Wealth

Barbara Corcoran says people get 2 things wrong about being rich: ‘I’m no happier today than I was when I was dirt poor’

People say money can’t buy happiness. And Barbara Corcoran, star of ABC’s “Shark Tank” and real estate entrepreneur, would say those people are absolutely right. 

“I​​’m not going to use that cliché and say, ‘money doesn’t buy happiness,’ but it’s true,” Corcoran tells CNBC Make It. 

Corcoran says being rich cannot — and will never — be able to buy joy. “I know, because I’ve been poor. And I’ve been rich. And I’ve been in between. So I can speak to both.”

Corcoran earned straight Ds in high school and college, according to her website. By the time she turned 23, she had held around 20 jobs. But a $1,000 loan allowed her to start the tiny real estate business that would launch her career.

Today, the Corcoran Group — which she sold for $66 million in 2001 — is a global real estate firm that has had immense success.

To Corcoran, there are two major misconceptions people have about being rich: money brings happiness and money doesn’t corrupt relationships. Here’s a look at why she says neither are true.

Misconception No. 1: Money can buy happiness

“The problem with being rich is you can get richer,” Corcoran says. “You start looking toward the next thing that money’s gonna buy.”

This leads to what Corcoran calls the greed fallacy: “The greed fallacy is there are as many miserable rich people as there are miserable poor people. Money has nothing to do with being happier. It really doesn’t.”

Despite her success as founder of the Corcoran Group and diverse investment portfolio thanks to her time on “Shark Tank,” Corcoran says money has not alleviated all of her problems. 

“I’m no happier today than I was when I was dirt poor. You think something would have changed? No, I’m still insecure about the same things. I’m still nervous about the same things.” 

Corcoran says that being extremely rich is not the end-all-be-all. The happiest people, she says, are those who are in between rich and poor. ”They’re always happiest because they’re not always chasing the next thing.”

For the majority of people, wellbeing and happiness increase with income, recent research from the University of Pennsylvania finds. Yet, more money can only take you so far, particularly if your life is lacking in other areas. 

Misconception No. 2: Money doesn’t change relationships

The second major misconception about being rich is the way money corrupts relationships, Corcoran says. It changes the dynamics between those with money and those without.

“Money complicates relationships,” Corcoran says. “Everybody’s got a $10,000 problem. They always come to you. It complicates things, your kids’ wills, it just complicates things.”

That’s especially true for those who come into a “life-changing” amount of money at a point in their lives, Susan Bradley, a certified financial planner and the founder of Sudden Money Institute, previously told CNBC Make It.

“It stirs up beliefs and value systems, which, maybe have been there all along, but you didn’t have the opportunity to talk about them,” she said. 

Having money comes with the supposed responsibility to help out or invest in friends, family and others in your circle.

“My cousin wants some money for this, my uncle wants me to invest in their business. That dynamic happens all the time. You have cousins you’ve never heard of showing up at your door,” certified financial planner and financial psychology professor at Creighton University Brad Klontz told CNBC Make It

For Corcoran, the bottom line is that for those with a lot of money, things are not necessarily easier.

Would she give the money up in exchange for having easier relationships, though? Definitely not. ”When you don’t have a lot of money, things run smoother. But I still am happy to have a lot of money. Ironically, I don’t know why that is.” 

“I’m not giving the money back,” Corcoran jokes. 

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

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