Why Is Elon Musk's Net Worth So High?

By Joseph White

Published June 13, 2024

Why Is Elon Musk's Net Worth So High?

Elon Musk is a South African-born entrepreneur, inventor, and visionary known for his groundbreaking work in the fields of electric vehicles, space exploration, and sustainable energy. Musk has a net worth of $188.5 billion as of March 2024, which makes him the third richest person in the world. He had previously held the title of the richest person in the world until the founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, passed him at the beginning of March and regained the top spot for the first time since 2021.

Musk's large net worth is largely thanks to companies that he has co-founded or owns, such as Tesla, SpaceX, X (formerly Twitter), Neuralink, and The Boring Company. Out of these companies, Tesla is responsible for the majority of his wealth, with a contribution of $127 billion.


In recent years, Elon Musk has expanded his involvement in artificial intelligence, demonstrating a multifaceted approach to its development and application. Notably, SpaceX's collaboration with Larry Ellison's Oracle signifies Musk's foray into AI-driven solutions for agriculture. 

Moreover, Musk's venture, XAI, marked a significant milestone by making its "truth-seeking" chatbot, Grok, an open-source platform. This move comes amid Musk's legal actions against OpenAI, the developers of ChatGPT, indicating his determination to shape the landscape of AI technology.

Musk's recognition extends to the social and cultural spheres, as he is scheduled to receive the Ruth Bader Ginsburg Leadership Award, also known as the RBG Award, at the Library of Congress gala on April 13. 


Net Worth$188.5 billion
SalaryN/A
Date of BirthJune 28, 1971
Place of BirthPretoria, South Africa
GenderMale
Height5' 7"
ProfessionBusinessman
NationalityAmerican and South African
MarriedDivorced
Children8
No. of Houses5
No. of Cars11+
No. of Awards37

What Is Elon Musk’s Net Worth?

As of March 2024, Elon Musk's net worth is estimated to be around $188.5 billion according to Forbes Real-Time Billionaires List.

This makes him the third-richest person in the world, trailing behind Bernard Arnault and Jeff Bezos, who have a net worth of $235.5 billion and $192.8 billion, respectively.

Musk held the title of the richest person in the world since May 2023. This year, he initially lost his title to Bernard Arnault at the end of January after Bernard had gained around $22 billion, while Elon lost around $18 billion in a single day. 

Elon would regain his top spot soon, though. It was not until the first week of March that he was dethroned again, but by Jeff Bezos this time. After that, he was even overtaken by Bernard and settled in 3rd place, which is a spot he has not been at since Aug. 19, 2021.


Where Does Musk's Fortune Come From?

The majority of Elon Musk's wealth comes from his ownership stakes in SpaceX, Tesla, Twitter, The Boring Company, Neuralink, and SolarCity.

The majority of Elon Musk's wealth comes from his ownership stakes in SpaceX and Tesla, both of which have seen significant growth in recent years. 

He currently holds 20.5% equity in Tesla, which is calculated to be 411.06 million shares and 303.96 million exercisable options. This equals $77 billion in shares and $49.8 billion in options, totaling about $127 billion.

Furthermore, Elon owns 42% of the privately owned SpaceX, which currently holds a value of $180 billion. He owns a 42% stake in the company, which translates to $71.2 billion.

In 2022, Musk bought Twitter for $44 billion. He would later rename the company to X. He owns a 79% stake in the company, which is valued at $13 billion. Musk also owns a $3.3 billion stake in The Boring Company. Besides these companies, he also owns a stake in Neuralink and SolarCity.


Fun Fact: Musk Played himself in Iron Man 2. He was seen in a cameo sharing screen space with Robert Downey Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow.


Early Success With Zip2 and PayPal

In 1996, Elon Musk co-founded a web software company, Zip2. Three years later, the company was acquired by Compaq for nearly $300 million.

Elon Musk started an online bank called X.com in 1999. It was merged with Confinity to create PayPal, which would then be acquired by eBay for $1.5 billion.

Elon's first big undertaking was web software company called Global Link Information Network 1996. This was later renamed as Zip2. Musk founded this company alongside his brothers Kimbal and Greg Kouri.

Musk's role in Zip2 involved developing the company's technology and forging strategic partnerships, ultimately leading to its acquisition by Compaq for nearly $307 million in 1999. Musk earned his first significant financial windfall after the sale, $22 million for his 7-percent share of the company.

Following the success of Zip2, Musk ventured into the realm of online payments with X.com, a startup he founded in March 1999. He started the company with $12 million of the $22 million he made from the Compaq acquisition. X.com would later merge with Confinity, a company known for its payment service PayPal, forming the new entity PayPal, Inc.

