Elon Musk slams Warren Buffett’s job as ‘super boring’ — but praises the investor’s skills and defends his $100 billion fortune

GettyImages 1229892852
Elon Musk.

  • Elon Musk dismissed Warren Buffett’s job as incredibly boring, and said he doesn’t want it.
  • Yet the Tesla and SpaceX CEO praised Buffett’s investing skills and touted the value of his work.
  • Musk and Buffett have butted heads before, but appear to respect each other.

Elon Musk dismissed Warren Buffett’s job as extremely dull and said he wouldn’t want to do it. Yet he also complimented the investor’s knack for capital allocation, and defended the Berkshire Hathaway CEO’s roughly $100 billion fortune.

“I’m not Warren Buffett’s biggest fan, frankly,” Musk told Time in his Person of the Year interview. “He sits there and reads all these annual reports, which are super boring.”

Berkshire owns scores of businesses including See’s Candies and Geico, and holds multibillion-dollar stakes in Apple, Coca-Cola, and other public companies. Buffett spends his days allocating money within the conglomerate, and identifying undervalued stocks to add to Berkshire’s roughly $300 billion stock portfolio.

“Does anybody want that job?” Musk asked. “I think most people do not. I don’t want that job.”

“But he’s not engaged in insane, conspicuous consumption,” the Tesla and SpaceX CEO continued. “So you have to say, ‘Sure, he’s got a high net worth, but he’s doing a useful job for the economy, and he’s very skilled at it and should probably keep doing it.”

Musk, Buffett, and several other billionaires were named and shamed in a ProPublica investigation earlier this year, which accused them of paying virtually no federal income tax in recent years. The exposé has fueled calls from Democratic politicians for a “billionaire tax” that would target the ultra-wealthy’s fortunes, especially those invested in stocks that currently aren’t taxed until they’re sold.

Buffett defended himself by noting that he’s pledged to give over 99% of his net worth to philanthropic causes, and that he’s already donated about half of his nearly 475,000 Berkshire “A” shares since 2006. Meanwhile, Musk has loudly criticized the politicians pushing for higher taxes on the ultra-wealthy, accusing them of trying to take control of private individuals’ assets.

Musk has expressed his ambivalence towards Buffett in past interviews, but this appears to be the first time he’s applauded the investor’s abilities, or acknowledged the value of his work. The Berkshire boss has praised Musk’s accomplishments before, but has also called out the Tesla chief’s controversial tweets.

Buffett and Musk’s most public clash was over the investor’s concept of competitive “moats” around companies, which the Tesla chief dismissed as “lame” in 2018.

“Elon may turn things upside down in some areas,” Buffett responded when he was asked about the comment. “I don’t think he’d want to take us on in candy.”

“I’m starting a candy company and it’s going to be amazing,” Musk jokingly tweeted in response.

Read more: ‘Richer, Wiser, Happier’ author William Green breaks down the 3 key traits that have fueled Warren Buffett’s success, and explains why they’re so important for investors

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Larry Ellison has scored a $50 billion gain on Oracle and Tesla stock this year — and now ranks as the world’s 5th-richest person

Larry Ellison
Larry Ellison.

  • Larry Ellison has notched about $50 billion in gains on Oracle and Tesla stock this year.
  • The Oracle chairman owns around $135 billion worth of the two companies’ shares.
  • Ellison, who invested in Tesla in 2018, has jumped to fifth on Forbes’ rich list.

Larry Ellison has racked up $50 billion in gains on just two stocks this year, Oracle and Tesla.

The Oracle chairman still owns 1.16 billion shares of the enterprise-software company he cofounded, Securities and Exchange Commission filings show. Oracle’s stock price has surged 64% this year, boosting the value of Ellison’s 42% stake by about $46 billion, to $120 billion.

Ellison also owns around 15 million Tesla shares — a position he established after joining the board of Elon Musk’s electric-vehicle company in December 2018, SEC filings show. Tesla stock has soared by roughly one-third this year, lifting the value of Ellison’s 1.5% stake by around $4 billion, to $15 billion.

