Elon Musk Net Worth

What is Elon Musk net worth?

According to Forbes, Musk has a real-time net worth of over $309 billion, having surpassed the $200 billion milestone two months earlier. According to Forbes, Bezos’ current net worth is at $193 billion.

Elon Musk is a Canadian-American business magnate, businessman, engineer, and inventor who was born in South Africa.

Musk is the founder, CEO, and CTO of SpaceX, as well as the CEO of Tesla Inc., the co-chairman of OpenAI, and the founder and CEO of Neuralink.

Most people are familiar with Elon Musk’s first success as the founder of PayPal, which is now one of the most widely used payment gateways on the internet.

Early Life

Childhood and family

Elon Reeve Musk was born in Pretoria, South Africa, on June 28, 1971. Maye Musk (née Haldeman), his mother, is a model and nutritionist from Saskatchewan, Canada, who was reared in South Africa. Errol Musk, his father, is a South African electromechanical engineer, pilot, sailor, consultant, and property developer who previously invested in a Zambian emerald mine near Lake Tanganyika. Musk has a younger brother, Kimbal, and a younger sister, Tosca, both born in 1972. (born 1974). Musk has British and Pennsylvania Dutch ancestry, while his maternal grandfather, Joshua Haldeman, was an American-born Canadian.

Elon’s family was rich when he was younger, and they “possessed one of Pretoria’s largest residences.” Musk primarily lived with his father in Pretoria and elsewhere when his parents divorced in 1980, a decision he later regretted two years later. Musk has become distant from his father, whom he sees as “a terrible human being who has done almost every evil thing you can imagine.” On his father’s side, he has a half-sister and a half-brother.

Musk got his first computer, a Commodore VIC-20, when he was ten years old. He learnt computer programming from a manual at the age of 12 and sold the code for Blastar, a BASIC-based video game he made, to PC and Office Technology magazine for $500. Musk was bullied throughout his childhood and was once hospitalized after being thrown down a flight of stairs by a bunch of youngsters. Prior to attending Pretoria Boys High School, he attended Waterkloof House Preparatory School and Bryanston High School.


Musk filed for a Canadian passport through his Canadian-born mother since he knew it would be easier to enter the US from Canada. Musk attended the University of Pretoria for five months while waiting for the paperwork, allowing him to escape mandatory military service in South Africa. Musk came in Canada in June 1989 and spent a year in Saskatchewan with a second cousin, performing odd jobs on a farm and in a lumber industry. Musk enrolled at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, in 1990. He went to the University of Pennsylvania two years later and earned a Bachelor of Science in economics and a Bachelor of Arts in physics in 1997.

During the summer of 1994, Musk worked at two Silicon Valley startups: Pinnacle Research Institute, which focused on energy storage electrolytic ultracapacitors, and Rocket Science Games, which was situated in Palo Alto. Musk was accepted to Stanford University in California for a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in materials science in 1995. Musk applied for a job with Netscape but never heard back. After two days at Stanford, he dropped out and decided to join the Internet craze and create an Internet company.

Business Career


With financing from angel investors, Musk, Kimbal, and Greg Kouri created online software business Zip2 in 1995. They set their shop in Palo Alto in a small rented office. For the newspaper publishing sector, the company created and sold an Internet city guide including maps, directions, and yellow pages. Musk claims that he couldn’t afford an apartment before the company became popular, so he rented an office, slept on the couch, showered at the YMCA, and shared one computer with his brother. “The website was up during the day and I was coding it at night, seven days a week, all the time,” Musk explained. The Musk brothers were able to secure contracts with The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune, as well as persuade the board of directors to scrap proposals for a merger with CitySearch. Musk’s attempts to succeed Chairman Rich Sorkin as CEO were rebuffed by the board of directors. Zip2 was purchased by Compaq for $307 million in cash in February 1999. Musk was paid $22 million for his 7% stake.

