After years of scaling the charts, Elon Musk is now the richest man in the world

Radhika Desai, Staff Writer

On January 7, Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, Tesla, Neuralink, and The Boring Company, became the world’s richest man. After surpassing the previous owner of the title Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon with a net worth of $184 billion as of January, Musk now is worth $185 billion and climbing as Tesla shares rise. The billionaire’s net worth bumped up $7.8 billion in early January pushing him just $1.4 billion above Bezos. Over the last year, his growth rate has increased drastically, gaining about $160 billion since March 2020, primarily due to Tesla’s soaring price over the course of last year. 

Since 2017, Bezos has dominated the list of wealthiest on the planet and he was expected to continue to ascend until Tesla’s share price began to escalate. At the beginning of 2020, Musk started with around $27 billion putting him below the top 50 richest. In July 2020, Musk passed entrepreneur Warren Buffett who used to be the seventh richest, and in November 2020, Musk overcame business magnate Bill Gates who currently has a net worth of $120 billion as of December 2020. 

Born in Pretoria, South Africa in 1971, Musk opened up about his childhood and career in an interview with 60 Minutes late December 2018. 

“Well, first of all, I, I am somewhat impulsive. And I didn’t really want to try to adhere to some CEO template,” Musk said.

He spoke about going to class as the youngest and smallest student there and how he was much more invested in books and learning than his other classmates. He revealed that he was often bullied until he was 15 and learned to fight through martial arts and wrestling. During his adolescence he would frequently make his own explosives and rockets while his parents were away before going off to the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1991. There he received his Bachelor of Science degree in economics and a Bachelor of Arts degree in physics.

In 2019 Musk tweeted he would donate about $100 million worth of Tesla stock money every couple of years. His foundation, which he launched in 2002 called the Musk Foundation, has also made numerous contributions to various charities. As of now he has donated a total sum of $100 million to numerous organizations such as National Wildlife Federation and Future of Life Institute, an artificial intelligence fund, through his foundation.