No matter how far up the financial food chain you sit, it is still possible to fall from grace and lose all your fortune. The most common reasons are bad investments, getting too deep into debt, and spending too much.
Here are former-wealthy families who lost it all:
- The Vanderbilts. Cornelius “Commodore” Vanderbilt was worth $100 million from his steamship and railroad business, which he started with only $100. After six generation, the empire is no longer owned by the family.
- The Hartfords. Huntington Hartford is the heir to the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co., which he lost due to failed investments and living a playboy lifestyle. The family was one of the richest in America in 1940, but they declared bankruptcy years later.
- The Kluges. After Patricia Kluge divorced the founder of Metromedia, John Kluge, she inherited 200-acre of land and $1 million per year for the settlement. 20 years later, she was bankrupt.
- The Strohs. When Bernhard Stroh arrived in America from Germany way back 1850, he only had $150 and a recipe for beer. His children expanded the business. Five generations later, the empire has fallen.
- The Pulitzer. Peter Pulitzer, the grandson of publishing giant Joseph Pulitzer, was saved financially by his ex-wife’s husband. That’s how far they went down.