As the famous saying goes, “The brightest flame burns the quickest“. There are plenty of successful entrepreneurs who quickly rise to financial success, only to lose everything just as abruptly.
Life in the fast lane is not without its speed bumps, and here are some of the people who went from rags to riches – and then vice-versa.
The Millionaires & Billionaires Who Lost It All
1. Jordan Belfort
The once was Multi-Millionaire stockbroker had it all. Yachts, planes, women, midget throwing parties & drugs where just a few of the high life activities on Jordans agenda. Jordan was reported to be making $250 Million at the age of 25 through his stockbroking firm Stratton Oakmont which functioned like a boiler room and later served as inspiration for the creation of the film also known as ‘Boiler Room‘, starring Vin Diesel & Giovanni Ribisi. Jordan Belfort’s multi millions where stripped from him when the FBI pinned him for securities fraud and money laundering.
After Jordan Belforts release from jail and paying back the 100 millions of dollars he owed other stock brokers Jordan decided to turn his life around releasing the New York Best Seller ‘Catching The Wolf Of Wall Street‘ which was written by Jordan himself about his Wall Street sagas and his run ins with the law. This Book has been developed into a movie which will be directed by Martin Scorsese starring Leonardo DiCaprioas Jordan Belfort. Jordan also has toured the world discussing how to achieve success without sacrificing integrity and ethics.
The lesson here is that there is always room for change, if Jordan can change his life for the good, you can too.
2. Kim Dotcom
This German internet millionaire is most popularly known as the founder of Megaupload, an online file sharing service. Kim Dotcom’s fall from grace isn’t really because of bad business decisions as much as he was involved in a lot of suspected criminal activities. While his website is being accused of copyrightinfringement, he’s also been charged with insider trading, embezzlement, and computer fraud. The problem with Kim is not only that he couldn’t handle his rock star lifestyle, but also the fact that he amassed his fortune through suspected illegal means.
UPDATE: Kim Dotcom has returned with a more legit way of sharing with his new online company MEGA. We will keep you updated with his progress. Good on you Kim for having another go and doing things right.
3. Allen Stanford
Currently in jail and awaiting trial, this former billionaire was charged with running a multi-billion dollar Ponzi Scheme. Having acted as the Chairman of Stanford Financial Group, he’s been accused of masterminding a financial conspiracy to rob investors out of their hard-earned money and misused their funds to sustain his extravagant lifestyle. Like Kim Dotcom, he tried living the good life at the expense of others and is now reaping the consequences of his actions. As of today, Allen Stanford is taking a number of medications for his depression and is even partially blind after an inmate assaulted him.
4. M.C. Hammer
MC Hammer rose to fame in the 1990s and earned around $30 Million during the peak of his musical career. Shortly after his success, M.C. Hammer wasted no time squandering his fortune on mansions, sharing money with friends and expensive toys. Before the decade was over, he filed for bankruptcy due to an enormous debt. He’s a classic example of someone earning his wealth too fast and too soon, which made it hard for him to handle his finances. Now living as a pastor in California, he learned the hard way that one should learn from their mistakes and consider the consequences of a decision before making it.
5. Sean Quinn
Only a few years ago, this Irish businessman was worth $6 Billion. However, he quickly lost it all after he invested twenty five percent (25%) in Anglo Irish Bank. However, his mistake was to use money he borrowed from his own insurance company. When a financial crisis swept his country, his Anglo Irish shares suffered and caused him billions in debt. What people can learn from Sean Quinn’s example is that itís alright to take risks only if youíve done your homework to avoid getting burned after taking the plunge.
6. Patricia Kluge
She’s the wife of the late John Kluge who was worth billions himself during the late 90s. Following their divorce in 1990, Patricia Kluge began to market a 960-acre vineyard that was supposed to appeal to an ultra-rich clientele. She loaned close to $70 million just to put up facilities, but eventually the real estate crisis in the late 2000s caused her venture to fail and the property foreclosed. The lesson to remember here is that successful entrepreneurs shouldnít put all their eggs in one basket. Otherwise, you can easily lose everything in one swift stroke.
7. Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson
Hailing from Iceland, this former billionaire saw his net worth dwindle down to zero after he and his son/business partner Thor got hit by the credit crisis in their country. They were major shareholders in a bank called Landsbankiñ when it went under, so did their assets. Like some of the others on this list, Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson too was involved in illegal activities such as fraud and embezzlement in the past.Karma is b!tch, aint it!
8. George Foreman
This heavyweight champion became riddled with financial woes when his boxing career lost steam in the late 70s. Naturally, the money stopped coming in and he became overwhelmed with credit card debt and unpaid loans. Fortunately for George Foreman, he bounced back from his situation by getting back in the ring as well as investing in the popular TV shopping product called the Foreman Grill.
9. Johnny Unitas
This legendary quarterback earned hundreds of thousands of dollars at a time because of his unmatched prowess on the field. He starred in professional football before salaries were measured in millions. His yearly contracts ranged from $7,000, his first in 1956 with the Colts, to $250,000 plus a $175,000 bonus in his last one with the San Diego Chargers in 1973. Johnny Unitas put his money into the different industries he dabbled in, such as real estate, restaurants, and manufacturing. Unfortunately, these businesses failed and they were forced to file for bankruptcy by the 90s. He died 11 years later with a lawsuit from his estate hanging over all of his businesses.
10. Scott Eyre
Scott Eyre was a former pitcher for the MLB and played for likes of theToronto Blue Jays and Chicago Cubs. He was one of Allen Stanford’s victims who invested in his fraudulent billion-dollar scheme which cost Scott almost all of his money. As such, he is proof that we shouldn’t invest in something until we’ve thoroughly assessed the risks as well as the person or entity behind it. Steve Jobs once said that perfectly normal folks can turn into ‘bizarro people’ when they suddenly come upon wealth.
Indeed, losing control and common sense is one of the biggest risks that successful entrepreneurs face. Rich people are human and therefore just as fallible as everyone else. If you don’t want to share the same fate as them, make sure to exercise financial intelligence by either learning about it yourself or consulting with someone who can help you use sound judgment. Just because you have piles of cash, it doesn’t automatically mean you already know how to handle it properly. Don’t fall prey to materialism. Money is fleeting, and you may not be able to afford the finer things in life if you take a hit tomorrow. This is why you should always make a conscious effort to live within your means and hold off buying something until you’ve thought it through.