Elon Musk Is Among the Richest in the World — Was He Born Rich?

For years, Elon Musk has been listed as one of the top five richest people in the world. Was the Tesla founder born rich? We've got the answers.

Anuradha Garg - Author

Feb. 17 2023, Updated 12:04 p.m. ET

Elon Musk
Source: Getty Images

Tesla and Twitter CEO Elon Musk has leapfrogged to become the second-richest person in the world. After passing Bill Gates and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, he's now trailing Bernard Arnault (the three continuously fluctuate positions). His fortunes have grown considerably thanks to Tesla's stock behavior and the acquisition of Twitter for $44 billion. But was Musk born rich?

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Musk has managed to maintain his position as one of the world's wealthiest people given the frugal life he leads (yes, we said frugal). He doesn't spend money on exotic vacations or costly hobbies, as per Insider. Instead, Musk focuses his attention on working. He also doesn't have a ton of materialistic assets to his name except four private jets and one house. Could Musk's current lifestyle be a reflection of him growing up without much money?

Where was Elon Musk born? Was he born rich?

Musk was born on June 28, 1971, in Pretoria, South Africa. His mother, Maye Musk, was born in Canada but she was raised in South Africa. Musk’s father, Errol Musk, was a South African electromechanical engineer, pilot, sailor, consultant, and property developer.

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Were Elon Musk's parent's rich?

Musk belonged to an upper-middle-class family in South Africa. So, while they were wealthy enough to have a comfortable lifestyle, they couldn't support Musk after he moved to Canada. Musk didn't get his early money from his parents for startups. There are many myths surrounding Musk’s parents' financial wealth.

One rumor is that his father owned an emerald mine, which Musk denied. He actually worked his way through college and had $100,000 in student debt.

How did Elon Musk start and build his career?

Musk had an early inclination towards computers and entrepreneurship. At 12 years old, he created a video game and sold it to a computer magazine. He left South Africa when he was 17 years old. He moved to Canada and attended Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. In 1992, he transferred to the University of Pennsylvania. He received bachelor's degrees in physics and economics.

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Musk also enrolled in graduate school to study physics at Stanford University. He left after only two days because he thought that the internet had more potential to bring change than physics. Musk started Zip2, his first enterprise, which was a searchable business directory. In 1999, Compaq Computer Corp. purchased Zip2 for $307 million.

Musk used the money from selling Zip2 to found X.com, an online financial services platform, which merged with Confinity in 2000. Later, it became Paypal, which eBay purchased in 2002 for $1.5 billion. Musk started SpaceX in 2002 and Tesla Motors in 2003. He founded Neuralink in 2016 and The Boring Company in 2017.

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What is Elon Musk's net worth?

Musk’s net worth has been a talking point for many people for years mainly because of his status and accomplishments. According to Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Musk's net worth is $183 billion. In November 2020, he watched his net worth increase by a whopping $13.7 billion! And after the announcement of Tesla’s inclusion in the S&P 500, the stock surged.

Much of Musk's net worth is tied up in Tesla stock. He currently holds just over a 13 percent stake in Tesla, though he also has SpaceX, Twitter, and the handful of other companies he owns to fall back on.

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