Elon Musk may have to shell out $44 billion to buy Twitter, but he’s still the richest person in the world. Here’s how the Tesla and SpaceX CEO makes and spends his $228 billion fortune.

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Elon Musk waves on stage at the Tesla Gigafactory in Berlin as a crowd of people takes photos
  • Elon Musk may have to pay $44 billion to buy Twitter, but he’s still the richest person in the world.
  • A infamous workaholic, Musk does not spend his cash on lavish holidays or costly hobbies.
  • Here’s how Musk makes and spends his $228 billion fortune. 
Decades earlier than changing into a father of 9 and amassing an $228 billion fortune, Musk taught himself to code as a baby rising up in South Africa. By the time he was 12, he offered the supply code for his first online game for $500.

elon musk
SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk works at his desk in 2008.

Source: MONEY

Just earlier than his 18th birthday, Musk moved to Canada and labored a sequence of exhausting labor jobs, together with shoveling grain, slicing logs, and finally cleansing out the boiler room in a lumber mill for $18 an hour — a formidable wage in 1989.

Elon Musk

Sources: MONEYEsquireElon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future

Musk bought a pay lower to $14 an hour when he began a summer season internship alongside his brother, Kimbal, at the Bank of Nova Scotia after cold-calling — and impressing — a high government there.

elon musk
Elon Musk, founder, CEO and lead designer at SpaceX and co-founder of Tesla, speaks at the International Space Station Research and Development Conference in Washington, U.S., July 19, 2017.

Sources: MONEYEsquire – Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future

After he arrived for his freshman 12 months at Queens University in 1990, Musk rapidly picked up a facet hustle promoting laptop components and full PCs to different college students. “I could build something to suit their needs like a tricked-out gaming machine or a simple word processor that cost less than what they could get in a store,” Musk mentioned.

Elon Musk
Elon Musk.

Sources: MONEYEsquire – Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future

Within two years, Musk transferred to the University of Pennsylvania on a partial scholarship.

university of pennsylvania

Sources: MONEYEsquire – Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future

To cowl the remainder of his tuition, Musk and a buddy would flip their home right into a speakeasy on the weekends, charging $5 at the door. “I was paying my own way through college and could make an entire month’s rent in one night,” Musk mentioned.

elon musk shrug tesla IPO new york
Tesla Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors, reacts to a reporter’s query following the electrical automaker’s preliminary public providing on Nasdaq, Tuesday, June, 29, 2010 in New York.

Sources: MONEYEsquire – Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future

Musk graduated with a bachelor’s diploma in physics and an economics diploma from the Wharton School and moved on to Stanford to pursue his PhD.

elon musk commencement speech

Source: MONEY

He left the program inside days to construct an web startup with his brother. They began Zip2, a metropolis information software program for newspapers, with $28,000 in seed cash from their father.

kimbal musk elon musk brother
Kimbal Musk, Elon’s brother.

Source: MONEY

Four years later, in 1999, they offered Zip2 for $307 million, incomes Musk $22 million. He invested greater than half of his earnings to cofound X.com, a web based banking service.

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elon musk
Elon Musk at SpaceX Hyperloop Pod II competitors in Hawthorne, California

Source: MONEY

The firm rapidly merged with its rival and turned PayPal, with Musk as the majority shareholder. In 2002, eBay purchased PayPal and Musk walked away with $180 million.

PayPal IPO
Paypal CEO Dan Schulman (C) celebrates with staff throughout the firm’s relisting on the Nasdaq in New York.

Source: MONEY

Musk turned his consideration to his new area exploration firm, SpaceX, after leaving PayPal. A couple of years later he cofounded electric-car maker, Tesla, and then SolarCity, a solar energy techniques supplier. The success of those firms finally launched him into the billion-dollar membership — but not earlier than he went broke.


Source: VentureBeat

In late 2008, Musk divorced his first spouse and it took a toll on his funds. A 12 months later, Musk mentioned he “ran out of cash” and had been dwelling off loans from buddies whereas making an attempt to hold his firms afloat.

Elon Musk Nasdaq Tesla

Sources: VentureBeatForbes, TechCrunch

But when Tesla debuted on the inventory market in 2010, Musk’s fortune skyrocketed. By 2012, he appeared on Forbes’ richest record for the first time with a web price of $2 billion.

