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5 Money Lessons Barbara Corcoran Learned the Hard Way (So You Don’t Have To)

Helga Esteb /
Helga Esteb /

She started a business with $1,000 and turned it into a $6 billion empire, but even Barbara Corcoran makes mistakes. The “Shark Tank” star has been very open about her failures, making it clear she’s encountered plenty of bumps in the road.

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Considering she’s garnered a net worth of approximately $100 million, it’s clear she knows a thing or two about money. Here’s a look at five money lessons that Corcoran has shared publicly, so you can learn from them too.


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Invest Your Money

In 2001, Corcoran sold her real estate firm for $66 million. During a 2024 episode of the “Earn Your Leisure” podcast, she reflected on the sale and the big mistake she made with her earnings.

Instead of investing her money, she left it in a checking account for four years. During that time she could’ve grown her profits to an even greater sum, but she opted to hold onto it a bit too tightly.

Check Out: Barbara Corcoran: 3 Cities To Invest In Real Estate Now Before Prices Skyrocket

Negotiations Aren’t All About Money

When negotiating anything money-related, you might think the bottom line is the only thing that matters. However, Corcoran knows this isn’t the case.

When she initially received an offer to sell The Corcoran Group, the prospective buyer rejected her original asking price. She then reviewed their counteroffer and sent back another counter of her own a few days later, but the buyer chose to walk away entirely.

She believes her error wasn’t asking for too much money, but that waiting too long to send her counteroffer made the buyer feel disrespected. Therefore, when NRT offered to buy her company for $22 million about 10 years later, she hastily countered with $66 million and got what she wanted.

Let Failure Motivate You To Succeed

Corcoran has been knocked down in her career, but she always gets back up again. After being in business for less than two years, she was asked to give an “expert” speech to a group of bikers.

Despite heavy preparation for the speech, she got so nervous in the moment that she completely lost her voice. The next morning, she realized she could either feel sorry for herself or start practicing her public speaking.

Like the boss she is, Corcoran swiftly pitched a 12-week course on selling real estate at New York University and got the job. There, she met Carrie Chiang, who would go on to become her top-selling employee.

Read Emails Carefully

In 2020, scammers emailed Corcoran’s bookkeeper pretending to be her assistant. The message contained an email with an invoice for $400,000, supposedly authorized by her assistant to pay for an investment property.

On the surface, the scam made sense, as this was a normal activity for her. However, when her assistant was copied on an email from the bookkeeper, it was discovered the invoice was sent by a fake — but purposely very real looking — email address.

By this time, the money had been taken from her account, but her bank was able to freeze the funds before they reached the scammers. This was almost definitely a stressful experience, but thankfully she didn’t end up losing the money.

Make Moves When the Market Is Down

OK, she might not have learned this lesson the hard way, but this sage advice is still worth mentioning.

When the economy is in a downturn, people tend to hold onto their cash — but not Corcoran. She believes this is the best time to make an investment.

Essentially, there’s a lot less competition during times of economic turmoil, which can bring great opportunities. If you’re willing to spend the money when no one else is, she believes you’ll be rewarded in the long term.

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This article originally appeared on 5 Money Lessons Barbara Corcoran Learned the Hard Way (So You Don’t Have To)