By Andrea N. Browne
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.
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KIPLINGER 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. Kiplinger attempted to contact all of the people mentioned for an interview; however, some declined to comment.