6 Millionaires Who Lost It All, but Came Back

Just because you’ve attained wealth doesn’t mean you’ll keep it.

Just because you’ve attained wealth doesn’t mean you’ll keep it. In 2011, the number of millionaire households in the U.S. dropped by nearly 2.5% (from 5,263,000 in 2010 to 5,134,000 in 2011), according to The Boston Consulting Group, a global management consulting firm.

Even the richest of the rich aren’t immune from sudden -- and complete -- plunges in net worth. The big names we’ve rounded up here, from Olympic gold medalist Dorothy Hamill to financial businessman Bill Bartmann, all filed for bankruptcy at one point, falling into the same money-draining traps that can cost us all: poor budgeting, loose spending habits, failed business ventures, even extending too much financial support to friends and family. They’ve managed to rebuild their professional and financial lives. Here’s how they did it.

EDITOR’S NOTE: A previous version of this slideshow included a slide, based on a respected news source, reporting that the musician Elton John had filed for bankruptcy in 2002. Although that claim circulates widely on the Web, we have since learned that it is false. Elton John has not filed for bankruptcy. We regret the error.

We attempted to contact all of the people mentioned for an interview; however, some declined to comment.

Andrea Browne Taylor
Online Editor, Kiplinger.com
Browne Taylor joined Kiplinger in 2011 and is a channel editor for Kiplinger.com covering living and family finance topics. She previously worked at the Washington Post as a Web producer in the Style section and prior to that covered the Jobs, Cars and Real Estate sections. She earned a BA in journalism from Howard University in Washington, D.C.