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Jesse Livermore’s Multiple Bankruptcies: An Investigation of the Reasons and Impact

Last Updated on 10 February, 2024 by Rejaul Karim

Jesse Livermore, known as the “Greatest Stock Trader of All Time,” is a legendary figure in the world of finance. Despite his massive success, Livermore declared bankruptcy multiple times throughout his career. In this article, we will delve into the reasons behind these bankruptcies and their impact on Livermore’s life.

Early Life and Trading Career

Jesse Livermore was born in Massachusetts in 1877. From a young age, he showed an interest in finance and began trading stocks at the age of 15. By the age of 20, Livermore had made his first fortune, earning $250,000 from trading. This early success set the stage for a long and storied career in finance.

Rise to Fame

Livermore’s success as a trader continued to grow, and he became well-known for his prowess in the stock market. He was particularly skilled at identifying and exploiting market trends, and he made millions of dollars through his trading activities. His fame reached new heights in 1906 when he made a fortune by short selling stocks during the San Francisco earthquake.

The First Bankruptcy

Despite his success, Livermore’s first bankruptcy occurred in 1907. This was largely due to his speculative trading style, which involved taking large positions in stocks and then selling them quickly for a profit. At the time, the stock market was experiencing a boom, and Livermore’s risky trades contributed to his financial downfall.

The Second Bankruptcy

Livermore’s second bankruptcy occurred in 1913. This time, he had been trading cotton futures, and his losses were substantial. Despite this setback, Livermore was determined to bounce back, and he began trading stocks once again. He was soon able to rebuild his fortune, and by the end of the year, he was a wealthy man once again.

The Third Bankruptcy

Livermore’s third bankruptcy occurred in 1929, just as the stock market was crashing. Despite his best efforts, he was unable to avoid the market’s downward trend, and he lost everything. This was a devastating blow for Livermore, and he was forced to start over from scratch.

Impact on Livermore’s Life

Despite his multiple bankruptcies, Jesse Livermore never lost his love for finance and trading. He continued to trade and invest throughout his life, and he remained a well-respected figure in the financial community. However, his bankruptcies did take a toll on him, and he suffered from depression and alcoholism in his later years.


Jesse Livermore’s multiple bankruptcies were a testament to the risks associated with speculative trading. Despite these setbacks, Livermore’s legacy as one of the greatest stock traders of all time remains intact. His life serves as a reminder that success in finance requires a combination of skill, determination, and a willingness to take calculated risks.

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