X.com and PayPal

Musk co-founded X.com, a company that provides online financial services and e-mail payment services, in 1999. The company was one of the first federally insured internet banks, with over 200,000 customers signing up in the first few months. Musk was replaced by Bill Harris, the CEO of Intuit, at the end of the year when the company’s investors perceived him as inexperienced. To avoid needless competition, X.com merged with online bank Confinity the following year. Confinity, which was founded by Max Levchin and Peter Thiel, had its own money-transfer service, PayPal, that was more popular than X.com’s. Musk was re-hired as CEO of the merged business. Musk’s choice for Microsoft software over Linux sparked a schism within the company, leading to Thiel’s resignation. In September 2000, the board of directors fired Musk and replaced him with Thiel, citing technology difficulties and a lack of an unified business concept. Under Thiel’s leadership, the company shifted its attention to the PayPal service, which was rebranded PayPal in 2001. PayPal was purchased by eBay in 2002 for $1.5 billion in shares, with Musk receiving over $100 million as the largest stakeholder (11.7 percent).

Musk paid an undisclosed sum to PayPal in 2017 for the name X.com, claiming it has sentimental significance.


Musk joined the Mars Society, a non-profit organization, in 2001. Plans to build a plant growth chamber on Mars impressed him, and he considered funding the project personally. Musk traveled to Moscow in October 2001 to purchase reconditioned intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) capable of launching the greenhouse payloads into space. Musk met with NPO Lavochkin and Kosmotras, but was dismissed as a newcomer and was even spat on by one of the Russian senior designers. The team was left empty-handed when they returned to the US. The crew returned to Russia in February 2002 in search of three intercontinental ballistic missiles. They met with Kosmotras again, and were given a $8 million rocket, which Musk turned down. Instead, Musk chose to found a company that would manufacture inexpensive rockets. Musk founded Space Exploration Technologies Corp., often known as SpaceX, in May 2002 with a $100 million investment from his early riches. He is still the CEO and Chief Engineer of the company as of 2021.

In 2008, SpaceX succeeded in launching the Falcon 1 after three failed attempts. It was the first private liquid-fuel rocket to reach the International Space Station. Later that year, SpaceX was awarded a $1.6 billion Commercial Resupply Services program contract to fly 12 Falcon 9 rockets and Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station, replacing the Space Shuttle, which was retired in 2011. The Dragon vehicle docked with the International Space Station in 2012, a first for a private company. In 2015, SpaceX successfully landed the first stage of a Falcon 9 rocket, moving closer to its goal of reusable rockets. Landings were later accomplished on an ocean-based recovery platform, an autonomous spaceport drone ship. In 2018, SpaceX launched the Falcon Heavy, with Musk’s own Tesla Roadster serving as a dummy cargo for the first voyage. Big Falcon Rocket (BFR), later renamed Starship, is SpaceX’s next-generation launch vehicle and spacecraft system, which will support all of the company’s launch service provider capabilities. In 2018, SpaceX revealed plans for a private lunar circumnavigation mission in 2023, dubbed the dearMoon project. SpaceX flew the Demo-2, its first crewed voyage, in 2020, becoming the first commercial firm to put a human into orbit and dock a crewed spacecraft with the International Space Station.

In 2015, SpaceX began developing the Starlink constellation of low-Earth orbit satellites to provide satellite Internet access, and the first two prototype satellites were launched in February 2018. In May 2019, the first 60 operational satellites were launched, marking the start of a second series of test satellites and the first substantial deployment of a component of the constellation. SpaceX estimates the total cost of the decade-long endeavor to design, develop, and deploy the constellation to be around $10 billion.


Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning founded Tesla, Inc.—originally Tesla Motors—in July 2003, and funded the company until the Series A round of investment. Prior to Musk’s engagement, both men played key roles in the company’s early development. In February 2004, Musk led the Series A round of funding, investing $6.5 million to become the majority stakeholder and chairman of Tesla’s board of directors. Musk was involved in the company and oversaw Roadster product design, but he was not involved in the day-to-day operations. Eberhard was fired from the firm in 2007 after a series of increasing confrontations and the 2008 financial crisis. In 2008, Musk took over as CEO and product architect of the firm. Musk, Tarpenning, and two other Tesla co-founders were named in a 2009 litigation settlement with Eberhard. Elon Musk is the longest-serving CEO of any automotive company in the world as of 2019.

The Roadster, Tesla’s first electric sports automobile, was released in 2008. It was the first serial production all-electric automobile to employ lithium-ion battery cells, with roughly 2,500 units sold. Tesla began shipping its four-door Model S car in 2012, followed by the Model X crossover in 2015. The Model 3 is a mass market car that was released in 2017. With over 500,000 units shipped as of March 2020, it is the world’s best-selling electric car. In 2020, a fifth car, the Model Y crossover, was introduced. In 2019, the Cybertruck, an all-electric pickup truck, was introduced. Tesla has also built additional lithium-ion battery and electric car subassembly factories, including Gigafactory 1 in Nevada and Gigafactory 3 in China, under Musk’s leadership.

Tesla stock has climbed dramatically since its initial public offering in 2010, and in summer 2020, it overtook Toyota as the most valuable automaker. Later that year, it joined the S&P 500. It became the sixth firm in US history to achieve $1 trillion in market valuation in October 2021. Musk proposes selling 10% of his Tesla stock over Twitter on November 6, 2021. Musk sold $6.9 billion of Tesla stock in the week ending November 12 after receiving support from over 3.5 million Twitter accounts.

SEC Lawsuit

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) sued Musk in September 2018 over a tweet stating finance had been obtained for potentially taking Tesla private. The lawsuit alleged that Musk’s July 2018 negotiations with foreign investors failed to confirm crucial agreement parameters, deeming the tweet inaccurate, deceptive, and detrimental to investors, and sought to prevent Musk from serving as CEO of publicly traded firms. Musk dismissed the charges as unfounded, claiming that his integrity had never been jeopardized. Musk reached a settlement with the SEC two days later, without admitting or rejecting the SEC’s charges. Musk and Tesla were fined $20 million each, and Musk was required to step down as Tesla chairman for three years but was able to keep his position as CEO.

In interviews, Musk has indicated that he has no regrets about the tweet that sparked the SEC inquiry. Musk announced in a tweet on February 19, 2019, that Tesla would build half a million cars in 2019. The SEC filed a lawsuit in response to Musk’s tweet, seeking the court to hold him in contempt for breaking the conditions of a settlement deal with such a statement, which Musk denied. This was eventually resolved by a joint agreement between Musk and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that clarified the earlier agreement’s specifics. Musk would need preclearance on a list of topics before tweeting about them, according to the deal. In May 2020, a judge blocked the filing of a lawsuit alleging that Musk’s tweet about Tesla stock price (“too high imo”) violated the agreement. According to data obtained through FOIA, the SEC determined that Musk had twice breached the agreement by tweeting about “Tesla’s solar roof production volumes and stock price.”

SolarCity and Tesla Energy

Musk and his cousins Lyndon and Peter Rive co-founded SolarCity in 2006, and Musk contributed the initial concept and financial backing. SolarCity was the second largest solar power system provider in the United States by 2013. Musk proposed in 2014 that SolarCity establish an advanced manufacturing facility in Buffalo, New York, that would be three times the size of the country’s largest solar plant. The factory’s construction began in 2014 and was finished in 2017. It functioned as a joint venture with Panasonic until Panasonic exited in early 2020.