Between Oracle and Tesla, Ellison has scored roughly $50 billion in unrealized gains this year. He now ranks fifth on Forbes’ billionaire list with a $136 billion fortune, ahead of Google cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Meta founder Mark Zuckerberg, and former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

Ellison’s gains over the past few years are also impressive. His Tesla stake has ballooned by about 15-fold in value since he revealed it in January 2019, while his Oracle holdings have roughly doubled in value over the same period.

Notably, Ellison’s Tesla stake was worth close to $19 billion when the automaker’s stock peaked at $1,243 in early November. His Oracle stake is worth a record amount today following the stock’s 16% surge on Friday, after the company beat Wall Street’s earnings forecasts and trumpeted its cloud strategy.

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Billionaire investor Chris Sacca has cheered on day traders, warned them about the dangers of debt, and revealed he owns crypto. Here are his 12 best tweets from the past year.

chris sacca, lowercase capital, sv100 2015
Chris Sacca.

  • Chris Sacca championed amateur traders but urged them not to use borrowed money.
  • Sacca ended up $4 million in debt as a college student by trading on margin.
  • The billionaire investor said he owns several crypto tokens, and underlined the importance of NFTs.

Billionaire investor Chris Sacca has cheered on meme-stock buyers, warned rookie traders about the dangers of debt, and trumpeted non-fungible tokens (NFTs) in tweets over the past year.

The Lowercase Capital founder and former “Shark Tank” star — who shifted his focus to tackling climate change and social-justice issues in 2017 — also reflected on his ill-fated day trading as a college student, and revealed he owns a variety of digital tokens. 

Here are Sacca’s 12 best tweets about meme stocks, crypto, and day trading over the past year:

1. “To everyone who got into trading stocks this year, I have a little hard truth for you: You’re not actually that good at it. You just caught a wild bull market. Take some money off the table.” (December 23, 2020)

2. “To the angry Robinhood bros who got into trading stocks this year: I was wrong. You’re amazing. This has nothing to do with the market. It’s all you and your mad skillz. Don’t take profits off the table. Double down, on margin. Borrow everything you can. Stonks never go down!” — responding sarcastically to backlash from day traders. (December 24, 2020)

3. “What percent of retail ownership of crypto is supported by leverage? What about stocks? I am beyond worried about the debt lessons that a generation of app traders weren’t around to learn a cycle ago.” (December 26, 2020)

4. “It’s fun to read about home traders making bank. 20 yrs ago, I was one of you. Today I’m here to tell you: *Don’t trade with money you don’t own.* I know because I did that. I kited my student loans, YOLO’d them to $12m, and then, in an f’ing blink, I woke up $4m in debt.” (January 28, 2021)

5. “Debt has no fucks to give when the price collapses. Debt doesn’t care who gets the last chair when the music stops. Debt haunts, lingers, & binds. Debt doesn’t care about your green paper gainz screenshot, because two weeks later it sees the all-red screen that you never post.” (January 28, 2021)

6. “I have axes to grind against a lot of the guys you’re wrecking, and I love to hear about real people stacking chips. But, please, from someone who has been there and knows the hopelessness and depression ahead: Don’t trade what you can’t afford to lose.” (January 28, 2021)

7. “I get what’s going on with NFTs. Very cool and I am a collector at heart. But I have a feeling this is going to be the tech that finally turns me into the ‘Yeah, but I only listen on vinyl’ guy.” – Sacca added that he doesn’t believe NFTs are in a bubble. (February 21, 2021)

8. “Wow. @beeple. $69m for a purely digital work. No matter how you feel about NFTs, don’t look away from this. It’s okay to not get why someone would pay that, and it’s okay to be bummed about the climate impact. But don’t be willfully ignorant about what’s happening.” — (March 11, 2021)

9. “Only invest what you can lose. Don’t borrow. Spread it around multiple investments. And, overall, assume you are going to lose your money and be pleasantly surprised if you get back more than you put in. Good luck.” — (March 16, 2021)

10. “My only strong crypto opinions: 1) the climate impact bums me out 2) but that is the market impetus for a lot of clean energy innovation, 3) it’s exciting, and 4) I have a lot more to learn. Disclosure: I own a broad basket ranging from early BTC/ETH to shitcoin lottery tickets.” — (May 15, 2021)

