While American businesswoman, investor, author, and television personality Barbara Corcoran may not be the richest investor on Shark Tank, many call her the most generous. This former teacher has an inspiring story filled with heartache, tenacious work ethic, failures, and a journey to creating wealth that gives her an impressive net worth estimated at $100 million.

In this guide, we’ll share the details about Barbara Corcoran’s net worth, early years, career, rags-to-riches story, and how she rose in the real estate ranks to become a multi-millionaire and sought-after investor. Once you learn how achieved her net worth and persevered through her challenges, you will know you can do it too. As Barbara says, “All my best successes came on the heels of failure.” 

Barbara Cocoran Net Worth$100 million
Age: 73
Date of Birth:March 10, 1949
Birthplace:Edgewater, New Jersey
Height:5 ft 5 in (165 cm)
Source of Wealth:American entrepreneur, investor, author, motivational speaker, and television personality
Best-Known For: One of the original "shark" investors on the reality television show Shark Tank

Who Is Barbara Corcoran?  

Barbara Corcoran was born on March 10, 1949, the second of 10 children in a working-class family. Many times during her early years, her family relied on free food from a caring local grocer. Unfortunately, Barbara's father tended to drink excessively and treated her mother disrespectfully, so her home life was rocky. School was also difficult for Barbara, who later learned she had dyslexia. She flunked several courses in high school but eventually graduated as a D student. Still, Barbara didn't give up and went on to earn a degree in education from St. Thomas Aquinas College in 1971. 

After graduating with her degree, she taught school for one year but quickly moved on. She worked 20 different jobs, including a side job renting apartments in New York City, by the time she was 23. She had aspirations to be her own boss.

22 Jobs

Barbara explained, “I had twenty-two jobs before I started my business at the age of twenty-three, and I didn’t want one more boss telling me what to do. So I was motivated simply because I didn’t want a boss.” 

While working as a waitress, Barbara’s boyfriend, Ray Simone, talked her into getting a job with a real estate company. By 1973, she was a receptionist for a real estate company when she co-founded her first business, The Corcoran-Simone, with Ray, who loaned her $1,000 in start-up money. 

Barbara broke up with Ray seven years later when he left Barbara for her secretary. He told Barbara she wouldn't succeed without him, and she has been proving him wrong ever since. Barbara founded her own firm, The Corcoran Group, in 1980. During this time, she also started publishing a real estate newsletter, The Corcoran Report. 

Fast-forward to 2001, Barbara sold The Corcoran Group to National Realty Trust (NRT) for a jaw-dropping $66 million

Barbara married retired Navy captain and former FBI agent Bill Higgins in 1988. They have two children together, Tom (1994) and Kate (2005), and they live in Manhattan.

What is Barbara Corcoran’s net worth?

Barbara Corcoran’s net worth in 2023 is an estimated $100 million. Selling her company, The Corcoran Group, for $66 million jumpstarted her massive wealth. Since then, she has increased her net worth through several lucrative ventures and opportunities. 

How did Barbara Corcoran make her money?

Barbara Corcoran started making money through her first business, The Corcoran-Simone, and later her company, The Corcoran Group. She made $66 million when she sold her business in 2001. Barbara joined the reality series Shark Tank as one of the original investors in 2009 and has appeared in all 13 seasons. Shark investors make a reported $50,000 per episode in addition to income from their successful investments. 

Outside of Shark Tank, she shares her business advice on podcasts–888-Barbara and Business Unusual with Barbara. She is also a motivational speaker and has authored and co-authored books, including:

  • If You Don’t Have Big Breasts, Put Ribbons on Your Pigtails: and Other Lessons I Learned from My Mom (2003)
  • Nextville: Amazing Places to Live Your Life (2008)
  • Shark Tales: How I turned $1000 into a Billion Dollar Business (2011)
  • Creating a Business You’ll Love: Top Entrepreneurs Share Their Secrets (2012)

Barbara’s other money-making activities are:

  • Real estate contributor to NBC’s TODAY Show
  • Columnist for More Magazine, New York Daily News, Redbook, and The Daily Review
  • Guest appearances on a variety of media outlets, including CNN’s Larry King Live
  • Contestant on Dancing with the Stars in 2017
  • Product endorsements such as Paycom, Amazon Kindle, Zebit, American Express, and AFLAC
  • Appearances as herself on television shows such as Drop Dead Diva and Grace and Frankie

What does Barbara Corcoran do with her money?

Through Shark Tank, Barbara has invested in more than 80 companies, and she has a reputation for being the most generous shark investor. For the 2022 holiday season, she took her staff out on a New York City shopping spree, visiting Saks Fifth Avenue and Tiffany & Co. 

Other ways Barbara spends her fortune include:

  • Purchased a 2,700-square-foot apartment in a co-op building on Park Avenue for $3.5 million in 2001.
  • Purchased a Park Avenue penthouse on the Upper East Side of Manhattan for $13 million in 2015.
  • Threw herself a lavish mock funeral for her 70th birthday in 2019. She reportedly popped out of a coffin in a red Carolina Herrera gown to the Diana Ross song "I'm Alive!" 