Tesla Elon Musk

Source: Forbes

Nearly a decade later, Musk has amassed an $228 billion fortune — but it is not very liquid. Remarkably, Musk made his billions with out ever taking a paycheck from Tesla, as a result of the CEO refuses his minimal wage yearly. By 2020, Tesla lower his paycheck down to zero.

Elon Musk

Source: Bloomberg, Insider

Musk’s sophisticated wage construction signifies that he’s awarded inventory choices when Tesla hits difficult efficiency metrics. When Tesla does nicely, Musk’s wealth soars.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk

Source: Insider

But Musk has mentioned himself that he’s cash-poor. “Some people think I have a lot of cash,” Musk advised investor Cathie Wood on a podcast final 12 months. “I actually don’t.” Like plenty of different high-powered executives, Musk depends on mortgages and credit score day-to-day.

Elon Musk
Elon Musk

Source: Insider

Over the years, the CEO has bought greater than $100 million in residential property in California. He has since offloaded a lot of his actual property after vowing to promote all of it and “own no house” final 12 months.

Elon Musk Bel Air house

Source: The Real Deal, Variety, Insider

As the chief of one in every of the preeminent auto-makers, it is no shock Musk has an affinity for automobiles. Back in 2013, he paid $920,000 at an public sale for the Lotus Esprit submarine automobile used in a James Bond film.

James Bond Lotus Esprit


In addition to driving Teslas, Musk has owned just a few gas-powered automobiles together with a Ford Model T, a Jaguar E-Type Series 1 Roadster, a McLaren F1 (which he later totaled), an Audi Q7, a Hamann BMW M5, and a Porsche 911.

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Jaguar E Type Series 1 roadster
Not Elon Musk’s Jaguar.

Source: Insider

Despite having funds to spare, Musk is not a fan of lavish holidays — or any holidays for that matter. In 2015, he mentioned he’d solely taken two weeks off since founding SpaceX about 12 years earlier.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk

Sources: Inc, Quartz

Musk has 5 youngsters with his first spouse, Justine Musk. In a 2014 tweet, Musk mentioned he takes the children on an annual tenting journey. “I’m a pretty good dad,” he mentioned. “I have the kids for slightly more than half the week and spend a fair bit of time with them. I also take them with me when I go out of town.”

Elon Musk kids
Elon Musk with two of his sons and now ex-wife Talulah Riley.

Sources: TwitterElon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future

Musk and Canadian musician Grimes welcomed a child boy in May 2020 named X Æ A-Xii Musk — they seem to name the child “X” for brief. (Musk and Grimes have since damaged up.)

Grimes Elon Musk
Musk and Grimes.

Source: Insider, Insider

At the finish of the day, the multibillionaire says he enjoys cheap hobbies like listening to music, enjoying video video games, and studying books. “Hang out with kids, see friends, normal stuff,” he mentioned. “Sometimes go crazy on Twitter. But usually it’s work more.”

Elon Musk

Source: Quartz

In August 2018, Musk advised The New York Times that he had taken to working 120 hours every week. “There were times when I didn’t leave the factory for three or four days — days when I didn’t go outside,” he advised The Times. “This has really come at the expense of seeing my kids. And seeing friends.”

elon musk
Engineer and tech entrepreneur Elon Musk of The Boring Company listens as Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel talks about developing a excessive pace transit tunnel at Block 37 throughout a information convention on June 14, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois.

Source: The New York Times

Musk mentioned on an earnings name in 2017 that he does not have a desk at the Tesla manufacturing facility: “I always move my desk to wherever — I don’t really have a desk actually — I move myself to wherever the biggest problem is in Tesla. I really believe that one should lead from the front lines, and that’s why I’m here.”

tesla factory

Sources: Insider, Fortune

Musk admitted to spending “many late nights” at Tesla’s Nevada Gigafactory re-writing software program throughout a manufacturing dash for the Model 3.

elon musk gigafactory tour
Elon Musk exhibiting YouTuber Marques Browne round the Gigafactory 1

Source: Fortune

For a narrative printed in August 2018, Insider reporters spoke with 42 Tesla staff who mentioned Musk is a visionary, but additionally unpredictably demanding.

tesla employees

Source: Insider

Musk mentioned in June 2019 that he even deliberate to spend his forty eighth birthday on June 28 at work, bettering the firm’s “global logistics.”

