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For most Americans, one of the most dreaded experiences is declaring bankruptcy. But what many people fear more than the financial repercussions is the social stigma: the sense of feeling like a failure or looking foolish.

But the reality is that bankruptcy can and does happen to anyone, including some of the most competent, accomplished, and respectable men and women in history. Here is just a small sampling of the many famous and admirable people who have to declare bankruptcy at least once in their lives:

Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States.

Charles Goodyear, the inventor of vulcanized rubber, after whom the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company is named.

Henry Ford, leading industrialist and founder of the Ford Motor Company.

Mark Twain, aka Samuel Clemens, the author of “Huckleberry Finn,” “Tom Sawyer,” and other classics.

Walt Disney, the visionary animator and businessman.

Thomas Paine, one of America’s Founding Fathers.

Ulysses S. Grant, American Civil War general and later President.

Rembrandt, the Dutch painter who is among the most famous artists in history.

Oskar Schindler, the German industrialist who saved thousands from the Holocaust.

Clearly, declaring bankruptcy had little to do with these individuals’ character or lack of success – in fact, all of them ended up accomplishing many great things in their lives.

Plenty of successful corporations have filed for bankruptcy, too: 7-11, the best-known convenience store in America; Toys R Us, the second-largest toy retailer in the country; Days Inn, a global hotel chain with over 1,900 hotels in 12 countries; General Motors, one of the largest automobile manufacturers in the world; and Macys, the most iconic department store in the country.

All of these firms are still around, if not thriving – clearly, having to deal with bankruptcy isn’t as dreadful as many people think. Tough times come to everyone, especially the most ambitious and hardworking. In fact, the restructuring process offered by bankruptcy is an excellent opportunity to deal with financial troubles.

Hiring a Fort Lauderdale Bankruptcy Attorney is vital to ensure that this process runs as smoothly and optimally as possible. By the same token, Foreclosure Defense Fort Lauderdale is vital to ensure your financial and legal rights are defended. There’s certainly no shame in that.