Coronavirus financial resource center

'Shark Tank' investor Barbara Corcoran: This is 'the most important thing to do with your stimulus check'

Eric McCandless | Walt Disney Television | Getty Images

Self-made millionaire and investor on ABC's "Shark Tank" Barbara Corcoran has advice for anyone who is receiving a coronavirus stimulus check. "The most important thing to do with your stimulus check is to not spend it. It should be saved, because that's exactly what it's intended to do, to put you through a hard time," Corcoran tells Grow. "You should be thinking of it as something to fall back on."

This week, the government started distributing stimulus checks, officially known as economic impact payments, of up to $1,200 per adult and $500 per child under 16. 

Here are some other smart ways Corcoran suggests you can put your stimulus cash to good use

Pay down high-interest debt

Your first priority should be paying for essentials with your stimulus money. "Of course, if you're a mother of three and you can't put food on your table, you should be spending it on food," Corcoran says. 

If you don't need your stimulus check to make high-priority purchases, she suggests using it to pay bills that could be piling up. "If you have a lot of credit card debt, it's probably a very good use of the check to pay it down. Especially those cards with very high interest rates because they'll eat you alive."

Whatever you do, says Corcoran, don't spend that money frivolously. "It's not a Christmas present that you just go out and you spend on what you feel like doing."

Invest in yourself

Another wise way to make the most of your stimulus cash is to invest in developing new skills, Corcoran says: "Now's the time to take the courses online, develop your skills and make yourself stronger, because what you really want to do here is repackage yourself for a new economy." 

How to spend a stimulus check if you're unemployed

Video by Jason Armesto

Corcoran says she is seeing people use this time to make themselves more desirable job candidates. "I know a photographer who has a very good visual sense, lost all of his photography work, so he educated himself to be a photo editor and he has his resume out there, not as the photographer he was a month ago, but as a photo editor. And he's already getting work."

If you want to use your time at home to learn a new skill, online learning sites like Coursera, edX, and Codecademy are offering free or discounted classes on thousands of subjects including coding, real estate, and graphic design. 

Focus on the solution, not the problem

Corcoran was raised in a family that didn't have a lot of money and, as an adult, built her multi-million dollar real estate company The Corcoran Group in the 1970s during an economic recession. To get through trying times, she says it's important to remain calm and stay focused. 

"The lesson I learned from my mother and father, who raised 10 kids in a two bedroom house and hardly knew how they were going to pay for things, was, if you're worrying about money, it's a total waste of time," Corcoran says. "No matter what's going on. Because in the time that you're worrying, you're not thinking of solutions."

More from Grow:

acorns+cnbcacorns cnbc

Join Acorns


About Us

Learn More

Follow Us

All investments involve risk, including loss of principal. The contents presented herein are provided for general investment education and informational purposes only and do not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation to buy any specific securities or engage in any particular investment strategy. Acorns is not engaged in rendering any tax, legal, or accounting advice. Please consult with a qualified professional for this type of advice.

Any references to past performance, regarding financial markets or otherwise, do not indicate or guarantee future results. Forward-looking statements, including without limitations investment outcomes and projections, are hypothetical and educational in nature. The results of any hypothetical projections can and may differ from actual investment results had the strategies been deployed in actual securities accounts. It is not possible to invest directly in an index.

Advisory services offered by Acorns Advisers, LLC (“Acorns Advisers”), an investment adviser registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). Brokerage and custody services are provided to clients of Acorns Advisers by Acorns Securities, LLC (“Acorns Securities”), a broker-dealer registered with the SEC and a member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (“FINRA”) and the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (“SIPC”). Acorns Pay, LLC (“Acorns Pay”) manages Acorns’s demand deposit and other banking products in partnership with Lincoln Savings Bank, a bank chartered under the laws of Iowa and member FDIC. Acorns Advisers, Acorns Securities, and Acorns Pay are subsidiaries of Acorns Grow Incorporated (collectively “Acorns”). “Acorns,” the Acorns logo and “Invest the Change” are registered trademarks of Acorns Grow Incorporated. Copyright © 2019 Acorns and/or its affiliates.

NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures are investors in Acorns Grow Incorporated.