11. “Oh, Stanford would’ve never accepted the likes of me. Those were Georgetown Law student loans levered all over the online brokerages. And, to be clear, I lost my face in the end. Seven figures in debt with nothing to show for it. I don’t recommend it.” — recalling how he traded on margin as a college student. (September 20, 2021)

12. “I got so much shit for this tweet. It’s not fun to be right about it. I have been long this market and taken my lumps with everyone else. Just tried to help people not trade with money they don’t own. Now my inbox is filling up with requests to bail strangers out of margin debt.” — referring to the first tweet on this list. (December 3, 2021

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MacKenzie Scott says she won’t be disclosing how much money she donated this year because she wants people to focus on the ‘intention and effort’ in philanthropy

MacKenzie Scott head shot
MacKenzie Scott.

  • In a new note on Medium, Mackenzie Scott said she would no longer disclose how much money she donates.
  • The billionaire philanthropist had previously disclosed $8.6 billion in total donations over the last 18 months.
  • Scott said she wants to turn the focus away from thinking about philanthropy just in terms of money.

Billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott said she wouldn’t reveal how much money she donated to charity since her last philanthropic disclosures in June.

In a Medium blog post titled “No Dollar Signs This Time,” the ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos said she wants to turn the focus away from thinking about philanthropy just in terms of money.

“How much or how little money changes hands doesn’t make it philanthropy,” she wrote. “Intention and effort make it philanthropy. If we acknowledge what it all has in common, there will be more of it.”

With that in mind, Scott said she wouldn’t be disclosing how much she’d donated over the last six months. 

“I want to let each of these incredible teams speak for themselves first if they choose to, with the hope that when they do, media focuses on their contributions instead of mine,” she wrote. 

Scott is worth about $60 billion according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index and has signed the Giving Pledge, promising to give her wealth away “until the safe is empty.” She previously announced a total of $8.6 billion in donations over the last 18 months.

Most recently, in June, Scott revealed she had donated more than $2.7 billion to 286 organizations in the first six months of the year. 

In her long reflection posted on Wednesday, Scott said philanthropy goes beyond monetary donations by wealthy people.

“Even by the traditional yardstick — money — contributions to the welfare of others by financially wealthy people don’t merit disproportionate attention,” she wrote.

Examples of other forms of philanthropy she cited include an employee at a nonprofit who takes leave from work to care for a dying parent or someone who helps an isolated elderly neighbor get a cell phone she can use to talk to her kids.

“This is all philanthropy,” Scott wrote.

Scott’s fortune has grown since she divorced Amazon founder Jeff Bezos in 2019. She received a 4% stake in the company in the couple’s divorce settlement, and Amazon shares are up 11% year-to-date.

While Scott’s latest blog post takes the debate about philanthropy forward, it could also raise questions on transparency and accountability. Because she donates as a private individual, she isn’t subject to the same public reporting requirements as foundations, which many wealthy donors use.

Brian Mittendorf, a professor of nonprofit accounting at Ohio State University, told MarketWatch that while he understands Scott’s concerns about focusing on donor amounts, other issues arise from Scott’s decision not to disclose numbers.

“These gifts presumably come with substantial tax deductions, so each gift she gives is effectively made in concert with the general public,” Mittendorf told MarketWatch. “The question is what obligation she has in bringing the general public, which is supporting these gifts, along for the ride. The attention she will get is inescapable, but the accountability provided by disclosing giving choices to the public is one of the few levers we have to influence billionaire philanthropy.”

Bridgespan Group, a consulting firm that works with Scott on her philanthropic efforts, did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

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Billionaire investor Chris Sacca says day traders are begging him for bailouts — and reveals he bought the dip

chris sacca
Chris Sacca.

  • Chris Sacca warned retail traders not to bet on meme stocks and crypto with borrowed funds.
  • The billionaire investor is now fielding bailout requests after the recent market slump, he said.
  • Sacca disclosed that he capitalized on the sell-off by buying discounted assets.

Chris Sacca has repeatedly warned meme-stock buyers and cryptocurrency fans against loading up on debt to supercharge their gains. Now, amateur traders who ignored his advice are begging him for help after the recent market slump, the billionaire founder of Lowercase Capital revealed in a recent tweet.