PayPal would be acquired by eBay in 2002 for $1.5 billion in stock. Musk, who was the largest shareholder with almost 12%, earned himself his biggest payday to date, $175.8 million.


Continued Success With SpaceX

SpaceX was founded by Elon Musk in 2002 with the goal of revolutionizing space exploration. As of 2024, SpaceX has a valuation of $180 billion.

Of the $175 million Elon earned after the sale of PayPal, he invested around $100 million to create a space exploration company called SpaceX. The goal of the company was to revolutionize space exploration and make humanity a multiplanetary species. By 2006, SpaceX had received $278 million from NASA under the agency's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) demonstration program. This helped speed up the development of their rocket systems.

SpaceX failed at their first three attempts at launching a rocket into Earth's orbit. This almost caused them to go bankrupt. They eventually succeeded in 2008 with the successful launch of Falcon 1 into orbit. Around this time, Elon had around $30 million left to spend, which he decided to split between SpaceX and Tesla. Thankfully, the company received more funding after NASA signed a contract for 12 flights (worth $1.6 billion).

Since receiving that funding, SpaceX has continued to innovate and has grown exponentially to become one of the most valuable U.S. telecommunications companies. In July 2023, SpaceX reached a valuation of $150 billion, and by December 2023, it hit a peak valuation of $180 billion. Elon owns around 42% of the company, which roughly translates to $70 billion of his net worth.

Reaching New Heights With Tesla

Elon Musk joined Tesla, Inc., in 2004, and under his leadership, the company would become the most valuable carmaker in the world.

Elon Musk's passion for sustainability and renewable energy led him to join Tesla, Inc., in 2004. Elon invested $6.5 million of the $7.5 million received by the company's Series A financing round in February 2004. This led to his becoming chairman of the board of directors.

He would lead another three rounds of investments from February 2005 to May 2008, which brought the total funding to around $100 million. By this point, Elon had invested $70 million of his own money in Tesla. He would also be named as the CEO of the company, and under Musk's leadership, Tesla made electric cars mainstream by revolutionizing the industry with innovative technology and compelling design. 

Tesla went public on July 29, 2010. 13,300,000 shares of common stock were made available for the public at a price of US$17.00 per share. Tesla ended up raising $226 million because of the IPO. By the end of 2010, Tesla had a market cap of $2.52 billion. By 2012, it had reached a market cap of almost $4 billion, which helped Elon become a billionaire.

After that, the stock of the company kept rising significantly, and by summer 2020, it had become the most valuable carmaker in the world. In October 2021, it became the seventh company to reach a market cap of $1 trillion. Elon achieved his peak net worth of $340 billion during this period. As of March 2024, Tesla had a valuation of $539.75 billion.

Other Investments Made By Elon Musk

Elon Musk's investment portfolio extends far beyond SpaceX and Tesla, encompassing a diverse array of ventures spanning various industries. Here are some notable examples:

X (formerly Twitter)

One of his most famous recent acquisitions was X (formerly Twitter). The whole acquisition process took more than 6 months. He ended up buying the company for $44 billion, which he admits was an overpayment. As of February 2024, X is worth 71.5% less than what Elon paid for it back in 2022.

Neuralink

Musk founded Neuralink in 2016 with the ambitious goal of developing brain-computer interface technology. According to some reports, the company had received $158 million in investments by 2019, out of which $100 was from Elon himself. According to a June 2023 valuation, the company was worth $5 billion.

The Boring Company

Founded by Musk in 2016 as a subsidiary of SpaceX in 2017, The Boring Company focuses on tunnel construction and infrastructure development aimed at alleviating traffic congestion in urban areas. The company was started with an initial funding of $113 million, out of which Elon invested $102 million himself. As of the report that came out in October 2023, the company has a valuation of $7 billion.

SolarCity (now part of Tesla)

Elon Musk played a significant role in SolarCity, a solar energy services company founded by his cousins in 2006. Elon led a $10 million investment in SolarCity out of which he put in about $9 million of his own money. In 2016, Tesla acquired SolarCity for $2.6 billion, integrating its solar energy expertise into Tesla's clean energy initiatives, such as solar panels and energy storage products.

OpenAI

Musk has been involved with OpenAI, an artificial intelligence research organization, since its inception in 2015. He initially co-founded the organization and donated close to $50 million during his time with the company. He later departed from the board in 2018 to avoid potential conflicts of interest with Tesla's AI initiatives. In January 2024, Musk sued OpenAI for “prioritizing profits over public good,” which is a shift from OpenAI's original mission.

Starlink

Musk's SpaceX launched Starlink, a satellite internet constellation project, with the aim of providing high-speed internet access to underserved and remote areas worldwide. As Starlink is part of SpaceX, there is no company valuation available to the public.

xAI

xAI is Elon’s latest investment and was founded by him in March 2023. As of March 2024, the company has raised $134.7 million in funding. They also made their AI chatbot, Grok, open source. Grok is a chatbot integrated with X.


