5 Successful People Who Bounced Back from Bankruptcy

As Pennsylvania bankruptcy attorneys we run into many people who are afraid bankruptcy is going to be the end of the world for them. We spend a lot of time calming people’s fears that life may never be the same. Most of the time, these fears have even caused them to wait way too long before filing.

In reality, bankruptcy’s ability to give you a fresh start can mean bouncing back stronger than ever, as long as you learn from your past financial mistakes. There are quite a few famous people out there whom you never would have heard of if it weren’t for bankruptcy. There are several more who made more money than you or I could ever dream of making who nevertheless ending up having to file.

Here are five people who bounced back after either a personal or a business bankruptcy.

Walt Disney

If you’re stressing about bankruptcy just remember the father of modern animation might have told you to “let it go” if he were alive today. Walt Disney had his own run-ins with financial failure, and we all know how that ended!

Before there was Mickey Mouse, there was Laugh-O-Gram, Disney’s dismal failure of a film making company. It didn’t even last a year before it went bankrupt.

Stan Lee

Marvel Comics filed for Chapter 11 in the year 2000, but you’d never know it now. If Lee had let bankruptcy get him down we wouldn’t be enjoying The Avengers, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Iron Man, and dozens of other titles hitting both the silver screen and prime time TV.

Willie Nelson

Momma, don’t let your babies end up in hot water with the IRS. Willie Nelson was forced to file personal bankruptcy after his tab with the IRS shot up to over $30 million dollars.


Nelson was able to laugh at himself, though, as the video above shows. He was also able to get his career and his financial life back on track. Numbers like this kind of makes the $137,063 amount of the average American debt seem a little more manageable!

See also: Does the IRS Hire Private Collection Agencies?

Dave Ramsey

In his book The Total Money Makeover, Dave Ramsey tells the tale of going from a high-flying professional who drove a Jaguar to a guy in a borrowed “bondo buggy” who couldn’t pay his electric bills. Though Ramsey is pretty negative about his bankruptcy experience overall one can’t deny he’s done well for himself in the aftermath.

Ramsey now has a net worth of $55 million dollars. He’s built his brand around the financial lessons he learned during the course of his own financial breakdown.

Donald Trump

Love him or hate him, one fact can’t be denied. Donald Trump made it all the way to the highest office in America after filing for bankruptcy a total of four times. The fact that this didn’t even begin to slow his meteoric rise to the top certainly helps to demonstrate bankruptcy just doesn’t carry the same sort of stigma our clients are often afraid of.

Trump speaks of using Chapter 11 as a business tool, and on this count he’s not wrong. Any form of bankruptcy, including a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, is ultimately just a business tool. Major corporations who make more money than most people could ever dream of seeing certainly turn it to their advantage. Shouldn’t you?

Of course, you might not become a famous billionaire after filing for bankruptcy.

We’re not trying to say bankruptcy is a path to fortune and fame. We’re just pointing out that some household names have been through the process and have emerged stronger than ever.

If you’ve been waiting to file bankruptcy because you’re afraid it’s going to ruin your life, take a deep breath and call us. During your free consultation we can tell you how your life stands to look better than its looked in awhile because you were courageous enough to start exploring this legal, fully ethical financial remedy…just like other smart, talented people in the world have done in the past.

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