Elon Musk Makes More Money a Second Than Some People See in a Month

Mohit Oberoi, CFA - Author

Apr. 25 2022, Published 11:49 a.m. ET

In 2021, Elon Musk became the world’s richest person and passed Amazon founder Jeff Bezos who held the crown since 2017. While Bezos briefly retook the title during the year, Musk strengthened his position as the year progressed thanks to the nearly 50 percent rally in Tesla stock.

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Amazon stock rose by about 2 percent in the year, which only widened the wealth gap between Bezos and Musk, who aren't exactly friends. How much money does Musk make every second? Here's a hint, it's more than some people make in one month. Keep reading to see how his earnings break down.

Elon Musk is the richest person ever.

In November 2021, Musk's net worth surpassed $300 billion amid the spike in Tesla stock. He became the first person to reach that feat. While Musk is the richest person ever in absolute terms, in inflation-adjusted terms, Mansa Musa is believed to be the richest person ever.

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Musk triggered a sell-off in Tesla stock in November 2021 with his offer to sell a 10 percent stake in Tesla. Musk ended up selling billions of dollars worth of Tesla stock after the majority of his Twitter followers voted in favor of him selling the shares.

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Musk doesn't get a salary.

As ironic as it may sound, Musk doesn't get a salary or bonus from Tesla. He also doesn't get any salary from SpaceX. He is a cash-poor billionaire who either borrows against Tesla shares or sells some of his holdings to generate cash.

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Elon Musk gets generous stock options.

Musk’s compensation at Tesla is in the form of ESOPs, which are tied to several milestones including the company’s market cap and profitability. Tesla has been posting record profits and its market cap is near $1 trillion. No other automaker in history has even come close to Tesla.

Reuters reported that after Tesla’s record profits in the first quarter of 2022, Musk would end up making a profit of $23 billion on his stock options. Over the last year, Musk has unlocked billions of dollars of stock options. He had to sell Tesla shares in 2021 to meet the tax bill on these stock options. Musk generated $16.4 billion by selling Tesla shares and made a $6 billion donation in order to lower the tax bill.

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How much money did Musk make in 2021?

Meanwhile, a better gauge of how much money Musk has been making would be to look at his net worth. Musk’s net worth was just above $27 billion at the beginning of 2020, which skyrocketed to $156 billion by the end of the year thanks to the 740 percent rally in Tesla stock that year. Musk ended 2021 with a net worth of $277 billion.

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Musk added $129 billion to his net worth in 2020 and $121 billion in 2021. Apart from Tesla, the soaring valuation of Musk’s privately held companies, especially SpaceX, has been adding to his already humongous net worth.

How much money does Musk make every second?

Since Musk’s compensation is volatile, we’ll look at his net worth instead to gauge how much money has been making. In 2021, Musk made $331 million every day on average. Drilling further, the mercurial business czar made $13.8 million every hour and $3,833 every second. To put that in perspective, the average American makes just above $5,500 per month.


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