“It’s not fun to be right about it,” Sacca said, referring to a year-old tweet.

In that tweet, the former “Shark Tank” investor told retail traders that their gains during the pandemic were down to lucky timing, and suggested they pocket some of their profits.

“I have been long this market and taken my lumps with everyone else,” Sacca continued. “Just tried to help people not trade money they don’t own. Now my inbox is filling up with requests to bail strangers out of margin debt.”

While the broader stock market has only fallen slightly, retail traders who made levered bets on a handful of volatile growth stocks have been hit harder than investors with diversified portfolios, Sacca emphasized in a follow-up tweet.

The venture capitalist — an early backer of Uber, Twitter, and Instagram — also revealed that he “bought the dip,” and jokingly predicted that asset prices will continue tumbling to punish his bullishness.

“The market is going to continue to freefall,” he tweeted. “Why am I so certain of this? Because I did some buying today.”

Sacca has been underscoring the dangers of margin debt because it got him into trouble as a college student two decades ago. 

“I kited my student loans, YOLO’d them to $12m, and then, in an f’ing blink, I woke up $4m in debt,” he tweeted at the height of the GameStop short squeeze in January of this year.

He underlined the “hopelessness and depression” that comes with falling into debt, after noting a month earlier that he was “beyond worried” about people using apps to trade stocks and crypto on margin.

Since 2017, Sacca has shifted his focus from betting on technology companies to tackling issues such as climate change, voter suppression, and criminal-justice reform.

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Elon Musk has sold nearly $9 billion worth of Tesla stock in 2 weeks — but he’s only halfway toward selling 10% of his stake

Elon Musk
Elon Musk.

  • Elon Musk has sold close to $9 billion of Tesla stock in the past two weeks.
  • The Tesla CEO is only halfway towards satisfying his Twitter pledge to sell 10% of his stake.
  • Musk called Michael Burry of “The Big Short” fame a “broken clock” after he questioned the sales.

Elon Musk has cashed in nearly $9 billion worth of Tesla stock in the past two weeks, but he’s still only halfway toward fulfilling his pledge to sell 10% of his stock.

The Tesla CEO sold 8.2 million shares in total, generating $8.8 billion in proceeds, Securities and Exchange Commission filings show. The sales have precipitated a 7% drop in the automaker’s stock price, erasing roughly $84 billion from its market capitalization.

Despite its recent slump, Tesla stock is still up 56% this year, and has skyrocketed by more than 1,300% since the start of last year. Musk still owns 164 million shares, giving him a 17% stake in the electric-vehicle company.

There are several theories around why Musk is on a selling spree. For example, the Tesla chief noted last year that he would need to sell shares to cover the cost of exercising stock options that expire next year.

Musk has also come under fire for paying virtually no income tax, and has clashed with lawmakers pushing for a “billionaire tax” that would hit the ultra-wealthy’s unrealized gains. He cited that conflict when he launched a Twitter poll two weekends ago to ask whether he should sell 10% of his Tesla stake. However, it soon emerged that Musk had already established a trading plan to sell stock, calling the point of the whole spectacle into question.

Meanwhile, Michael Burry of “The Big Short” fame highlighted that Musk had taken out personal loans against 88 million of his shares at the end of June, and asserted that the Tesla chief might be raising cash to service his debts.

In another tweet, Burry noted that Musk described Tesla’s stock price as “too high” in May 2020, and suggested Musk might simply be selling because he knows the company is massively overvalued.

Musk was apparently irked by the comment, or perhaps Burry’s repeated warnings that Tesla stock is a bubble about to burst, as he dismissed the investor as a “broken clock” on Twitter.

The Tesla chief needs to sell close to 9 million more shares to satisfy his 10% commitment. At the current rate of selling, his disposals are set to continue for a couple more weeks at least.

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Elon Musk sold another $973 million of Tesla shares to pay taxes after exercising more options

Tesla CEO Elon Musk with a hardhat.JPG
Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

  • Tesla CEO Musk acquired 2.1 million shares worth $2.2 billion at the Tuesday closing price of $1,054.73 a share.
  • He also sold 934,091 shares for $973 million to pay taxes, SEC filings showed.
  • Over the past week, Musk has sold about 8.2 million Tesla shares for around $8.8 billion. 

Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk sold another $973 million in stock to pay taxes after exercising options on Tuesday, filings showed after the electric vehicle maker’s shares rebounded during regular trade.

Musk acquired 2.1 million shares worth $2.2 billion at the Tuesday closing price and sold 934,091 for $973 million to pay taxes, the SEC filings showed.

In a sector surge spearheaded by Rivian Automotive Inc and Lucid Group Inc, Tesla Inc rose 4.1% to close at $1,054.73, leaving its market capitalization down about $187 billion since before Musk began selling shares last week.

Rivian’s stock jumped 15%, with the EV maker now up over 120% since its initial public offer last Wednesday.

Rivian disclosed in a filing on Tuesday that its underwriters bought 22.95 million additional shares, boosting the total size of the IPO. Including those shares, Rivian’s market capitalization rose to $153 billion, overtaking Volkswagen AG by $14 billion and making the Irvine, California, company the world’s third-most valuable carmaker. Tesla market cap eclipses that of top 8 rival carmakers combined.

Lucid surged nearly 24% after it said reservations for its cars rose to 13,000 in the third quarter and that it is confident it will produce 20,000 of its upcoming Lucid Air sedans in 2022.

The gain in Lucid’s shares elevated its stock market value to $90 billion, overtaking Ford Motor Co and leaving it $1 billion short of General Motors Co.

Over the past week, Musk has sold about 8.2 million Tesla shares for around $8.8 billion. Those sales fulfill almost half of his pledge on Twitter to sell 10% of his stake in Tesla.

Musk began selling shares last week after floating the idea in a Twitter poll.

With electric-car makers increasingly in demand on Wall Street, Tesla’s stock has surged more than 150% in the past 12 months.

“There’s still plenty of buying interest because I still think ultimately investors are viewing this as a phase and viewing pullbacks as an opportunity,” said Craig Erlam, senior market economist at OANDA.

“If you ask me where the share price is going to be six months from now, 12 months from now? I’d say it’s more likely to be 20% higher than 20% lower.”

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Elon Musk offloads another $930 million in Tesla shares as he continues his selling streak

Elon Musk
Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

  • Tesla CEO Elon Musk has sold more than 934,000 shares in the electric-car company.
  • The sale comes as the Tesla CEO exercised options buy 2.1 million stocks at $6.24 each.
  • Musk must pay income tax on the difference between the exercise price and fair market value of the shares.

Elon Musk has sold more than 934,000 Tesla shares worth $930 million, US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings showed on Monday.

The sale comes as the Tesla CEO exercised options to buy 2.1 million stocks at $6.24 each, one of the filings showed. Musk is required to pay income taxes on the difference between the exercise price and fair market value of the shares, which closed at $1,013.39 on Monday.

It’s the second time in less than two weeks that the billionaire has exercised his stock options. On November 8, Musk exercised options to acquire nearly 2.2 million shares, a regulatory filing shows.

Today’s stock sale comes after Musk sold $6.9 billion worth of shares last week. Earlier this month, he also conducted a Twitter poll asking whether he should sell 10% of his stock to pay taxes, vowing to abide by the result, which turned out overwhelmingly positive.

Some of the billionaire’s stocks sales today are part of a trading plan established in September, the SEC filings show.

Musk still has millions of stocks options he needs to exercise before their expiry next August.

Musk’s Twitter survey and share sales come amid intense debates in the US over whether the wealthy are paying enough in taxes. The Tesla CEO is the richest man in the world, with a net worth of $279 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

On Sunday, Musk mocked Bernie Sanders on Twitter after the senator said the extremely rich should pay their “fair share” of taxes.

“Want me to sell more stock Bernie? Just say the word,” Musk tweeted to Sanders in response. Tesla shares tanked as much as 5% in Monday’s session, and were down 1% in after-hours trading.

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Elon Musk sold nearly $7 billion worth of Tesla stock this week – and says he’s incurring higher taxes on purpose

Elon Musk SpaceX Tesla CEO holds hand to face thinking
Elon Musk.

