The Guilt of Filing Bankruptcy: Famous Bankruptcy Filers

Almost everyone that I speak to about filing bankruptcy feels they have done something wrong and they feel guilty that they have to file bankruptcy. I understand this feeling because I also felt this way before I filed bankruptcy in 2005. Before I went to law school and before I opened up the LaVelle Law Offices, I filed for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. I remember feeling guilty that I had made these promises to creditors to pay them back and now I was not going to. I felt ashamed that I would have to tell my family and friends that I filed for Bankruptcy. It was going to be on my public record like a Scarlet Letter!

Then I did some research into who else had filed for bankruptcy and let me tell you one fact that made me feel better: 4 US Presidents have filed for Bankruptcy. If you include the current President’s business bankruptcies, that makes five US presidents that have filed for bankruptcy. THERE HAVE ONLY BEEN 45 PRESIDENTS. That means that over 10% of the Presidents of the United States have filed for Bankruptcy. Greater than 1 in 10 US PRESIDENTS had to do the same thing I was going to do.
The truth is, becoming financially insolvent is just something that happens in a Capitalist economy. Many famous people have filed for bankruptcy; many successful business people have filed for bankruptcy; heck, lots of city governments have filed for bankruptcy. The Capital T truth is, that it can only take a few wrong turns or a few unlucky breaks to fall behind on bills, and when you do, the banks are not going to be here to catch you or anyone else. We bail out the banks, not the other way around.

So I want to give you a partial list of people (and a few cities) you might recognize, who have made a few wrong turns and have filed for bankruptcy:

Abraham Lincoln
Walt Disney
Henry Ford
Larry King
George Foreman
Milton Hershey (the chocolatier)
Francis Ford Coppola
Mark Twain
PT Barnum
Henry Heinz
PT Barnum
Kim Basinger
Willie Nelson
Terrel Owens
Warren Sap
Vine Neil
Nicolas cage
Johnny Unitas
Dave Ramsey
Cyndi Lauper
Elton John
The City of Detroit
The City of Vallejo
The City of Stockton

You can see there are some very interesting people on that list. None of the people on that list are defined by their bankruptcy or financial missteps…and neither are you or I. We made a couple of wrong turns, a few things happened that were unfortunate financially, but there is an amazing tool called Bankruptcy that has helped me get a fresh start and now my offices can help you get a fresh start as well.