Currently, the second richest man alive after Bernard Arnault, Elon Musk is one of the most influential people on the planet. He built his wealth as an inventor, investor, and business magnate. He is the head of Tesla, SpaceX, The Boring Company and Twitter. As of 2023, Elon Musk has a net worth of $146.5 billion according to Forbes.
Elon Reeve Musk was born in Pretoria, South Africa, on June 28, 1971. His estranged father, Errol, was an electromechanical engineer, and his mother, Maye, is a model. He has a brother named Kimbal and a sister called Tosca who are both successful in their own right.
Elon’s dad allegedly co-owned an emerald mine in Zambia, because of this, he grew up in a wealthy household. He stayed with his father after his parents split up in 1980. At age 12, he learned computer programming and graduated from South Africa’s Pretoria Boys High School.
In 1990, he moved to Canada to attend Queen’s University. He transferred to the University of Pennsylvania and got physics and economics degrees in 1997. Two years prior, he got accepted into a Ph.D. program at Stanford University, but left to start an internet business.
Elon Musk, his brother Kimbal, and entrepreneur Greg Kouri founded the online business directory Zip2 in 1995. It became a success, and the Musk brothers inked deals with Chicago Tribune and The New York Times. In 1999, Zip2 was bought by Compaq for $307 million.
After selling Zip2, Musk launched one of the first federally approved online payment services, X.com. He was the company’s first CEO, but was later replaced by business executive Bill Harris.
Musk returned to his original position when X.com merged with PayPal. His behavior caused PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel to resign. Thiel replaced Musk in 2001, and PayPal became the official name of the merged companies. PayPal was acquired by eBay in 2002 for $1.5 billion.
The accomplished businessman joined the Mars Society, a non-profit organization, in 2001. This initiated him to create SpaceX in 2002. The company became responsible for some of humanity’s recent space exploration accomplishments in modern history.
In 2004, Elon Musk became chairman of the board of directors of Tesla, Inc. After the financial crisis in 2008, he became the CEO and product architect of the company, replacing the co-founder Martin Eberhard.
Under Musk’s leadership, Tesla became known for its futuristic electric sports cars. It eventually became the most valued automobile manufacturer. This enabled Elon to start other pursuits.
Inspired by Elon’s idea, his cousins, Peter and Lyndon Rive, created the solar energy provider SolarCity in 2006. Tesla, Inc. acquired the company to create Tesla Energy in 2016.
In the same year, he set up two new innovative companies: Neuralink, a neurotechnology firm, and The Boring Company, an infrastructure, and tunnel company. In April 2022, Elon offered to acquire Twitter for $43 billion but later tried to pull out of the deal. A lawsuit ensued and Musk had no choice but to proceed with the acquisition.
Apart from business investments, Elon Musk also puts his money into crypto. He’s a big supporter of the meme-inspired crypto Dogecoin and owns some Bitcoin and Ethereum.
Net Worth and Earnings
Elon doesn’t take a salary as the CEO of Tesla but instead has stock options. In 2021, he was compensated around $23.5 billion by exercising his stock options. Over the last year, Musk has sold $40 billion in Tesla stock to fund the acquisition of Twitter. As a result, Tesla’s share price dropped significantly as his attention has been diverted away from the electric car company.
As for SpaceX, the space company is currently worth $140 billion, and Musk has a 44% stake in it. Adding all this to his other ventures and crypto investments makes him the second richest man with a $146.5 billion fortune.
Musk first married author Justine Wilson in 2000. In 2002, their first child was born, Nevada Alexander, but died after ten weeks. Then they had twins Griffin and Xavier and triplets Damian, Saxon, and Kai. Elon and Justine sadly divorced in 2008 but two years later, Elon married Talulah Riley.
They divorced in 2012, remarried a year later, and divorced again in 2016. In 2017, Musk dated Amber Heard for a few months and he later got into a relationship with musician Grimes in 2018. In 2020, they had their child, who is unusually named X Æ A-Xii. Elon owns a lavish home in Texas but sometimes stays in a $50,000 modular mini house in Boca Chica.