  • Elon Musk sold almost $7 billion worth of Tesla stock this week.
  • The Tesla CEO tweeted that he’s intentionally designed his sales to incur more taxes.
  • If Musk sells 10% of his stock as expected, the disposals could continue for a couple more weeks.

Elon Musk cashed in nearly $7 billion worth of Tesla stock this week, and indicated on Twitter that he’s intentionally incurring higher taxes on the sales.

The Tesla CEO sold about 6.4 million shares in five days, generating about $6.9 billion, Securities and Exchange Commission filings show. The disposals fueled a 15% drop in the electric-vehicle company’s stock price this week, which wiped around $180 billion off its market capitalization.

Musk has sold a lot more of his existing stock than his shares from newly exercised options, even though the shares he already held will be taxed at a higher rate.

“A careful observer would note that my (low basis) share sale rate significantly exceeds my 10b (high basis) option exercise rate, thus closer to tax maximization than minimization,” Musk tweeted on Thursday.

There are several competing theories around why Musk is selling stock. The executive noted months ago that he held stock options that expire in 2022, and that he planned to sell shares to cover the cost of exercising them and paying the resulting taxes.

However, the Tesla and SpaceX CEO launched a Twitter poll last weekend asking whether he should sell 10% of his stock, and vowed to abide by the result, which turned out to be positive. He cited pressure from lawmakers who are pursuing a “billionaire tax” as his motivation for the poll.

Meanwhile, Michael Burry of “The Big Short” fame suggested this week that Musk might need to sell stock to pay off personal debts, as the executive held loans against 88 million Tesla shares, as of June 30.

Musk still holds 166 million shares, or about 17% of Tesla’s outstanding shares. If he follows through on his commitment to sell about 17 million shares in total, and maintains his current rate of selling, his disposals might continue for a couple more weeks.

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Elon Musk just lost $50 billion in 2 days, but he’s still the world’s richest person. Here’s how the Tesla and SpaceX CEO makes and spends his $288 billion fortune.

Elon Musk waves on stage at the Tesla Gigafactory in Berlin as a crowd of people takes photos
  • Elon Musk just lost $50 billion in just two days, but he’s still the richest person in the world.
  • A notorious workaholic, Musk doesn’t spend his money on lavish vacations or expensive hobbies.
  • Here’s how Musk makes and spends his $288 billion fortune.
Decades before becoming a father of six and amassing an $288 billion fortune, Musk taught himself to code as a child growing up in South Africa. By the time he was 12, he sold the source code for his first video game for $500.

elon musk
SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk works at his desk in 2008.

Source: MONEY

Just before his 18th birthday, Musk moved to Canada and worked a series of hard labor jobs, including shoveling grain, cutting logs, and eventually cleaning out the boiler room in a lumber mill for $18 an hour – an impressive wage in 1989.

Elon Musk

Sources: MONEYEsquireElon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future

Musk got a pay cut to $14 an hour when he started a summer internship alongside his brother, Kimbal, at the Bank of Nova Scotia after cold-calling – and impressing – a top executive there.

elon musk
Elon Musk, founder, CEO and lead designer at SpaceX and co-founder of Tesla, speaks at the International Space Station Research and Development Conference in Washington, U.S., July 19, 2017.

Sources: MONEYEsquire – Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future

After he arrived for his freshman year at Queens University in 1990, Musk quickly picked up a side hustle selling computer parts and full PCs to other students. “I could build something to suit their needs like a tricked-out gaming machine or a simple word processor that cost less than what they could get in a store,” Musk said.

Elon Musk
Elon Musk.

Sources: MONEYEsquire – Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future

Within two years, Musk transferred to the University of Pennsylvania on a partial scholarship.

university of pennsylvania

Sources: MONEYEsquire – Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future

To cover the rest of his tuition, Musk and a buddy would turn their house into a speakeasy on the weekends, charging $5 at the door. “I was paying my own way through college and could make an entire month’s rent in one night,” Musk said.

elon musk shrug tesla IPO new york
Tesla Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors, reacts to a reporter’s question following the electric automaker’s initial public offering on Nasdaq, Tuesday, June, 29, 2010 in New York.

