Elon Musk: Growing up and how he became a billionaire

According to both Forbes’ real-time billionaires list and the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Musk is the second wealthiest person in the world as of December 13, 2022, with an estimated net worth of approximately $164 billion.

Perhaps the most well-known billionaire on the planet is Elon Musk. Not only does Mr. Musk boast a wealth that is greater than that of Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates, but he also owns well-known businesses like Tesla, a company that explores space, SpaceX, and, most recently, Twitter.

Everything the eccentric entrepreneur has said or done in the past ten years, including smoking marijuana on the Joe Rogan podcast and making contentious remarks about the Russia-Ukraine war, has been covered worldwide in minutes. His private life has also been scrutinized due to his level of fame (or infamy).

Since the deal to buy Twitter was completed at the end of October 2022, Mr. Musk’s Twitter buyout has become a source of controversy. Many users, including Stephen Fry, have switched to Mastodon, an alternative social media platform, as a result of his plans to fire thousands of employees and appear to be preparing to alter the platform’s rules regarding hate speech.

But how did Elon Musk become so wealthy that he could buy Twitter? 

Everything you need to know is here.

Elon Musk: Growing up

On 1971 June 28, Elon Musk was born in Pretoria, South Africa, to a wealthy family. His father, Errol is an engineer, and Maye, his mother, is a Canadian model and dietitian. It is known that Musk has a strained relationship with his father, even though he remains close to his mother.

Errol Musk, who has two children with his stepdaughter, disclosed in a recent interview that he was not proud of his son’s accomplishments. Elon’s younger brother Kimbal received praise from Musk senior, presumably at the expense of the tech entrepreneur.

When Elon Musk was just 12 years old, he reportedly developed a video game design and was proficient with computers. To avoid serving in the military under the Apartheid regime, he left for Canada at the age of 17 and began his education at Queen’s University in Ontario before transferring to the University of Pennsylvania in the United States in 1992.

With a material science and business degree added to his repertoire, Mr. Musk was momentarily selected for a physical science PhD at Stanford College, California. However, in 1995, he left to co-found the online business directory Zip2 with his younger brother Kimbal. In 1999, the pair sold the business for $307 million, with Musk receiving $22 million as a result.

Elon Musk said in 2021 that he has Asperger’s syndrome, which means that he sees the world differently than most people do. It partially explains why his behavior can occasionally appear unusual.

How did Elon Musk get rich?

Elon Musk, in contrast to the majority of other billionaires, made the majority of his wealth through several successful business ventures. The majority of the world’s other wealthiest individuals have relied on a single major achievement, such as Amazon founder Jeff Bezos or Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

Mr. Musk ventured into online banking and payments with the controversial businessman and libertarian Peter Thiel following the sale of Zip2. The company that would later become PayPal was started by the two of them.

When eBay acquired PayPal in October 2002, his stake in the company brought in $180 million.

However, Elon Musk was already looking to the heavens, even though he had already made money on Earth. In March 2002, he established SpaceX to develop affordable rockets for space colonization.

He invested $6 million in Tesla a year later, despite the fact that the company had not yet produced a real car. SpaceX took off in 2008 following the signing of a $1.6 billion agreement with NASA, while Tesla’s first vehicle, the Model S, entered mass production in 2012.

Because it has mastered making space travel more affordable, SpaceX is now an important part of NASA’s operations. SpaceX is now a key partner in NASA missions, and Tesla cars can be found on streets all over the world as people look for greener transportation options.

Elon Musk’s net worth has skyrocketed as a result of the latter’s share price. Although it is now worth approximately $690 billion (£604 billion), the value of the automobile manufacturer tripled in 2021 to more than $1 trillion (£870 billion).

Musk held between 17 and 21% of the company’s shares at the time of his Twitter buyout, a stake worth $150 billion (£131 billion).

However, before purchasing Twitter, he sold about $8.5 million (£7.4 billion) of his Tesla stake. Following the completion of his Twitter buyout, Musk then sold an additional $4 billion (£3.5 billion) worth of shares, bringing his total share sell-off for 2022 to $20 billion (£17.6 billion).

The majority of Mr Musk’s remaining wealth is comprised of his 48% stake in SpaceX, which is worth $100 billion (£87 billion).

In recent times, Elon Musk has also started two other businesses. While Neuralink aims to develop telepathic links to machines, an innovation that could transform the lives of individuals with neurological disorders or severe spinal injuries, The Boring Company digs enormous holes in the ground.

Musk has sold billions of dollars worth of Tesla stock over the past year, despite his statements that he does not believe in selling his shares. One reason for selling Tesla stakes: a tax bill for stock options that were scheduled to expire in August 2022. Musk told Babylon Bee that he “needs to exercise those options no matter what.”

In 2022, he also sold more stock ahead of a lawsuit against Twitter. Musk had sold nearly $7 billion worth of shares in the automaker by the middle of August. If Musk fails in his attempt to rescind his $44 billion acquisition of Twitter, he tweeted that he sold the stake to avoid “an emergency sale of Tesla stock.”

According to FactSet, Musk currently owns 14.9% of Tesla’s outstanding shares, making it an investment worth approximately $124 billion.

Tesla doesn’t pay Musk a salary, but it has given him a lot of options if he meets certain performance goals. Forbes estimates that Musk’s stake is worth $176.3 billion when options are included.


Musk’s rocket business SpaceX likewise adds to his abundance. According to Bloomberg, SpaceX was worth $125 billion in June 2022, with Musk owning approximately 44% of the company.

His stake would be worth about $55 billion as a result, despite Bloomberg’s estimate of $47 billion based on a 15% discount that is typical of large private tech companies that sell stock on the secondary market.

Another $3.3 billion of Musk’s wealth comes from the Boring Company, a tunnel construction business he started with.

Bloomberg claims that Musk also owns $3 billion in Twitter stock. Before making his bid to purchase the company, which has since failed and is headed to court, he bought about 9% of the business. Bloomberg estimates that Musk’s cash holdings amount to approximately $17 billion.

“I don’t have any accounts offshore”; Musk stated to the Babylon Bee, “I do not have any tax shelters.” I own SpaceX and Tesla shares; everything is very transparent.”

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Richard Okoroafor

Richard Okoroafor

Richard is a brilliant legal content writer who doubles as a finance lawyer. He brings his wealth of legal knowledge in corporate commercial transactions to bear, offering the best value that exceeds expectations.

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