Elon Musk Is the World’s Richest Person, Plans to Keep the Title

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Oct. 29 2021, Published 11:00 a.m. ET

Thanks to the wave of new listings and record-high U.S. stock markets, wealthy individuals, who have most of their wealth tied in stocks, have added billions of dollars to their net worth over the last year. There has also been a shakeup in billionaire rankings and Tesla CEO Elon Musk has strengthened his position as the world’s richest person. What’s his net worth and will he keep the top ranking?

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Elon Musk

Tesla CEO

Net worth: $283 billion

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is among the most popular business leaders. He has surpassed Jeff Bezos to become the world's richest person. Many people now believe that he could become the first trillionaire.

Before Musk, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos was the world’s richest person for three straight years after he surpassed Bill Gates in global net worth rankings. Bezos remained the richest person in 2021 but was briefly passed by Musk in the first quarter of 2021.

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Who is the world’s richest person?

Musk has convincingly moved ahead of Bezos in billionaire rankings. According to Forbes, Musk's net worth was $283 billion as of Oct. 28, which was almost $85 billion higher than Bezos.

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The gap between the two billionaires, who don’t exactly share a good relationship, is set to widen more since Amazon stock is trading sharply lower on Oct. 29. The company’s top line and bottom line missed the estimates in the third quarter. Its fourth-quarter guidance was also below par.

Amazon versus Tesla stock

Amazon is the worst-performing FAANG stock in 2021. In contrast, Tesla is outperforming EV stocks. While many EV stocks are trading with a YTD loss and all of the leading names are trading at a significant discount to the 52-week highs, TSLA stock has jumped to new record highs. The company is the latest entrant to the $1 trillion market cap club and has risen to a record high.

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Why Elon Musk looks set to stay at the top of the billionaire rankings

With his net worth approaching $300 billion, Musk has become the richest person ever. He looks set to stay at the top of the rankings for some time based on the momentum in Tesla stock.

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Pessimists might scoff at TSLA’s $1 trillion market cap. No automaker in history has commanded that valuation and Tesla is worth more than all of the leading automakers combined. Even Tesla bears like JPMorgan also acknowledged the strong execution where Tesla delivered a record number of cars in the third quarter of 2021 when every other automaker struggled amid the chip shortage.

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Apart from the continued momentum in Tesla stock, the future listings of other privately-held Musk companies like SpaceX would help him keep at the top of the global billionaire rankings.

Will Musk become the first trillionaire?

Many people speculate about who will become the first trillionaire. Chamath Palihapitiya had forecast that the world’s first trillionaire would come from the clean energy industry. Long-time Tesla bull and Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jones also thinks that Musk could become the world’s first trillionaire.

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“More than one client has told us if Elon Musk were to become the first trillionaire ... it won’t be because of Tesla. Others have said SpaceX may eventually be the most highly valued company in the world – in any industry,” said Jones.

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While there are still a lot of Musk haters, it can't be denied that Musk has positioned Tesla at the forefront of the green energy transformation. From selling about 50,000 cars in 2015, Tesla’s annual run rate is now close to 1 million cars. As the Berlin and Texas Gigafactories come online, the deliveries will rise more.

If any person has a realistic chance of becoming the world’s first trillionaire by the end of this decade, it certainly has to be Musk.

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