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Elon Musk Net Worth and Salary


Elon Musk is a South African-born Canadian-American businessman, inventor and investor who has a net worth of $150 billion. Though he wears many hats and is constantly topping his latest project, he is currently best-known for being as the CEO and CTO of SpaceX, CEO and chief product architect of Tesla Motors and chairman of SolarCity. He is also one of the wealthiest people on the planet.

As of this writing Elon Musk owns roughly 20% of Tesla’s outstanding shares and 48% of the privately-held SpaceX.

When Elon’s net worth topped $70 billion for the first time on July 10, 2020, roughly $15 billion was attributable to the privately-held SpaceX and the remaining $55 billion was from Tesla. On July 13, 2020 when Elon’s net worth hit $80 billion for the first time, $15 billion came from SpaceX and $65 billion came from Tesla.

In August 2020 two important factors pushed Elon’s net worth above $90 billion for the first time. First, in mid-August Tesla shares hit an all-time high of $1,900. At that level the company’s total market cap was $350 billion. Elon’s 20% stake was worth $70 billion. The second factor was an increased valuation of SpaceX which was officially confirmed on August 18, 2020. The fundraising round increased SpaceX’s private valuation to $46 billion, up from $36 billion. At a valuation of $46 billion, Elon’s 48% stake adds $22 billion in pre-tax wealth to Elon’s net worth.

On November 17, 2020 Elon surpassed Mark Zuckerberg to become the third-richest person on the planet for the first time.

On November 24, 2020 Elon’s net worth topped $128 billion for the first time. At that point he surpassed Bill Gates to become to the second-richest person in the world for the first time. On that day he was $54 billion away from Jeff Bezos’ $184 billion net worth and his net worth had officially increased $100 billion since January 1, 2020.

Tesla Salary: Elon takes no salary as CEO of Tesla. He instead has a highly unusual and potentially extremely lucrative bonus plan tied to the company’s market cap milestones. When the plan was forged, Tesla was worth around $50 billion. If and when Tesla reached a market cap of $100 billion – and held that value for six months, Elon would be given a bonus of just under $600 million. There are 12 total milestones based on $50 billion market cap increases. If Elon hits every single milestone (there is no time restriction), he has the ability to earn $100 billion in bonuses.

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Early Life: Elon Musk was born June 28, 1971 in Pretoria, South Africa. Musk bought his first computer at the age of 10 and taught himself how to program. When he was 12 he made his first software sale—a game he created called Blaster. At age 17, in 1989, he moved to Canada to attend Queen’s University, but left in 1992 to study business and physics at the University of Pennsylvania. Musk graduated with an undergraduate degree in economics and continued on to earn a second bachelor’s degree in physics then pursued a PhD in energy physics. He dropped out of Stanford University, however, to become a part of the internet boom.

Success: Musk’s first company, Zip2 Corporation, was an online city guide. In 1999 a division of Compaq Computer bought Zip2 for $307 million in cash and $34 million in stock options. Also in 1999, Musk co-founded, an online financial services/payments company. An acquisition the following year led to the creation of PayPal, as it is known today, and in 2002 PayPal was acquired by eBay for $1.5 billion in stock.

Musk founded his third company, Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX), in 2002 with the intention of building spacecraft for commercial space travel. By 2008, SpaceX was well-established and NASA awarded the company the contract to handle cargo transport for the International Space Station—with plans for astronaut transport in the future.

Next was Tesla Motors, an automobile company dedicated to producing affordable, mass-market electric cars. Tesla was founded in 2003 by Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning. Elon along with Ian Wright and J.B. Straubel were the company’s first employees and retroactively named co-founders.

With a stake in the company taken by Daimler and a strategic partnership with Toyota, Tesla Motors launched its initial public offering in June 2010, raising $226 million. In 2012, Musk and SpaceX made history when the company launched its Falcon 9 rocket into space with an unmanned capsule. In 2013, he released a concept for a new form of transportation called the Hyperloop, intended for travel at speeds greater than 700 mph to commute between major cities. As opposed to railroads, the Hyperloop would use tubes for transportation. Musk says the Hyperloop could take from 7 to 10 years to be built, tested and ready for use.

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Elon Musk Net Worth Details: Elon Musk owns 54 percent of rocket maker SpaceX. Musk also owns 22 percent of car maker Tesla which includes 33 million shares and 2.1 million exercisable options. He has also pledged 11 million shares as collateral against his personal obligations. In January 2020, Elon’s Tesla stake was worth $18 billion. Over the next two months alone, his Tesla stake doubled in value to $36 billion, bringing his overall net worth to $56 billion. That number soon retreated back down to around $40 billion, then $35 billion, then back up to $40 billion. When Tesla stock topped $1,300 per share in July 2020, Elon’s net worth was $63 billion. When Tesla stock topped $1,500 per share on July 10, 2020, Elon’s net worth broke $70 billion for the first time.

In a 2019 legal deposition, Musk explained that he actually is somewhat cash-poor and that 99% of his personal wealth is attributable to shares in Tesla and SpaceX. The lawsuit also revealed that Musk’s base salary at Tesla is $56,380. He declines the salary in most years. Musk has $500 million worth of debt, $209 million of worth is owed to Morgan Stanley. At least $60 million of his Morgan Stanley debt is home mortgage-related. Roughly $213 million worth of his debt is owed to Goldman Sachs.

Nearly 50% of his Tesla shares are pledged as collateral to Goldman and Morgan Stanley. He reportedly burned through all of his liquid cash from previous business sales to launch SpaceX.

(Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

Tesla Compensation Plan: In January 2018, the Tesla board unveiled a compensation plan for Musk that could potentially be worth $100 billion. The plan calls for Musk to receive up to $100 billion in stock options over a decade in 12-tranches. The first chunk of options are granted once Tesla hits a market cap of $100 billion (roughly double the value when the plan was announced). From that point on, Elon gets another of the tranches every time the company increases in market cap by $50 billion.

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Long story short, if Elon managed to grow Tesla’s market cap to $650 billion, he would earn out the full $100 billion.

If he does not achieve any of the 12 tranches, he gets zero compensation. In other words, because Elon declines his base salary, he receives no compensation at all until he hits $100 billion market cap, the first milestone.

Personal Life: Elon has been married three times, twice to the same woman – actress Talulah Riley. He was married to Canadian author Justine Wilson from 2000 to 2008. They share five sons. He has also been romantically involved with actress Amber Heard and Canadian musician Grimes. In May 2020, Grimes and Elon welcomed a baby boy named X Æ A-Xii.

Real Estate Holdings: Elon owns at least $100 million worth of real estate in California. In the Northern California town of Hillsborough he owns a 100-year-old, 16,000 square-foot villa that sits on nearly 50-acres. He bought this house for $23.364 million in 2017. In Southern California he owns six homes in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Bel-Air. His Bel-Air footprint includes a 20,000 square-foot house that he bought for $17 million in 2012, a 7,000 square-foot house he bought for $20 million in 2015 and a 9,300 square-foot house he purchased in 2016 for $24.25 million.

Summary: Elon Musk’s net worth is $150 billion. As of this writing, that makes him one of the richest people on the planet. Musk’s fortune comes his 20% stake in Telsa and his 48% stake in the privately-held SpaceX. He has the ability to earn up to $100 billion in additional Tesla equity if the company grows to a $650 billion market cap. Musk is relatively cash-poor and he has an estimated $500 million worth of debt owed to Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs. Half of his Tesla equity is pledged as collateral to those bank debts.

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