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    If you think filing bankruptcy means you are a failure, you NEED to read this!

    Unfortunately, for most people bankruptcy is wrongly associated with failure. This incorrect association is only furthered by news reports of "rise and fall" bankruptcy stories of well known corporations or celebrities (such as GM or Donald Trump). What you don’t usually hear about are the well known people who filed (or needed to file) bankruptcy, and how getting some type of debt relief actually helped them eventually become famous. Given the common misconceptions about bankruptcy and the people who file them, we wanted to share the stories of a few well known people and their not so well known history with bankruptcy and debt. The following are the stories of once "regular" people who had debts they couldn’t repay (most of whom filed bankruptcies):

    Abraham Lincoln – Long before he was president or a politician, Lincoln was an entrepreneur. Fortunately for this Country, Lincoln was far better as president of the Country than he was of his company. Having gone into debt to buy a general store, and even deeper in debt to buy out a competing store, Lincoln and his partner had everything they needed, except one thing… paying customers. Unable to repay creditors with bartered goods, Lincoln’s store (called “Berry and Lincoln”) quickly went out of business, Lincoln found himself being sued by creditors and even had his horse “repossessed” by the sheriff. In need of a job, Lincoln ran for state legislature. Unfortunately for Lincoln, there were no bankruptcy laws at the time, and Lincoln was essentially a slave to his creditors, struggling to repay his debts for nearly two decades… even as a member of Congress.


    Walt Disney – Long before the name Mickey Mouse was a household name, Walt Disney was a struggling filmmaker growing deeper and deeper in debt. Armed with a used camera, Disney and his partner began making short films and cartoons in Kansas City, Kansas in 1922. After having been cheated out of a promising distribution deal, Disney couldn’t keep up with his overhead and operating expenses, and eventually filed for bankruptcy in 1923. Determined to succeed, and free of debt, Disney left Kansas behind and headed to Hollywood. While Disney had some creations of limited success in the years immediately following filing bankruptcy, it was Disney’s introduction of a certain mouse in the short cartoon “Steamboat Willie” in 1928 that marked the beginning of Disney’s success.



    Milton Hershey – Ever the dreamer, after four years as an apprentice to a candy maker, and without any formal education, Milton Hershey opened his first candy shop in Philadelphia in 1876. After six years unsuccessfully trying to sell his sweets in Philadelphia and also New York City, Hershey’s business went sour, and Hershey went back home to Lancaster Pennsylvania. It was back home in Pennsylvania where Hershey pioneered the use of milk in caramel production, and formed the Lancaster Caramel Company. Hershey later sold the Lancaster Caramel Company for an estimated $1 million and found even sweeter success pursuing a perfect milk chocolate formula, perhaps you’ve heard of Hershey’s Chocolate?



    Henry Ford – Ever the perfectionist, two years after Henry Ford started the Detroit Automobile Company, Ford’s factory had only made 20 cars. Faced with little sales, and mounting debt, Henry Ford filed for bankruptcy protection in 1901. Things took a positive U-turn rather quickly for Ford, as just another two years later Ford founded a company you might have heard of... Ford Motor Company!