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Post-bankruptcy success stories: Celebrities who bounced back

Many of us are familiar with the stories of famous people who got rich and then seemingly "lost it all," declaring bankruptcy and tanking financially. Some of the best known are entertainers, business leaders and politicians.

But how much do we know about the ones who bounced back from financial troubles and achieved "success"? A recent Forbes story highlighted nine famous individuals who were able to amass wealth after declaring bankruptcy.

Some of the usual suspects -- and newer faces

Nobody is immune to financial problems. Some of these well-known filers appear regularly in celebrity bankruptcy articles, but a few may come as a surprise to you. According to Forbes, these individuals regenerated wealth after being in serious financial trouble:

  1. Abraham Lincoln, who experienced an unfortunate business failure at a young age -- and who did not file for bankruptcy, which did not exist, per se, in the early 1800s, but who was required to repay creditors over a 17-year period.
  2. Walt Disney, whose animation company filed for bankruptcy in 1921, after losing funding, but who was worth a reported $5 billion when he died in 1966. 
  3. Rapper MC Hammer, who spent beyond his means while trying to support a sizable entourage. 
  4. Heavyweight boxing champion George Foreman, who filed for bankruptcy in 1983 but in 1998 sold his interest in an eponymous grilling machine for $138 million.
  5. Singer/songwriter Cyndi Lauper, who filed for bankruptcy early in her career when her band was unsuccessful.
  6. Pop star Elton John, who seems to have landed in trouble with overspending before bouncing back to a nine-figure net worth.
  7. Country music icon Willie Nelson, who at one point owed millions to the IRS.
  8. Circus man P.T. Barnum, who experienced many setbacks, including the loss of property due to fires and various debt problems.
  9. Personal-finance teacher Dave Ramsey, who as a young man declared bankruptcy due to over-leveraged real estate investments. 

 So, how does this apply to me?

Why do we blog about these celebrities? Because we think bankruptcy success stories are inspirational. We want readers to take courage and get help if they are struggling financially. Bankruptcy may or may not be right for you, but it is important to find out by consulting an attorney.

If you feel overwhelmed with debt and you're considering bankruptcy as a solution, you don't need to feel ashamed. You DO need to take action and learn from the experience, just like the nine people listed above. Your goals and dreams do not have to be crushed by financial setbacks.

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