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Shark Tank’s ‘Mr. Wonderful’ on Teaching Kids About Money: ‘Put Their Noses In It, Like You’re Training a Puppy’

Kim Lachance Shandrow, Entrepreneur, Released on 9/24/14

Shark Tank star Kevin O’Leary, best known as “Mr. Wonderful,” told his kids early and often the cold, hard truth about money: It doesn’t grow on trees and it isn’t free. He’s also not leaving them any in his will.

“I put their nose in [money],” he told “It’s like training a puppy.”

The mutual funds magnate began teaching his son, Trevor, and his daughter, Savannah, the importance of respecting money at the tender age of 5, just as his mom did. (His mother also gave him a $10,000 seed investment to kickstart SoftKey International from his Toronto basement back in 1983. The firm, which eventually became The Learning Company, was bought by Mattel in 1998 for $3.6 billion, though it quickly proved to be a bad move for the toy maker.)

Teaching kids to be fiscally wise is a parental responsibility O’Leary takes very seriously and one he believes too many parents slack off on. “You have to introduce money into the family as a family member because it is. It’s a member of your family.”


Kevin O’Leary is a Canadian businessman, investor, and television personality. From his basement, he launched SoftKey Software Products and In 1999 Kevin sold his company to the Mattel Toy Company for a staggering 3.7 billion dollars, one of the largest deals ever done in the consumer software industry. To keep his money working hard, he took control of his wealth from his lackluster money managers and founded his own mutual fund company, O’Leary Funds. He raised hundreds of millions of dollars from investors who share his “get paid while you wait” yield oriented, value investing philosophy. He is a venture capitalist on the Canadian television show Dragons’ Den as well as a shark on the United States’ version of Dragons’ Den, Shark Tank, which airs on ABC. Kevin has authored 2 books: Cold Hard Truth: On Business, Money & Life and The Cold Hard Truth On Men, Women, and Money: 50 Common Money Mistakes and How to Fix Them.

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