What Happens to My Shares If a Company Goes Bankrupt?

In the intricate world of investments, the question “What happens to my shares if a company goes bankrupt?” often arises. In times of economic instability, this query becomes increasingly pertinent, and the short answer isn’t very encouraging. In most cases, your shares would likely become valueless and unmarketable. However, the long answer involves a more complex process of how assets are distributed among creditors and shareholders.

The Fate of Your Shares

When a company declares bankruptcy and is no longer operational, the market for their shares disappears, as these shares no longer hold any value. Therefore, the shares you once thought as a promising investment become worthless and unsellable.

Claiming Company Assets

As a shareholder, you might have a claim on the company’s assets. However, you are near the end of the queue of those entitled to the company’s assets, which means you could end up with very little or possibly nothing for your shares.

The Liquidation Process

When a company files for bankruptcy and liquidates, they are obligated to sell all their assets to cover their debts. The money raised from selling these assets is first directed to creditors. These include the government, financial institutions, and other entities such as bond holders or suppliers to whom the company owes money.

Hierarchy of Shareholders

Not all shareholders are created equal. Preferred shareholders have a priority over common shareholders when it comes to claiming company assets. Therefore, if you are a common shareholder, you might have to wait even longer to see any return on your shares.

Proportional Ownership

If there’s any money left after everyone has been paid, shareholders will receive a sum based on their proportional ownership in the business. For instance, if your shares represent a 0.5 percent stake in the business and there is $1 million to distribute, you would be entitled to 0.5 percent of this money, which would be $5,000.


In conclusion, if a company goes bankrupt, the likelihood of your shares retaining any value is very slim. While you may be entitled to a portion of the company’s assets, you would be at the end of a long line of creditors and preferred shareholders. Therefore, the answer to “What happens to my shares if a company goes bankrupt?” is that your shares would likely become worthless and unmarketable.

The information in this article is a broad overview of a complex process. It is always advisable to seek professional advice when dealing with such matters as investing in shares and understanding the implications of a company going bankrupt. The world of investments is fraught with risks, and understanding these risks is key to making informed decisions.

Remember, investing should always be a well-thought-out decision. Always know what you’re investing in and the risks involved. And if you ever find yourself asking, “What happens to my shares if a company goes bankrupt?”, refer back to this article for a detailed understanding.

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