Elon Musk has become the wealthiest person on the planet, thanks to the continued rise in Tesla’s stock price. Musk is now worth around $191 billion, according to Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index.
“How strange,” Musk tweeted Thursday. “Well, back to work …”
Musk eclipsing Bezos’ own extravagant personal wealth of around $187 billion marks the latest development in a years-long rivalry between the two tech magnates — one that often centers on the accomplishments of their respective businesses.
Like most billionaires, Musk has only seen his overall wealth increase during the coronavirus pandemic. But unlike that peer group, Musk claimed in court to be “cash poor” and “financially illiquid” in 2019 and said last year that he would sell “almost all physical possessions,” including his mansions. He takes loans against the stock that makes him so wealthy and plows that money back into his companies, like when he dumped around $100 million into The Boring Company in 2018. Musk has a long history of using his own personal wealth to fund new endeavors, too, as he funded Tesla and SpaceX after becoming a millionaire running Zip2 and PayPal.
Musk is also the primary shareholder and CEO of SpaceX, though SpaceX is privately held, so its value does not fluctuate as much as the value of Tesla.
Bezos’ stake in Amazon shares increased by $75 billion in 2020, to $173.3 billion, given the huge increase in sales driven by the Covid-19 pandemic.
But that was nothing compared to Musk’s holdings in Tesla. The 170 million shares of Tesla he already owns increased in value by $106 billion during 2020, as shares shot up 743% during the course of the year.
The value of his stock options he held at the start of the year increased by $14.2 billion, while the new options he received during the course of the year as part of his pay package had a value of $21.5 billion at year’s end.
Musk caught Gates for the title of the world’s second-richest person in late November, but Tesla shares have increased in value by 45% since then, lifting Musk’s net worth by $53 billion over the past couple months.