Elon Musk
Source: Tesla Facebook

Elon Musk’s Net Worth: How Did the Tesla CEO Make Money?

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Nov. 16 2021, Published 8:44 a.m. ET

Tesla CEO Elon Musk continues to be the world’s richest person, standing billions of dollars ahead of Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. After Standard Oil founder John Rockefeller became the world’s first billionaire, will Musk become the world’s first trillionaire? Let’s take a look at how Musk got rich and how the EV (electric vehicle) billionaire could make more money in the future.

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Elon Musk

CEO

Net worth: $280 billion

Elon Musk is the founder and CEO of EV company Tesla and privately held space exploration company SpaceX. His other companies are NeuraLink and the Boring Company.

Net worth: $280 billion

Birthdate: June 28, 1971

Birthplace: Pretoria, South Africa

Birth name: Elon Reeve Musk

Father: Errol Musk, engineer

Mother: Maye Musk, model and nutritionist

Marriages: Talulah Riley (2010–2012, divorced for the first time)​​, (2013–2016, divorced again), Justine Wilson (2000–2008, divorced)​

Children: Nevada Alexander (deceased), Xavier, Griffin, Kai, Saxon, Damian, X Æ A-Xii

Education: University of Pennsylvania (1992–1997), Queen's University in Kingston, Canada (1990–1992)

Musk has sold some of his Tesla shares amid growing scrutiny of billionaires’ tax practices. As the government seeks to raise more money to fund infrastructure projects and expand social programs, some have questioned whether the rich pay their fair share of tax. Musk committed to selling 10 percent of his Tesla stock to address the tax issue.

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But the billionaire has also taken issue with the idea that the rich need to pay more taxes, and has criticized the government’s big spending. He believes that spending is fueling inflation and hurting the average American.

Elon Musk got rich after selling his startup company, Zip2

In the 1980s, Musk developed and sold videogame software for $500. In 1995, he launched an online city guide platform, Zip2. The startup became so successful that, four years later, Musk was able to sell it for more than $300 million. He reinvested the proceeds in other ventures that have made him even more money.

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Tesla and SpaceX are the best-known Musk companies, but there are more

Musk used some of the money he made from the Zip2 sale to launch X.com, an online payment platform. X.com merged with another startup to form PayPal. In 2002, eBay purchased PayPal for $1.5 billion, making Musk a lot of money.

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He went on to launch space exploration company SpaceX, EV company Tesla, and solar energy company SolarCity. Tesla acquired SolarCity to diversify its business outside the auto market. Musk’s other company is the Boring Company, which constructs tunnels for underground transportation systems with zero emissions.

Musk invested in DeepMind, an artificial intelligence startup that Google acquired in 2014, and Neurovigil in 2015, a startup that develops brain monitors. In 2016, Musk founded NeuraLink, a startup focused on developing brain-machine interfaces.

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Elon Musk’s net worth is built on his Tesla stake

In Nov. 2021, Musk became the first person worth more than $300 billion. The bulk of Musk’s wealth is tied to his Tesla stake, which compises 17 percent of the company. Tesla ranks as the world’s most valuable auto company at worth more than $1 trillion. Musk’s stake in the company shrank after he sold some shares to cover tax bills. A part of Musk’s fortune is also tied to his stake in SpaceX, which is valued at more than $100 billion. Musk owns about 48 percent of the business.

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How much does Elon Musk make per minute?

As of Nov. 16, 2021, Musk's wealth had increased $110 billion since the beginning of 2021, meaning Musk has been adding an average of $344 million daily to his fortune. Breaking that down further reveals the Tesla chief has made an average of 14 million per hour and almost $300,000 a minute in 2021.

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Will Musk be the first trillionaire?

In addition to swapping positions several times at the top of billionaires’ list, Musk and Bezos have invested in competing businesses. Bezos backs Tesla’s EV rival Rivian, which now seeks to lead the electric pickup truck market, and Musk and Bezos run rival space exploration companies—SpaceX for Musk and Blue Origin for Bezos.

SpaceX, which develops reusable rockets and has secured lucrative contracts with NASA, helps NASA transport its scientists and cargo to the International Space Station. SpaceX is also planning a moon mission with NASA. The company is expected to contribute the bulk of Musk’s future wealth, and Morgan Stanley analysts have predicted that it could make Musk the world’s first trillionaire.

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