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Before, or after, serving in the highest Governmental position in the United States,
4 of our previous presidents experienced personal or business bankruptcy.
Thomas Jefferson, 1826. Tobacco was the primary source of income for Thomas through most of his life. The price of tobacco rarely reached levels that could provide Mr. Jefferson with enough money to achieve wealth. He often sold poultry, sheep and cattle to feed and clothe his family. At his death, his remaining property was sold to settle the debts of his estate.
Abraham Lincoln, Bankrupt, 1832. Lincoln and a business partner were never able to earn a profit with their dry goods store. When his partner died, Abraham became liable for a $1,000 debt, secured by both of them. He was forced to declare bankruptcy and repaid the debt over the next 17 years (the equivalent of a 17 year, chapter 13). With a 4% rate of return, 178 years later, it would be equal to $1.07 million, today.
Ulysses S. Grant, Bankrupt, 1884. Grant’s son, convinced Ulysses to invest almost his entire financial assets into Grant & Ward, an investment banking firm founded by his son and a business partner. The partner swindled the entire assets of the firm, and forced the company and everyone with it, into bankruptcy. Grant’s total debt, net of his assets, was $150,000. Today’s equivalent would be over $22.7 million. He died 1 year later. However, after his death, his published memoirs provided his surviving widow with $450,000. An equivalent of over $65 million.
William McKinley, Bankrupt, 1893. A highly-trusted friend and business partner, convinced William to personally sign and guarantee notes to support his friend’s business. When the friend’s business failed, McKinley was called for the $100,000 debt. Along with his wife, McKinley placed their entire properties into the hands of a trustee, who held the property until the debt was ultimately paid by sympathizers and supporters. The equivalent debt would be greater than $10.6 million, today.