5 Wealthy Families Who Lost Their Fortunes


There have been great fortunes lost, some quickly and some over generations. Primary reasons for these were mountains of debt, bad investment, lavish spending or even recession. Here’s a list of 5 families who were once fabulously wealthy but have been reduced to paupers now.

The Vanderbilts


When Cornelius “Commodore” Vanderbilt died in 1877 he was worth $100 million, an astonishingly large sum for that time. Vanderbilt, it seems, had borrowed $100 to start the railroad business in 1810. But six generations on, nothing remains of that empire. CNN anchor Anderson Cooper is a sixth-generation descendant who declared in a Howard Stern show that his mother had told him that there is no trust fund waiting for him. The only remnant of the once-fabled Vanderbilt name is the Vanderbilt University.

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