoran of 'Shark Tank'
Barbara Corcoran of ‘Shark Tank’ | Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images

Barbara Corcoran’s favorite memory of closing the deal

Corcoran was initially offered $22 million for her real estate firm, yet negotiated for a final price of $66 million. She described a treasured memory following the sale when she went to the bank.  

“I arrive at the ATM, get my usual $200 for the week,” she told Andrew Warner of Mixergy. “I always press a button, ‘Do you want a receipt?’ Yes. I pull out the receipt, and before I tossed it into the garbage can, it read $44 million in my checking account. My first payment from the sale of the business, $44 million.”

The Shark Tank investor experiences the joy of that moment each time she withdraws cash from the ATM.

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“Every time I go to Citibank and hear that [makes sound of money dispensing] thing, I relive that excitement again,” Corcoran shared. “What a thrill that was for me. I don’t know why it was so thrilling. It seemed like a miracle.”

‘Shark Tank’ star knows the relief money can bring

Growing up in a small two-bedroom apartment with nine siblings, Corcoran knows firsthand what it’s like to struggle financially. When the Shark Tank star made her millions, she was grateful for what the windfall could provide.

“The very good news is I never had to worry about money again,” Corcoran explained. “I had enough money to send my kids to college. I didn’t ever have to mortgage out my house and move out, which I did on many instances. Even when you move into a rent-controlled apartment, you struggle to get through a bad patch. That was behind me.” 

The real estate mogul found monetary and lifestyle liberation through her newfound wealth.

“It was very freeing,” Corcoran noted. “It was also freeing to realize that I could do whatever I wanted with my time in my life. I was free of the business.”

Barbara Corcoran feels that her riches ‘complicated life’

After acquiring such a monumental sum for her real estate business, Corcoran realized her new income bracket impacted how she was viewed by those closest to her.

“Having that much money changes everything,” she said. “For me, it complicated life. My nine brothers and sisters saw me very differently. How do I take care of them? Is it my obligation to take care of them? … Because suddenly, I was in a different field than everybody else.”

Corcoran also found herself trying to help friends by footing their bills, only to conclude that money can’t solve every crisis.

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“I had one friend who put it perfectly, when he said, ‘Everybody has a $10,000 problem,’” Corcoran remarked. “Everybody that had a $10,000 problem came to me. I doled out $10,000, $10,000 to cure everybody’s problems. It never cured the problems.”

The Shark Tank panelist discovered that overseeing a vast amount of wealth has its challenges and requires you to find a team in whom you have the utmost confidence.

“It’s one thing, I realized, to make money,” Corcoran reflected. “I was great at making money, building a business. It’s something very different to manage money. You know what? The hardest part for me was trusting the next guy with it. … I had to learn to trust other people, and I’m still uncomfortable with it. Not so easy. Money is not what it is often cracked up to be.”

Season 12 of Shark Tank premieres on October 16.