The Bernie Madoff ponzi scheme rocked the world. But there have been quite a few people who have lost massive fortunes that they made during their lifetimes. I will be focusing on the more famous ones in this post.
The third president of the United States and one of our Founding Fathers died deeply in debt. Jefferson owed $107,000 at the time of his death and this was a massive amount in 1826. All of Jefferson's possessions including his Monticello estate were put on auction to pay his debt.
Ulysses S. Grant
It seems like presidential pensions were introduced for a reason as we have another president who died with nothing to his name. Ulysses S. Grant left office in 1877 and failed at his business ventures which included a New York investment firm and a railroad business.
Mark Twain's writing and quotes will live forever, but it is a little-known fact that he had a ton of financial troubles during his lifetime. Creditors would chase him for years and he had to file for bankruptcy and prudently transfer his copyrights to his wife's name. Twain went on a speaking tour in 1895 and eventually paid of all his debts.
I thought it should be only appropriate to include a couple of people who used their failures to go on to greater successes. Detroit Automobile was started by a young engineer and went bust after two years. The same entrepreneur - Henry Ford - became a household name when he went on to start Ford Motor and incorporated the assembly line.
Never give up is the moral of the story. H.J. Heinz tried his hand in business with horseradish sauce and this went nowhere and left him with loans to repay. He duly repaid these loans and founded a ketchup company that is worth nearly $18 billion today.