If you are considering the serious financial option of bankruptcy, you may be plagued with outdated stereotypes about what it means to go bankrupt. While there can sometimes be a serious stigma attached, this is foolish: quite a few wildly successful businessmen and even Presidents have gone bankrupt in their time. While it’s not the most ideal financial situation to find yourself in, you may be in quite good company. Here’s a look of some major figures who might have understood what you’re going through.
- PT Barnum: While your financial life may feel like something of a circus, just imagine how now-famous tycoon Barnum looked to his potential backers when he owed more than half a million dollars to creditors in the 1800s—a seemingly insurmountable amount of debt for that day and age. Over five years, he worked to pull himself out of debt by giving lectures across England, and finally entered the circus when he was over 60 years old. It was a smash success, but would never have been possible if he hadn’t slowly but surely dug himself out of debt earlier in life. This is a prime example of a thrilling second act!
- Walt Disney: Another of America’s favorite entertainers, Walt Disney’s first studio film company went bankrupt! His studio was cheated by a distributor and forced young Disney to leave Kansas for Hollywood, and five years after bankruptcy he doodled a little mouse he called Mickey.
- Milton Hershey: The famed chocolatier’s first candy shop in Philadelphia went under after six years, and a second attempt in New York also gained no traction. He eventually returned home to Lancaster, where he founded the Lancaster Caramel Company, which he then sold for a million dollars to create his own perfect milk chocolate formula. His initial stores’ failures have long been forgotten due to his later success.
- HJ Heinz: Heinz tomato ketchup is now an American staple; no backyard barbecue or picnic would be complete without it. But before he was successful, he had a bankrupt horseradish company that he had founded at the age of 25. However, he and his brother quickly picked up to the next big venture—which turned out to be ketchup, and we are so very glad they didn’t give up at bankruptcy. The Heinz Company is still a multi-billion dollar company.
- Abraham Lincoln: Where would we be without Honest Abe? As a young man, Lincoln owned a general store that went bankrupt and gave him debts that he was paying off for over a decade. Other major presidents who have gone bankrupt include Ulysses S. Grant, William McKinley, and Thomas Jefferson—who filed multiple times!
So as you can see, if you’re looking towards filing for bankruptcy, it’s nothing to be ashamed of, and certainly not the end-all be-all of your career. The most important takeaway from these examples is that they all continued producing and working, and were able to build themselves up much higher than they ever had been before the bankruptcy. To determine if this is the best option for you, call me, Michael Alan Siddons, today at (610) 255-7500 for a free consultation.