The Wheel of Fortune is perhaps one of the most recognisable, iconic images found on the tarot cards. The Wheel of Fortune represents how things can change suddenly, at any moment. Though you may find yourself at the top surprisingly quickly, you could just as easily find yourself at the bottom in the next breath. The wheel can shift at any time and change your fortune. This analogy serves as a warning that we all shouldn't take good fortune - financial or circumstantial - for granted.
There's a lot of hard work involved in making a whole lot of money, but there's also a huge level of luck involved and - as we all know - luck can change quickly. There are people out there worth mind boggling amounts of money, but nobody's really invincible. There are many multi-millionaires and billionaires through the years who've reached the top and then fallen hard. Below we've taken a look at some of the wealthiest people on the planet who managed to blow their fortunes in almost as spectacular a manner as they made them. While some of them managed to keep their heads above water, and some bounced back even better than before, money troubles unfortunately proved too much for a few unfortunate and irresponsible one-time millionaires on this list.
Despite close familial connections with the British Royal Family, Sarah Ferguson - the Duchess of York - has been plagued by financial troubles in her lifetime. Recently, Oprah Winfrey even produced a documentary series about her life, in which Ferguson infamously claimed “I don't really understand finances at all.” This is clearly not an exaggeration, given that her excessive lifestyle has made her infamous. Ferguson has been judged in the past for living far too extravagantly but it was her shady dealings with tabloid reporters that led to her downfall. Ferguson offered an undercover tabloid reporter access to Prince Andrew in exchange for £500,000 back in 2010. After the scandal, Ferguson was completely broke and millions of dollars in debt.
Björgólfur Guðmundsson is an Icelandic businessman, and at one time was the richest man in Iceland. Guðmundsson and his son, Thor, were two of the most powerful men in the country, with large shares in huge companies such as Landsbanki, the most popular bank in the country. In 2008, Guðmundsson was declared a billionaire by Forbes magazine. However, Guðmundsson would be declared bankrupt just a few months later during Iceland’s catastrophic economic crisis. Guðmundsson dabbled in fraud, a practice which many Icelanders still believe to be one of the main causes of the country’s financial crisis. Guðmundsson paid the ultimate price though, with his net worth plummeting from $1 billion to nothing in six months.
Sean Quinn was once Ireland’s wealthiest man, and had a true rags-to-riches road to fortune. In just a few short years, Quinn turned a small bank loan into a billion dollar business empire that dabbled in manufacturing, mining and insurance. However, Quinn was another fatality of the banking crisis. He made a fatal decision when he chose to invest in a 25% stake in Anglo Irish Bank (AIB) back in 2008. At the time, the economy was hurtling towards the massive global recession, but Quinn had no knowledge of this. Soon after his investment, AIB was in ruins. This turn of the economic tide absorbed all of Quinn’s $6 billion fortune, meaning that Quinn suffered the biggest recession-caused financial loss in the entire world.