It Can Happen to Anyone

Facing Financial Difficulties

It Can Happen to Anyone

An individual facing financial difficulty often feels like he or she is the only one having money problems. There is a reluctance to take legal action (be it a proposal to creditors or bankruptcy) because of feelings of embarrassment or failure.

What many don’t realize is that several people, including famous businessmen and celebrities, have faced similar financial difficulties. For example:

Henry John Heinz, 1844-1919, condiment manufacturer, started his company in 1869 selling horseradish, pickles, sauerkraut and vinegar. In 1875 the company filed for bankruptcy because it could not meet its payroll obligations. Heinz restarted his business and introduced a new condiment, tomato ketchup to the market. This product and company has become a household name and continues to operate successfully to this day.

Milton Hershey, 1857-1945, founder of Hershey’s chocolate, started four candy companies that failed and filed bankruptcy before starting what is now Hershey’s Foods Corporation. Persistence paid off as his fifth attempt was successful. Hershey’s chocolate is worldwide brand and his company continues to operate successfully.

Henry Ford, 1863-1947, automobile manufacturer, the first of Ford’s companies filed for bankruptcy and the second ended because of a disagreement with his business partner. He went on to create a third company, the Ford Motor Company which subsequently became, for a time, the largest car manufacturer in the world.

Kim Basinger, 1953- , actress, was sued for breach of contract for pulling out of the movie, “Boxing Helena”. She was not able to pay the damages resulting from the lawsuit and filed for bankruptcy in 1993. She later married Alec Baldwin, had a child and won an Oscar for her role in the movie “L.A. Confidential”.

Walt Disney, 1901-1966, cartoon creator, filed for bankruptcy in 1920 stating that he could no longer pay his employees or the rent and had no choice but to file bankruptcy himself. In 1923 he formed a new company, created “Mickey Mouse” and the rest is history.

Larry King, 1933- , talk show host, filed for bankruptcy in 1960 and then again in 1978. He said each time that he was deep in debt.

Donald Trump, 1946- , businessman, US president, filed a Chapter 11 case for his New Jersey casinos in 2004 to reorganize his business after negotiations with his creditors failed. This was the second bankruptcy case for his casino business; in 1992 he had filed a Chapter 11 case for his Atlantic City casino business. Despite these setbacks, he is president of the United States.