What is Elon Musk's Net Worth?

He is the billionaire behind Tesla, Space X, and most recently, Twitter, but what is Elon Musk’s net worth and how did he make his money?

Tesla CEO Elon Musk
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Undoubtedly one of the most enigmatic business figures of our era, Elon Musk’s net worth comes down to his ground-breaking ventures and repeated success in scaling-up innovative businesses. He is the mind behind some of the most revolutionary companies currently operating, including SpaceX, Tesla, SolarCity, and The Boring Company. 

According to Forbes, Elon Musk has a net worth of over $187bn, making him one of the richest people on the planet. But his headline-grabbing business practices often see his overall monetary value fluctuate. Nevertheless, he is one of the most prominent billionaires and consistently amongst the wealthiest in the world.

So, how did Elon Musk make his money?

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How Elon Musk built his fortune

Born in South Africa in 1971, Musk moved to the US at the age of 17 to attend college, gaining degrees in physics and economics. He soon founded his first company, Zip2 — an online business directory service. This venture quickly made Musk very wealthy and he sold the business to Compaq for around $300m in 1999.

This cash was then used to kickstart his next venture, X.com, which later became PayPal (PYPL). In 2002, eBay (EBAY) acquired the online payment firm for $1.5bn, and the same year, Musk founded SpaceX.

A year later, he co-founded one of his most well-known companies — electric car manufacturer Tesla (TSLA). It is this business, in particular, that’s behind Musk’s stratospheric rise up the global rich lists, with shares reaching around $400 at their peak in November 2021.

Beyond Tesla and SpaceX, Musk has involvement in several other companies, including solar panel installation firm SolarCity and underground transportation firm The Boring Company.

The Rise of Tesla 

Tesla is now a household name down to Musk’s determination for it to be the world’s leading manufacturer of electric vehicles (EVs). In part due to innovation, cutting-edge technology, and advanced manufacturing processes, Tesla quickly gained traction within the nascent EV market in the mid-2010s and has since gone on to become a market leader.

By positioning the company as a leader in sustainable transportation, Musk has steered Tesla towards success, delivering him huge wealth in the process.

He used this wealth to make what many see as his most controversial business decision — the acquisition of Twitter in 2022 for around $44bn.

Market reaction to the deal was mixed, but many saw Musk’s move as rash. As such, Tesla's stock market value sank by over $100 billion the day following the deal, causing Musk to lose around $30 billion of his net worth.

Is Elon Musk the world’s richest person?

Elon Musk’s entrepreneurial spirit, ability to innovate, and willingness to take risks have seen him rapidly rise up the ranks of the world’s richest people. So much so, that despite his Twitter woes he is second in Forbes’ index of billionaires, behind only French fashion magnate Bernard Arnault.

Arnault and his family have a fortune of $220.7bn, according to Forbes — more than $30bn greater than Musk’s fortune.

Musk is wealthier than Jeff Bezos ($137.8bn), Larry Ellison ($129.5bn), and Bill Gates ($114.0bn) 

Despite the controversies surrounding Musk's management style, he has remained near the top of global rich lists while maintaining his relevance as a global business disruptor. So while he may not be the world’s richest person today, he is always a contender for the top spot and has earned his place amongst the world’s leading billionaires. 

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Tom Higgins

Tom is a journalist and writer with an interest in sustainability, economic policy and pensions, looking into how personal finances can be used to make a positive impact. He graduated from Goldsmiths, University of London, with a BA in journalism before moving to a financial content agency. His work has appeared in titles Investment Week and Money Marketing, as well as social media copy for Reuters and Bloomberg in addition to corporate content for financial giants including Mercer, State Street Global Advisors and the PLSA. He has also written for the  Financial Times Group.

When not working out of the Future’s Cardiff office, Tom can be found exploring the hills and coasts of South Wales but is sometimes east of the border supporting Bristol Rovers.