Elon Musk
Tesla CEO Elon Musk walks onto the stage to introduce the Model Y at the firm’s design studio Thursday, March 14, 2019, in Hawthorne, Calif.

Source: Insider

Musk advised CBS’ “60 Minutes” that he’s, in truth, “somewhat impulsive” and does not “really want to try to adhere to some CEO template.”

Elon Musk

Source: Insider

Not solely does Musk spend a ton of time at Tesla, he additionally spends plenty of his cash on the firm. In the first six months of 2018, he purchased greater than $35 million price of shares in Tesla.

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Elon Musk Tesla Spacex

Source: CNN

Musk additionally invests plenty of time, vitality, and sources into SpaceX.

elon musk spacex

Source: Insider

SpaceX has raised billions to develop, construct, and launch Starlink — an effort to cowl Earth in ultra-fast broadband web — and construct the prototype of Starship, a gargantuan reusable area automobile designed to deliver folks to Mars. The firm was valued at $100 billion as of October 2021.

spacex falcon 9 block 5 rocket launch es hail 2 november 15 2018 32040174368_1cb3d93808_o
The Es’hail-2 mission launches towards area aboard one in every of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets on November 15, 2018.

Source: Insider, CNBC

Musk additionally helms The Boring Company, which he based in 2016 to develop and assemble underground tunnels in an effort to mitigate visitors.

Boring Company Hawthorne tunnel
The Boring Company’s Hawthorne, California, Tunnel.

Source: Insider

According to The New York Times, The Boring Company raised over $112 million in 2018 — and greater than 90% of it got here from Musk. In 2019, the firm raised outdoors funding for the first time to the tune of round $120 million.

elon musk boring company

Source: The New York Times, Insider

In 2012, Musk signed The Giving Pledge, vowing to donate the majority of his wealth throughout his lifetime. Though he’s already in the enterprise of bettering our surroundings and the future throughout his day job, Musk has made sizable donations to causes he cares about, together with a $10 million reward to the Future of Life Institute to regulate synthetic intelligence.

elon musk robots

Sources: Twitter, Insider

Musk discovered himself in authorized bother with the SEC in 2018 after he tweeted that he had obtained the funding to take Tesla personal, which moved the firm’s inventory value. Musk reached a settlement with the SEC in April 2019 in which he and Tesla each agreed to pay a $20 million penalty.

elon musk court

Source: Insider

Musk moved Tesla share value once more in May 2020, sending it down 13% after tweeting “Tesla stock price is too high imo.”

FILE PHOTO: Tesla Inc CEO Elon Musk speaks at an opening ceremony for Tesla China-made Model Y program in Shanghai, China January 7, 2020. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Tesla Inc CEO Elon Musk speaks at a gap ceremony for Tesla China-made Model Y program in Shanghai

Source: Markets Insider

Musk’s Twitter habits as soon as once more bought him into authorized bother in 2019 after he known as the British cave diver who helped rescue a Thai soccer group a “pedo guy”; the diver sued Musk, claiming defamation, but a jury dominated in Musk’s favor.

vernon unsworth
A courtroom sketch of British cave diver Vernon Unsworth throughout his defamation swimsuit towards Elon Musk.

Source: Insider

Musk’s web price soared in 2020 amid the pandemic, growing by 197% between March and August, in accordance to an evaluation by the Institute for Policy Studies. By December 2020, Musk had turn into the world’s second-richest person behind Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

Jeff Bezos Elon Musk
Jeff Bezos, left, and Elon Musk.

Source: Insider

Only just a few months later, Musk turned the world’s richest person and his web price has solely grown since: Just final month, Musk’s wealth elevated by $36 billion in a single day, the largest acquire ever recorded by Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index.

elon musk spacex launch.JPG
Elon Musk.

Source: Insider

But after shares of Tesla plunged by 16%, Musk misplaced $50 billion in simply two days. Tesla’s share value dipped after a string of headlines, together with a tweet from Musk asking if he ought to promote 10% of his Tesla inventory. Still, Musk stays $82 billion richer than Bezos.

Photo by BRITTA PEDERSEN:POOL:AFP via Getty Images
Tesla CEO Elon Musk

Source: Insider

Tanza Loudenback and Taylor Nicole Rogers contributed to an earlier model of this story.

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