| Read Time: 5 minutes | Bankruptcy

A Hawaii bankruptcy is a financial tool that thousands of ordinary people and families used to resolve their debt burdens. It is easy to think that financial struggles only affect the average person on the street. However, even millionaire entertainers use debt settlement solutions to save their finances.

It is entirely possible to have millions in the bank and owe millions in debt – it actually happens more often than you might think. As the money starts flowing in from lucrative film and music contracts, many celebrities spend like the good times will last forever, only to find themselves financially “underwater” months later. Some celebrities struggled with establishing a stable career, suffering through bankruptcy and financial hardship before finally finding the line of work that made them famous.

Wally Amos

As we know, life in paradise isn’t all mai-tais and frolicking in the surf. Living here can be expensive, and so can the cost of doing business. Nationally known Honolulu-based entrepreneur Wally Amos launched the “Famous Amos” brand in 1975. Subsequent financial troubles meant the sale of the company under Chapter 11. Has that stopped him from making a comeback? No way. Wally has recently launched WAMOS, showing life can still be sweet.

Dionne Warwick

Say a little prayer for this legendary Grammy award-winning singer. Due to tax debts to the IRS going back over 20 years, the singer filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Despite trying to work out a repayment agreement with the IRS, the money was only being applied to penalties and interest, not the principal amount of around $1 million. Under the bankruptcy code, some taxes were dischargeable because of their age.

Donald Trump

While the 45th President has never filed for personal bankruptcy, his companies have filed for bankruptcy four different times in 1991, 1992, 2004, and 2009. The first of these bankruptcies was certainly the most hectic for Trump, as he had guaranteed a business loan with his own personal wealth. When the business failed, he was forced to sell his yacht and private jet (tragic, we know), along with his shares in more profitable businesses.

Cyndi Lauper

Girls Just Wanna Have Funds! Early on in her career, Lauper was in the band Blue Angels. They released an album that flopped and their manager ended up suing them. With no money to pay her creditors, Cyndi filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. As we all know with this fresh start she went on to become an 80s pop icon.

Mark Twain

Yup, they had bankruptcy back in 1864. Twain was persuaded to invest in a kind of high-tech typewriter that promised to type faster than any human. Persuaded by the pitch, the writer put in $190,000 (!!!). Unfortunately, the machine never worked. With the creditors chasing him, Twain took off for Europe. After 9 years, Twain returned to the US and filed for bankruptcy at the age of 60. Twain embarked on a year-long, around-the-world lecture tour in July 1895 to pay off his creditors in full, although he was no longer under any legal obligation to do so.

Lenny Dykstra

For the former outfielder known as “Nails,” some bad moves hammered him into bankruptcy. At his height, the Mets player had a net worth of $58 million. At the lowest point, he was living in his car and hotel lobbies. Things only got worse when Lenny was charged with embezzling from the bankruptcy estate and pled guilty to bankruptcy fraud when it was proved he had hidden assets from the court.

Burt Reynolds

The Bandit took a dive in the late 90s. He had invested $15 million in a restaurant chain, prophetically called Po’Folks in the 70s. Between this poor investment, an expensive divorce, and a lack of acting offers, Reynolds filed for bankruptcy.

Thomas Jefferson

After writing the Declaration of Independence, he became the 3rd US President, negotiating the Louisiana Purchase and doubling the size of the United States. In spite of those great accomplishments, Thomas Jefferson lived most of his life in debt, dying while creditors were still hammering on his door. Like many modern victims, Jefferson borrowed from one bank to pay another and co-signed on a loan with his son-in-law, who then went bankrupt.

Abraham Lincoln

Even Honest Abe had his share of hard times. The man who would become the sixteenth president of the United States owned a dry goods store in southern Illinois in his early twenties. When the business’ debts began to overtake its revenue, Lincoln sold his share but became liable for the debts when his former business partner died. In court, his creditors took his remaining assets, and he still had to pay his debts until the 1840s.

Mike Tyson

At one point in time, Mike Tyson earned $30 million per fight. The memory of those days must have surely been bittersweet when he filed for bankruptcy in 2003, listing a total debt close to $23 million. The amount included $13 million in unsettled income tax liabilities and several hundred thousand owed to various business associates.

Warren Sapp

The former superstar defensive tackle was a Super Bowl champion and a legendary figure in the history of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. A series of bad business decisions, missed alimony payments and back tax payments left him $7 million dollars in the red with only $6.5 million in assets, causing him to file for bankruptcy in April 2012.

MC Hammer

At the height of his career, one of the most definitive hip-hop stars of the 1990s owned a $30 million mansion and traveled with a 200-person entourage. Six years later, his debts were close to $13 million, whereas his assets were worth “only” $9 million.

Willie Nelson

A country legend who handled his financial troubles in an equally legendary way, Willie Nelson settled $16.7 million to the IRS by making an album and sending the proceeds directly to the government. The IRS Tapes: Who’ll Buy My Memories? was a critical success and helped settle his tax debt.

Walt Disney

We don’t think of bankruptcy and the Happiest Place on Earth in the same sentence, but when a young Walt Disney lost the backing of a crucial investor, that’s exactly what he had to do. What would have happened if he had stopped there? No MagicKingdom, no Mickey?? Perish the thought. Walt Disney left for Hollywood with all of the things that he owned in the world; which were a pair of pants, a coat, one white shirt, two sets of underwear, two pairs of socks, and some salvaged drawing materials. He went to Hollywood, California, and started over.

Michael Vick

Vick was once at the very top of the NFL in terms of salary, and he was set to earn $130 million over ten years through a contract extension with the Atlanta Falcons when his infamous dogfighting controversy broke out in mid-2007. A year later, he was filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Take the First Step Towards Stability

Our Hawaii lawyer understands that hard times often fall upon responsible people. We are dedicated to helping ordinary families get their lives back on track and free from the worry and pain of financial difficulties. Everybody needs help sometimes – contact our office at (808) 518-4844 or fill out our questionnaire today, and start taking the first step towards a new financial life.


Author Photo

Blake Goodman received his law degree from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. in 1989 and has been exclusively practicing bankruptcy-related law in Texas, New Mexico, and Hawaii ever since. In the past, Attorney Goodman also worked as a Certified Public Accountant, receiving his license form the State of Maryland in 1988.

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