Rich People Who Were Once Bankrupt

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In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, millions emigrated from Europe. Many of them did so in order to escape their creditors. The United States (U.S.) provided a safe haven from Europe’s overbearing creditors, debtors’ prisons and oppressive rules which acted as a restraint on new business ventures. The consequences of these rules were to induce a real fear of failure, which served to restrain entrepreneurship, risk taking and, thus, innovation.

The U.S. did not want to make the same mistake as Europe. So, in an effort to encourage entrepreneurship and innovation, the U.S. introduced a novel legal remedy – bankruptcy laws.

These bankruptcy laws allowed entrepreneurs who failed, a “fresh start”. Entrepreneurs could then learn from their mistakes, make adjustments, and start over. This encouraged entrepreneurship in the U.S.

Many individuals who ultimately became very wealthy, took advantage of these bankruptcy laws. And many thriving companies, they founded, did too. In fact, many of the companies on the lest below still employ millions of people around the world. You might recognize a few names:

  • Ford Motor Corporation
  • General Motors
  • The Texas Rangers
  • Marvel Comics
  • The Chicago Cubs
  • Trump Entertainment Resorts
  • Sbarro
  • Six Flags Entertainment
  • Texaco
  • American Airlines
  • United Airlines
  • Delta Airlines
  • US Airways
  • Friendly’s
  • Eddie Bauer
  • Walt Disney
  • Milton Hershey
  • H. J. Heinz
  • P.T. Barnum
  • Larry King
  • Mark Twain
  • George Foreman
  • Bob Guccione
  • Clarence Saunders (Piggly Wiggly)
  • Francis Ford Coppala
  • Wayne Newton
  • Stan Lee (Marvel Comics)
  • Jerry Lee Lewis (Hall of Fame Rock Star)

Taking risks, making mistakes and failing are all part of the entrepreneurial process.

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Thomas C. Corley About Thomas C. Corley

Tom Corley is a bestselling author, speaker, and media contributor for Business Insider, CNBC and a few other national media outlets.

His Rich Habits research has been read, viewed or heard by over 50 million people in 25 countries around the world.

Besides being an author, Tom is also a CPA, CFP, and hold a master’s degree in taxation. As president of Cerefice and Company, CPAs, Tom heads one of the premier financial firms in New Jersey.
 
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