Tesla bought SolarCity in 2016 for more than $2 billion and merged it with its battery energy storage products division to form Tesla Energy. Tesla’s stock price dropped by more than 10% after the announcement of the agreement. SolarCity was having financial difficulties at the time, but Tesla shareholders were not notified. As a result, various shareholder organizations sued Musk and Tesla’s board of directors, alleging that the purchase of SolarCity was made primarily to enrich Musk at the expense of Tesla and its shareholders. Musk admitted at a court deposition in June 2019 that the firm sent every available person from the solar division to work on the Model 3, and that “as a result, solar suffered.” Shareholders had not previously been informed of this. Musk was reportedly aware of the company’s liquidity concerns, according to court filings revealed in 2019. The lawsuit against Tesla directors was settled in January 2020, leaving Musk as the only surviving defendant.


Musk co-founded Neuralink, a neurotechnology business aimed at integrating AI with the human brain, in 2016. The goal of Neuralink is to construct devices that can be implanted in the human brain to help with the brain-machine interface. To keep current, the devices will sync with the newest advances in artificial intelligence. Such enhancements could boost memory or make it easier for gadgets to interface with software.

Musk touted one of their early devices as “a Fitbit in your skull” that might soon heal paralysis, deafness, blindness, and other ailments during a live presentation in August 2020. These assertions were panned by several neuroscientists and journals, with MIT Technology Review calling them “extremely speculative” and “neuroscience theatrical.”

The Boring Company

Musk created The Boring Company in 2016 to build tunnels. They started talking to regulatory organizations in early 2017 and started building a 30-foot (9.1 m) wide, 50-foot (15 m) long, and 15-foot (4.6 m) deep “test trench” on the grounds of SpaceX’s buildings because it didn’t require any permissions. In early 2021, a tunnel beneath the Las Vegas Convention Center was completed. More tunnel expansions have been approved by local government.

The Boring Company sold 2,000 novelty flamethrowers as a merchandising and publicity gimmick in 2018. The film Spaceballs, directed by Mel Brooks, is said to have sparked the notion (1987).


Musk unveiled ideas for a vactrain in 2013, appointing a dozen engineers from Tesla and SpaceX to lay the conceptual groundwork and build preliminary drawings. Musk revealed the concept, which he termed the Hyperloop, on August 12, 2013. The system’s alpha design was disclosed in a whitepaper on the Tesla and SpaceX blogs. The document presented the technology and a hypothetical route where such a transportation system could be developed for $6 billion between the Greater Los Angeles Area and the San Francisco Bay Area. If technologically viable at the costs he cites, the plan would make Hyperloop travel cheaper than any other means of long-distance transportation.

In June 2015, Musk announced a design competition for students and others to develop Hyperloop pods that would run on a mile-long SpaceX-sponsored track from 2015 to 2017. Musk also revealed that the company had launched a tunnel project with Hawthorne airport as its target in January 2017. Musk said in July 2017 that he had secured “verbal government consent” to create a hyperloop that would connect New York City and Washington, D.C., with stops in Philadelphia and Baltimore. Later in 2021, mention of the project for the DC to Baltimore section was removed from the Boring Company website.


Musk announced the formation of OpenAI, a non-profit artificial intelligence (AI) research business in December 2015, with the goal of developing artificial general intelligence that is both safe and helpful to humanity. “Countering major businesses [and governments] who may gain too much power by possessing super-intelligence systems” is one of the company’s main goals. Musk stepped down from the OpenAI board in 2018 to prevent any conflicts with his work as CEO of Tesla, which was increasingly active in AI through Tesla Autopilot.

Donations and non-profits

Musk is the chairman of the Musk Foundation, whose stated mission is to offer solar-power energy systems in disaster areas, among other things. Since its inception in 2002, the foundation has provided approximately 350 gifts. Approximately half of the funds went to non-profits involved in scientific research or teaching. The Wikimedia Foundation, his alma institution, the University of Pennsylvania, and Kimball’s Big Green are among the notable beneficiaries. The organization was described by Vox as “entertaining in its simplicity and yet is strikingly opaque,” noting that its website contained simply 33 words in plain English. The foundation has been chastised for the minimal quantity of money provided. From 2002 through 2018, it provided $25 million to non-profits directly, roughly half of which went to Musk’s OpenAI, which was a non-profit at the time. Forbes gave Musk a philanthropy score of 1 in 2020 because he had given away less than 1% of his net assets.