Cars Owned By Elon Musk Over The Years

Elon Musk’s car collection includes 1997 McLaren F1, 2019 Tesla Model S Performance, 1920 Ford Model T and 2012 Porsche 911 Turbo

Elon Musk's most expensive car was the McLaren F1 that he bought for $1 million

It might come as a surprise to some people, but Tesla CEO Elon Musk does own cars besides Teslas in his garage. In fact, he owned more than 10 cars, with their combined value being more than $3 million.

This estimated value was mostly because of the McLaren F1 he bought in 1999, after he sold Zip2 to Compaq for nearly $300 million. Elon once crashed the car in 2000, trying to impress PayPal Co-Founder Peter Thiel by demonstrating the car’s capabilities. He bought the car for around $1 million and ended up selling it in 2007 for a profit because he thought owning a gas-powered sports car would conflict with his image as the CEO of Tesla.  If Elon had kept the McLaren F1 until now, he could have sold it for more than $15 million. That being said, let's take a look at some of the cars he has owned over the years.

  • 1978 BMW 320i: Elon's first car was a 1978 BMW 320i. Apparently, he bought the car for around $1,400. He ended up selling the car after finding out that one of his interns at Zip2 crashed it.
  • Tesla Model S Performance: In a 2019 tweet, Elon Musk stated that the Tesla Model S Performance was his daily driver. So it's not a surprise that he has been spotted driving the Model S numerous times.
  • 1976 Lotus Esprit ‘Wet Nellie’: Elon was smitten by the iconic and barely functional car-cum-submarine after he witnessed Bond transform the Lotus Esprit into an amphibious vehicle with the press of a button in "The Spy Who Loved Me." He ended up buying the car for $1 million after it was put up for auction in 2013.
  • Ford Model T: In addition to his high-performance cars, Musk also owns a 1920 Ford Model T, which is one of the most iconic cars in automotive history. He was reportedly gifted this car by one of his friends in 2013. The original cost of the Model T was $850 back in 1920. Now it's estimated to have a value of $15,000.

If you are curious to learn more about the rest of the cars in Elon's Musk garage, click here.


Fun Fact: Elon Musk purchased James Bond’s Lotus Esprit submarine car. The car was just a movie prop in "The Spy Who Loved Me" starring Roger Moore. Musk even expressed his intensions of having the it transformed into an actual submarine car.


Elon Musk’s Real Estate Portfolio Worth $137 Million

From 2012 to 2017, Elon bought a total of eight houses scattered across prime neighborhoods like Bel Air, Brentwood, and San Francisco. He spent somewhere in the neighborhood of $80 million buying these houses. He sold all of his houses by 2021 for a combined total of $137 million, which meant that he made a cool profit of more than $50 million. Elon’s reasoning for selling his houses was that he wanted to sell his belongings in order to help fund his plans to one day build a colony on Mars. Let's take a look at all of the houses that Elon Musk used to own:

  • Bel Air Colonial mansion: Elon’s first venture into real estate came with a Bel Air Colonial mansion that he bought for $17 million in late 2012. Elon had rented this house for around 2 years to live there with his sons before finalizing its purchase. Elon ended up selling the house in June 2020 to a Chinese billionaire and CEO of online gaming firm NetEase, William Ding, for $29.72 million.
  • Gene Wilder's former home: Musk bought Gene Wilder’s former house in 2013 for $6.75 million. The house was located in Bel Air and was directly opposite his main house. Musk would later turn the house into a private school—named AdAstra—which was for his children and the children of some of the SpaceX and Tesla employees. Musk ended up selling the house to Gene Wilder’s nephew, Walker-Pealman, and his wife, Elizabeth Hunter, for $7 million in October of 2020. According to some reports, Elon also agreed to loan the couple $6.7 million to help them buy the house.
  • Brentwood House: Elon bought a boomerang-shaped house in Brentwood, California, with his then wife, Talulah Riley, for $3.7 million in 2014. The house was located 15 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles. Elon ended up selling the house for $4 million in August 2019.
  • Historic Hillsborough estate: Elon bought an incredible nine-bed, nine-bath historic estate known as Guignécourt for $23.364 million in 2017. The property is located 20 minutes south of San Francisco and sits on a sprawling 19-hectare lot. Entrepreneur Kirill Evstratov bought the property from Musk for $30 million in November 2021.
  • Four Bel-Air mansions: In the space of four years, Elon bought four mansions close to each other in Bel-Air. The first purchase came in 2015, and it was a six-bedroom house on a 3.41-acre lot for $20 million. He bought a modest ranch house on an adjacent street in July 2015 for $4.3 million. In 2016, Musk bought an unfinished mansion for $24.25 million. His final purchase came two years later, when he bought a colonial-style, two-story home built with a white brick facade for $4.2 million. A colonial-style, two-story home built with a white brick facade is estimated to be worth $4.2 million. Elon listed these four houses for a collective $62.5 million on Zillow in May 2020. In December of the same year, luxury property developer Ardie Tavangarian bought all four houses for $61.88 million.

