1. Elon Musk: Introduction
  2. Elon Musk: Early Life and Education
  3. Elon Musk: Success Story
  4. Elon Musk: Net Worth
  5. Elon Musk: Famous or Infamous
  6. Elon Musk: Most Influential Quotes

Elon Musk has an estimated net worth of $20.1 billion, making him the 80th richest person in the world, according to Forbes.

What Makes Up Musk's Holdings?

His fortune owes much to his stake in Tesla Motors Inc. (TSLA), of which he remains CEO and chief product architect. As of December 2017, his net worth is up more than $7 billion from $13.2 billion in March 2016. (For more, see: The Story Behind Tesla's Success.)

SpaceX has also contributed mightily to Musk’s net worth. The space-exploration company he founded in 2002 raised $1 billion from Google Inc. (GOOGL) and Fidelity Investments in January 2015. According to Forbes, SpaceX is valued at more than $20 billion as of December 2017. Some reports say that Musk owns the same percentage of SpaceX as he does of SolarCity and Tesla, where his stakes are in the 20 to 30% range.

Musk is also a generous philanthropist through the Musk Foundation, which he chairs. The foundation focuses on delivering solar energy systems to parts of the world that have been struck by natural disasters. It collaborated with SolarCity to bring a 25 kW solar power system to Coden, Alabama, after the area had been hit by a hurricane in 2010. After Sōma, Japan was badly damaged by a tsunami in 2011, the foundation donated $250,000 towards a solar power project.

The Future of Life Institute, a Boston-based research center focused on the potential risks from artificial intelligence was also a beneficiary. Musk donated $10 million to its programs that intend to keep artificial intelligence from destroying humanity.

Musk's Political Donations

Like most billionaires, Musk has also become involved with politics, giving lots of money to both Republicans and Democrats. With businesses in energy and transportation, both of which are heavily regulated, the donations could be considered a business expense.

“In order to have your voice be heard in Washington, you have to make some little contribution,” Musk said in an interview.

Those donations appear to be paying off. In 2010, the Department of Energy gave Tesla a $465 million loan. At the time, a presidential challenger characterized the loans that Tesla and other companies took as “losers’ loans.” When Tesla paid the loan back in May of 2013, it was the only American automobile company to pay back the Federal Government in full.  

SpaceX has also been dependent on government funding, and has paid handsomely for it, spending $4 million on lobbying Congress between 2002 and 2016, and spending roughly $800,000 on campaign contributions to politicians of both parties.

Musk made political headlines in late 2016 when he briefly became a member of two advisory committees for then President-elect Donald Trump. He resigned from both the Strategic and Policy Forum and Manufacturing Jobs Initiative in June of 2017. The move was in response (and protest) to Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement.

Outside of his immediate business interests, Musk had been a supporter of Mark Zuckerberg’s immigration reform political action committee (PAC) FWD.us until 2013. The PAC’s advertisements in support of the Keystone XL pipeline caused the rupture.

Aside from his investments and philanthropic expenditures, Musk claims to lead a relatively modest lifestyle.

“I own no homes (not even my residence at this point), yachts or expensive artwork,” he wrote, reluctantly, in public statement about his divorce settlement. “My clothes are mostly jeans and t-shirts and I almost never take vacations, apart from kid-related travel.”

Musk’s divorce settlements, however, have been expensive. He married and divorced actress Talulah Riley twice, in 2012 and 2015. The second time he settled with her for $16 million in cash and other assets.

His divorce from his first wife, Justine, was more contentious. The two share custody of five children, and divorced in 2008.

She challenged a prenuptial agreement that would have awarded her a reported $20 million in 2010. To do so, she took her case public, via a blog, asking for their house, alimony, child support, $6 million in cash, 10% of Elon’s stake in Tesla, 5% of his SpaceX holdings and a Tesla Roadster. A court decision ultimately confirmed the validity of the prenuptial agreement.


Elon Musk: Famous or Infamous
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