Musk also serves on the board of the X Prize Foundation. He vowed to donate $100 million as a prize to whoever produced the finest carbon capture technology in January 2021.

Joe Rogan podcast appearance

Musk appeared on The Joe Rogan Experience podcast on September 6, 2018, and spoke for nearly two hours about a variety of topics. One of the more high-profile and contentious components of the show was Musk taking a single inhale from a cigar laced with cannabis, according to Joe Rogan. According to the Washington Post, “in the media’s hands, it became a story about Musk’s developing instability.”

Tesla shares fell following the incident, which coincided with the confirmation of Tesla’s vice president of worldwide finance’s departure earlier that day. Fortune asked if the cannabis use could jeopardize SpaceX’s contracts with the US Air Force, but an Air Force spokeswoman told The Verge that there was no inquiry and that the Air Force was still evaluating the situation. Musk stated of the incident in an interview with 60 Minutes: “I do not smoke pot. As anybody who watched that podcast could tell, I have no idea how to smoke pot.”

Managerial style and treatment of employees

Musk has been criticized for his management style and treatment of his employees. Musk exhibits “a high level of degenerate behavior” such as paranoia and bullying, according to one person who worked closely with him. He was described as having “whole and full pathological sociopathy” by another. Tesla employees were advised not to wander past Musk’s desk because of his “wild firing rampages,” according to Business Insider. Musk faced criticism from his engineers after insisting on branding his vehicles as “self-driving,” according to the Wall Street Journal, and several of them quit as a result, with one claiming that Musk’s “reckless decision making… ha[d] potentially put customer lives at risk.” Multiple anecdotes of Musk berating staff may be found in the 2021 book Power Play.

Alleged connection to Jeffrey Epstein

According to Vanity Fair, Musk introduced convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein to Mark Zuckerberg at a dinner hosted by Reid Hoffman in July 2019. Despite Musk’s denial that he introduced the two, Zuckerberg confirmed that he met Epstein through him.

The New York Times journalist James B. Stewart published an off-the-record conversation he had with Epstein in August 2019, shortly after Epstein’s death, in which Epstein told Stewart that he had been asked by someone close to Musk to compile a list of potential candidates for a new chairman of Tesla at Musk’s request. The claims were refuted by Musk’s spokeswoman.

Tham Luang cave rescue and defamation case

Musk arranged for his employees to construct a tiny rescue pod in July 2018 to aid with the rescue of youngsters trapped in a flooded cave in Thailand. The commander of the multinational rescue diving team, Richard Stanton, urged Musk to build the mini-submarine as a backup in case the floods worsened. It was designed to solve the problem of safely extracting the children and was named “Wild Boar” after the children’s soccer team. It was a five-foot (1.5 m) long, 12-inch (30 cm) wide sealed tube weighing about 90 pounds (41 kg) propelled manually by divers in the front and back with segmented compartments to place diver weights to adjust buoyancy. In under eight hours, engineers from SpaceX and The Boring Company assembled the mini-submarine out of a Falcon 9 liquid oxygen transfer tube and personally brought it to Thailand. However, by this time, eight of the twelve youngsters had already been rescued under anesthesia with full face masks and oxygen, and Thai officials had decided against utilizing the submarine. Elon Musk was eventually named as one of 187 persons honored by Thailand’s King in March 2019 for their contributions to the rescue operation, with the Order of the Direkgunabhorn.

On CNN, Vernon Unsworth, a British recreational caver who had been exploring the cave for the preceding six years and played a vital advisory role in the rescue, slammed the submarine, saying Musk “had no conception of what the cave channel was like” and “can stick his submarine where it hurts.” On Twitter, Musk claimed that the device would have functioned and called Unsworth a “pedo guy.” He later removed the tweets, as well as an earlier one in which he advised another device critic to “stay tuned jackass.” Unsworth claimed on July 16 that he was considering legal action.

