Many Famous (and Ostensibly Successful) People Have Filed for Bankruptcy
There’s an unfortunate stigma attached to the American bankruptcy laws—that the need to seek protection in bankruptcy is a telltale sign of financial mismanagement, irresponsibility or misbehavior. While those factors have likely contributed to many bankruptcy petitions, the mere fact that you need the protection of the bankruptcy laws is not a sign of failure. In fact, with many potential creditors, it can be perceived positively, showing that, instead of letting your situation get worse, you’re willing to take the necessary steps to get your finances under control.
As a testament to the real purpose of the bankruptcy process—to allow individuals and businesses to get a fresh start, consider some of the “successful” people throughout history who used the bankruptcy process to rebuild their lives:
- Abraham Lincoln—Our 16th president, considered by many historians to be the greatest, was a small shopkeeper before he became a lawyer. Lincoln and his business partner incurred substantial debt and essentially went bankrupt (there were no federal bankruptcy laws at the time), eventually repaying all creditors over a 17-year period.
- Walt Disney—Disney formed one of the first motion picture studios in 1920, at the ripe old age of 19. He had a financial back and hired a team of animators. Unfortunately, his back went broke before he could start generating any revenue and he was forced to file for bankruptcy protection just a year into his business career. Disney almost filed for protection again in 1937 when production costs for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs ballooned to $1.5 million, three times the amount budgeted. At the time of his death, in 1966, he had a net worth of about $5 billion.
- Dave Ramsey—One of the most famous and respected financial advisors in the world, Ramsey nearly lost his shirt when he over-invested in highly leveraged real estate in his late 20s. After emerging from bankruptcy, he started small, advising couples in local churches. His current estimated net worth–$55 million.
Contact Our Offices
At the Law Office of Andrew B. Finberg, LLC, we offer experienced bankruptcy counsel to individuals in Burlington, Camden and Gloucester counties in New Jersey. To schedule an appointment, call our office at 856-988-9055 (toll-free at 866-721-7269) or contact us online.