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Is your Bank Account Half Full Or Half Empty?

September 9, 2011

It’s funny how perspective can shape reality. For instance, some debtors view a personal bankruptcy filing as the final step in a long road of financial failure. On the other hand, many others view bankruptcy as a first step on a road to financial stability and future success. Today let’s look at five individuals who took the latter perspective and used bankruptcy to build a better future for themselves.

Abraham Lincoln

During prosperous times in 1832, a young Abraham Lincoln bought a small general store in New Salem, Illinois with a partner. They used credit to stock the store, but despite the booming economy, the store suffered financial trouble. Creditors attacked Lincoln’s assets and the sheriff seized surveying equipment and his horse. Honest Abe spent the next 17 years repaying his creditors. In 1861 Lincoln became the 16th President of the United States.

Walt Disney

Disney formed an animation company, Laugh-O-Gram Studio, in 1920 with the financial backing of a New York investor. Unfortunately, the investor went broke and Disney was no longer able to pay his employees or his debts. Laugh-O-Gram Studio filed bankruptcy and Disney moved to California. There Disney made a fresh start and formed a new production company. He started producing animated shorts staring a mouse named Mickey. Today Disney’s company is worth about $76 billion.

Milton Snavely Hershey

Hershey’s early attempts at candy making were more bitter than sweet. His first two caramel companies filed bankruptcy. Hershey went on to pioneer the use of milk chocolate candy. Today the Hershey Company is worth just shy of a billion dollars.

Henry John Heinz

Like Hershey, Heinz had difficulty in his early business ventures. Heinz started a company making horseradish, and in 1827 the business went bankrupt. Heinz then went into business with his brother and cousin making ketchup. Today the H.J. Heinz Company is worth over a billion dollars.

Henry Ford

Henry Ford has gone down in history as one of this country’s greatest innovators and the first businessman to master assembly line production. However, Ford wasn’t always so successful in business. His first automobile manufacturing company filed bankruptcy. In June 1903, at the age of 40, he created another company and named it after himself. By July of 1903 his bank balance had dwindled to $223.65 and he was in danger of another financial collapse. Then he sold his first car. Today Ford Motor Company has a net worth of around $188 billion.

Bankruptcy did not stop these individuals from attaining stunning financial success. Neither did it stop Burt Reynolds, Donald Trump, Kim Bassinger, Larry King, Mark Twain, or P.T. Barnum – all who filed bankruptcy and went on to have great financial success. If you are struggling with personal debt and need relief, speak with an experienced attorney and see how the federal bankruptcy laws can provide you with a fresh financial start. Don’t let a financial problem define your whole life. Take charge today and build a better future for yourself and your family.


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