Barbara Corcoran’s Role on Shark Tank

As one of the original shark investors on Shark Tank, Barbara has made 130 deals on the show. Her largest investment was $350,000 for 40% of Coverplay. She earns a reported $50,000 for appearing in each Shark Tank episode. From her Shark Tank investments, she has earned over $53 million in recent years. 

Barbara’s most successful Shark Tank investments include:

  • Fidgetland
  • Press Waffle Co.
  • Ski-Z
  • Cousins Maine Lobster
  • The Dough Bar
  • HireSanta
  • Grace & Lace
  • Pipcorn
  • Modern Christmas Trees
  • Nardo’s Naturals
  • Daisy Cakes

Barbara’s $50,000 investment in the start-up company The Comfy is reportedly her most lucrative deal. Today, her stake in the company is approximately $27 million

Barbara Corcoran Quotes

As a motivational and inspirational speaker, Barbara loves to tell her personal story of success and provide real estate and business advice to hopeful entrepreneurs. Here are some of her best quotes:

  • “Don’t you dare underestimate the power of your own instinct.” - Barbara Corcoran
  • “A complainer is like a Death Eater because there’s a suction of negative energy. You catch a great attitude from great people.” - Barbara Corcoran
  • “The best time to expand is when people are asleep at the wheel.” - Barbara Corcoran
  • “The difference between successful people and others is how long they spend time feeling sorry for themselves.” - Barbara Corcoran
  • “Good leaders are not born; they are people who try hard to be exceptional." - Barbara Corcoran
  • “Just go for it. You don’t want to end up with regret.” - Barbara Corcoran
  • “The joy is in getting there. The beginning years of starting your business, the camaraderie when you’re in the pit together, are the best years of your life. So rather than being focused on when you get big and powerful, if you can just get the juice out of that…don’t miss it.” - Barbara Corcoran
  • "Procrastination is the enemy of success, and the guilt of not doing something always steals your energy." - Barbara Corcoran


Did Shark Tank Barbara have a stroke?

Although there have been several online reports that Barbara suffered a stroke, which left her unable to walk and talk, she has never confirmed this medical condition. 

How did Barbara Corcoran become rich?

Barbara first amassed her wealth by selling her real estate business, The Corcoran Group, for $66 million in 2001. Since then, she has increased her net worth through her role as an investor on Shark Tank, book deals and sales, motivational speaking engagements, television show guest appearances, as a contestant on Dancing with the Stars, and from her podcasts and magazine columns. 

What business does Barbara Corcoran own?

Barbara founded The Corcoran Group, which she sold in 2001. She now owns Barbara Corcoran Inc, an entertainment company based in New York City.

How much is Barbara worth?

Barbara Corcoran’s net worth is estimated at $100 million.

Do the sharks get paid?

Shark investors on the reality show Shark Tank earn a reported $50,000 per episode. 

How many Shark Tank deals fail?

The Shark Tank failure rate is approximately 6%--much lower than the typical 70% new company failure rate. 

The biggest Shark Tank investment failures have included:

  • ToyGaroo
  • ShowNo Towels
  • Sweet Ballz
  • Body Jac
  • CATEapp
  • Breathometer
  • You Smell Soap

Who turned down $30 million on Shark Tank?

The start-up business Coffee Meets Bagel, an online dating service, declined shark investor Mark Cuban’s offer to invest $30 million. The three sisters who founded the company came to Shark Tank, asking for $500,000 for 5% of their company and valued it at $10 million. Sisters Arum, Dawoon, and Soo Kang gave the reason for their rejection of Cuban’s offer: “We know the true value of Coffee Meets Bagel. It’s a lot bigger than $30 million, and to sell now, I think that would be selling ourselves too short.” 

What was the most successful product turned down on Shark Tank?

Ring, the company that introduced a smart home doorbell, is the most successful Shark Tank reject. Product creator Jamie Siminoff left his episode of the series without an investment–although he had invested $10,000 in his Shark Tank presentation. However, his product now brings in approximately $577 million annually.

Other Shark Tank rejects that went on to become successful products include:

  • Copa di Vino - single-serve wine in a plastic container
  • Kodiak Cakes - protein-heavy whole grain pancake mix
  • Hammer and Nails - male salon franchise
  • BedJet - fast-cooling fan system for under-the-bed sheets
  • Xero Shoes - Minimalist shoes and sandals for barefoot running
  • The Lip Bar - vegan, paraben-free, gluten-free lipsticks

What was the biggest flop on Shark Tank?

One of the biggest flops on Shark Tank was the toy company, Toygaroo. Dubbing itself the “Netflix of Toys,” the business allowed customers to rent toys every month. In 2011, sharks Mark Cuban and Kevin O’Leary invested $200,000 for 35% control of the company. Toygaroo filed for Chapter 7 in April 2012–just one year after receiving the investment, and closed permanently in 2016.


Barbara Cocoran started with very little and turned a loan of $1,000 into $66 million. She had countless hardships, including dyslexia, growing up in poverty, and a cheating boyfriend, but she kept working hard and rose above it all to achieve her impressive $100 million net worth. 

Barbara continues to live her life generously and offers endless business advice to others. Perhaps her most impactful piece of advice? “Taking chances almost always makes for happy endings." Barbara took a chance, went after her dreams, and made them happen. She didn't let anything or anyone stop her. 

Now it’s your turn.

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