Musk apologized for his remarks two days later. “You don’t think it’s strange he hasn’t sued me?” Musk tweeted on August 28, 2018, in response to criticism from a writer on Twitter. A letter from L. Lin Wood, the rescuer’s attorney, dated August 6 surfaced the next day, indicating that he had been preparing for a libel case.

Around this time, James Howard-Higgins, posing as a private investigator, approached Musk with an offer to “dig deep” into Unsworth’s past, which Musk accepted; Higgins was later proven to be a convicted felon charged with multiple charges of fraud. Musk sent an email prefaced with “off the record” on August 30 to a BuzzFeed News reporter who had written about the controversy, telling the reporter to “stop defending child rapists, you fucking asshole,” and claiming that Unsworth is a “single white guy from England who’s been traveling to or living in Thailand for 30 to 40 years… until moving to Chiang Rai for a child bride who was about 12 years old at the time” and claiming that The reporter tweeted a screenshot of the email on September 5, writing, “Off the record is a two-party agreement,” to which he “did not agree.”

Unsworth filed a defamation complaint in federal court in Los Angeles in September. Musk said in his defense that “‘pedo guy’ was a frequent slur used in South Africa when I was growing up… associated with ‘creepy old man,’ and is used to disparage a person’s appearance and manner.” Unsworth filed the defamation suit in December 2019, asking $190 million in damages. During the trial, Musk apologized to Unsworth for the tweet once more. On December 6, the jury ruled in Musk’s favor, finding him not guilty.


When PayPal was sold to eBay in 2002, Musk made $165 million. With a net worth of $2 billion, he first appeared on the Forbes Billionaires List in 2012.

Musk’s net worth was $27 billion in the start of 2020. Throughout that year, his net worth climbed by $150 billion, owing largely to his holding of around 20% of Tesla stock. Musk’s net worth fluctuated a lot over this time. For example, it fell $16.3 billion in September, the greatest single-day decrease in the Bloomberg Billionaires Index’s history. Musk passed Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg to become the world’s third-richest person in November of that year; a week later, he passed Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates to become the world’s second-richest. Musk surpassed Amazon founder Jeff Bezos to become the world’s richest person in January 2021, with a net worth of $185 billion. The following month, Bezos recovered the top spot. After Tesla stock rose, Forbes stated on September 27, 2021, that Musk had a net worth of more than $200 billion and was the richest person in the world. Musk will become the first individual with a net worth of more than $300 billion in November 2021.

Tesla accounts for around three-quarters of Musk’s fortune. Musk does not get a salary from Tesla; in 2018, he agreed with the board on a compensation scheme that ties his personal earnings to Tesla’s valuation and revenue. The agreement stated that Musk would only be compensated if Tesla reached specific market levels. It was the largest bargain ever struck between a CEO and a board of directors. In the first award, awarded in May 2020, he was eligible to purchase 1.69 million TSLA shares (about 1% of the firm) at below-market prices, valued approximately $800 million.

Musk has repeatedly stated that he is “cash poor” and that he “professes to have little interest in the material trappings of wealth.” Musk made The Giving Pledge in 2012, and in May 2020, he pledged to “sell practically all physical things.” Musk defended his fortune in 2021, claiming that he is “accumulating resources to help make life multiplanetary [and] expand the light of consciousness to the stars.” Musk was a private pilot in the early 2000s, with his favorite aircraft at the time being the L-39 Albatros, but he opted to cease flying around 2008. He utilizes a private plane owned by SpaceX, and he plans to purchase a second jet in August 2020. The jet’s high reliance on fossil fuels—it flew more than 150,000 miles in 2018—has been criticized. Musk paid no federal income taxes in 2018, according to ProPublica.

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