Investing

Barbara Corcoran of 'Shark Tank': This Is the Best Investment I Ever Made

Barbara Corcoran, the “Queen of New York Real Estate” and one of the stars of ABC’s “Shark Tank,” has made a lot of investments. But the one that tops the self-made millionaire’s list? Herself.

“I have no confidence in the stock market, the bond market, the anything-else market, but I have extreme confidence in myself,” Corcoran tells Grow. “If you can figure out what your sweet spot is and bet on yourself, that's how you make a fortune.”

“You chunk down your money on yourself,” she says. “There's no other way.”

Corcoran, who’s had a wildly successful career in real estate and subsequently as an investor, doesn’t necessarily follow a traditional financial plan. For example, she’s not a saver .

“The truth is, I don’t save [money],” Corcoran says. “There are a lot of reasons for it, and I really believe in not saving.”

As she was coming up in the world, Corcoran would divvy up the money she earned into “piles.” She had one pile to pay for her expenses, one for “fun,” and the rest all went toward earning her even more money.

“With the leftover,” she says, “I just thought, OK, what can I spend that on that could make me maybe more money?’

“If I was building my business, I'd open another office if I had spare money, or I'd hire more salespeople. If it was personal, I would buy a better apartment.”

The tendency to spend, not save, is something Corcoran picked up from her parents, who she says used to spend every penny they had.

“My parents never saved a dime,” she says. “They had 10 kids and could barely pay the rent. But they never worried about money, and I don’t either...I just assume money is meant to be spent.”

How to invest in yourself

Corcoran’s all-in spending strategy has worked for her. And other big names, including Warren Buffett and Tony Robbins, echoed the importance of "investing in yourself.”

But for most of us, that’s a balance. While Corcoran is comfortable spending pretty much everything she makes, financial advisors generally agree you should build up to have a cash safety net of at least three months’ worth of living expenses.

As part of your big-picture savings and investing goals—like that emergency fund, retirement, or the down payment for a house—think about purchases you might save for that would further your personal and professional goals. Say, spending on the tuition for classes or training to boost your skills at work could improve your shot at a promotion or pay raise . Or spend on inventory or resources to build your side hustle .

Then work those self-investment goals into your budget . Check for other resources to hit that aim faster—94% of big companies offer free money for education , for example.

“Money is meant to be spent,” Corcoran says. “Bet it on yourself.”

Check out This generation is least frugal with money, and their parents could be partly to blame via Invest in You with CNBC + Acorns .

Disclosure: CNBC owns the exclusive off-network cable rights to “Shark Tank.”

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