Currently, Elon lives in a small house near the SpaceX launch site in south Texas. There were some reports that Elon was living in a Boxabl, a prefabricated house worth $50,000, which he initially denied. Later in July 2022, Elon said that he does have a Boxabal, but he uses it as a guest house.

How Does Musk Stack Up Against Other Billionaires?

Elon Musk, Bernard Arnault, Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg

Elon Musk's net worth is estimated to be over $188.5 billion as of March 2024. His wealth primarily stems from his ownership stakes in various companies, including Tesla, SpaceX, Twitter, Neuralink, and The Boring Company. Musk's fortune has surged in recent years, driven by Tesla's soaring stock price and SpaceX's successful ventures in space exploration and satellite deployment.

Bernard Arnault vs. Elon Musk

Bernard Arnault is currently the richest person in the world, with a net worth of $235.5 billion. Bernard Arnault is the chairman and CEO of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE, which oversees 75 luxury brands, including Tiffany & Co., Fendi, Givenchy, and Marc Jacobs. Arnault owns a 97.5% stake in Christian Dior, which in turn holds around 43% of shares and 59.01% of voting rights within LVMH.

Jeff Bezos vs. Elon Musk

Bezos, with a net worth of $192.8 billion, is the second richest person in the world, a spot in which he keeps trading with Elon. His wealth is largely due to his ownership of Amazon, the e-commerce behemoth. As of 2024, he owned just under 10% of the company. Bezos also founded an aerospace manufacturer and sub-orbital spaceflight services company called Blue Origin and bought the major American newspaper The Washington Post in 2013. He also has investments in various companies through his venture capital firm, Bezos Expeditions.

Mark Zuckerberg Vs. Elon Musk

Mark Zuckerberg is currently the fourth richest person in the world, with a net worth of $173.8. The co-founder and CEO of Meta Platforms, Inc. (formerly Facebook), has gained nearly $54 billion just this year, and it won’t be soon before he challenges for the title of the richest person in the world. As of 2024, he owns a 13% stake in Meta.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, Elon Musk's net worth places him among the top three wealthiest individuals globally, a spot he frequently trades with Jeff Bezos, Bernard Arnault, and soon enough, Mark Zuckerberg. As Musk continues to push the boundaries of technology and exploration, his net worth is likely to further soar, so it won’t be surprising to anyone if he reclaims the spot of the richest person in the world.

NameElon MuskBernard ArnaultJeff BezosMark Zuckerberg
Current Net Worth$188.5 billion$235.5 billion$192.8 billion$173.8 billion
Peak Net Worth$340 billion$242.2 billion$211 billion$182 billion
Notable companies ownedSpaceX, Tesla, X, The Boring Company, PayPal, Zip2Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co, Marc JacobsAmazon, Blue Origin, The Washington PostMeta
Total Number. of Companies Owned and/or under control7751794
Billionaire status earned in which year2012199719982008

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FAQs

What companies does Elon Musk own?

Elon Musk own SpaceX, Tesla, Neuralink, and The Boring Company. He has also been involved in other ventures, such as Twitter, SolarCity, Zip2 and PayPal.

What is SpaceX?

SpaceX is a private space exploration company founded by Elon Musk. The company designs, manufactures, and launches spacecraft to eventually colonize Mars.

What is a Tesla?

Tesla is an electric vehicle and clean energy company founded by Elon Musk. The company produces electric cars, solar products, and energy storage systems.

What is Neuralink?

Neuralink is a neurotechnology company founded by Elon Musk. The company is developing brain-computer interfaces to allow humans to communicate with computers and other machines directly through their thoughts.

What is Elon Musk's net worth?

As of 2024, Elon Musk's net worth is estimated to be over $188.5 billion, making him the wealthiest person in the world.

How much did Elon Musk pay for Twitter?

Elon Musk paid $44 billion for Twitter. He currently owns around 79% of the company.

How much did Elon Musk sell PayPal for?

EBay purchased PayPal for around $1.5 billion in 2022. Elon Musk was the majority shareholder in the company, with around 12% of the shares. He made $175 million from the deal.

How much is SpaceX currently worth?

SpaceX is valued at $180 billion, according to its most recent evaluation.

How much is Tesla currently worth?

Tesla is valued at $539 billion, according to its most recent evaluation.

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