Sources: MONEYEsquire – Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future

Musk graduated with a bachelor’s degree in physics and an economics degree from the Wharton School and moved on to Stanford to pursue his PhD.

elon musk commencement speech

Source: MONEY

He left the program within days to build an internet startup with his brother. They started Zip2, a city guide software for newspapers, with $28,000 in seed money from their father.

kimbal musk elon musk brother
Kimbal Musk, Elon’s brother.

Source: MONEY

Four years later, in 1999, they sold Zip2 for $307 million, earning Musk $22 million. He invested more than half of his earnings to cofound X.com, an online banking service.

elon musk
Elon Musk at SpaceX Hyperloop Pod II competition in Hawthorne, California

Source: MONEY

The company quickly merged with its rival and became PayPal, with Musk as the majority shareholder. In 2002, eBay bought PayPal and Musk walked away with $180 million.

PayPal IPO
Paypal CEO Dan Schulman (C) celebrates with employees during the company’s relisting on the Nasdaq in New York.

Source: MONEY

Musk turned his attention to his new space exploration company, SpaceX, after leaving PayPal. A few years later he cofounded electric-car maker, Tesla, and then SolarCity, a solar power systems provider. The success of these companies eventually launched him into the billion-dollar club – but not before he went broke.


Source: VentureBeat

In late 2008, Musk divorced his first wife and it took a toll on his finances. A year later, Musk said he “ran out of cash” and had been living off loans from friends while trying to keep his companies afloat.

Elon Musk Nasdaq Tesla

Sources: VentureBeatForbes, TechCrunch

But when Tesla debuted on the stock market in 2010, Musk’s fortune skyrocketed. By 2012, he appeared on Forbes’ richest list for the first time with a net worth of $2 billion.

Tesla Elon Musk

Source: Forbes

Nearly a decade later, Musk has amassed an $288 billion fortune – but it’s not very liquid. Remarkably, Musk made his billions without ever taking a paycheck from Tesla, because the CEO refuses his minimum salary every year. By 2020, Tesla cut his paycheck down to zero.

Elon Musk

Source: Bloomberg, Insider

Musk’s complicated salary structure means that he’s awarded stock options when Tesla hits challenging performance metrics. When Tesla does well, Musk’s wealth soars.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk

Source: Insider

But Musk has said himself that he’s cash-poor. “Some people think I have a lot of cash,” Musk told investor Cathie Wood on a podcast last year. “I actually don’t.” Like a lot of other high-powered executives, Musk relies on mortgages and credit day-to-day.

Elon Musk
Elon Musk

Source: Insider

Over the years, the CEO has purchased more than $100 million in residential property in California. He has since offloaded much of his real estate after vowing to sell it all and “own no house” last year.

Elon Musk Bel Air house

Source: The Real Deal, Variety, Insider

As the leader of one of the preeminent auto-makers, it’s no surprise Musk has an affinity for cars. Back in 2013, he paid $920,000 at an auction for the Lotus Esprit submarine car used in a James Bond movie.

James Bond Lotus Esprit


In addition to driving Teslas, Musk has owned a few gas-powered cars including a Ford Model T, a Jaguar E-Type Series 1 Roadster, a McLaren F1 (which he later totaled), an Audi Q7, a Hamann BMW M5, and a Porsche 911.

Jaguar E Type Series 1 roadster
Not Elon Musk’s Jaguar.

Source: Insider

Despite having funds to spare, Musk isn’t a fan of lavish vacations – or any vacations for that matter. In 2015, he said he’d only taken two weeks off since founding SpaceX about 12 years earlier.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk

Sources: Inc, Quartz

Musk has five children with his first wife, Justine Musk. In a 2014 tweet, Musk said he takes the kids on an annual camping trip. “I’m a pretty good dad,” he said. “I have the kids for slightly more than half the week and spend a fair bit of time with them. I also take them with me when I go out of town.”

Elon Musk kids
Elon Musk with two of his sons and now ex-wife Talulah Riley.

Sources: TwitterElon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future

Musk and Canadian musician Grimes welcomed a baby boy in May 2020 named X Æ A-Xii Musk – they appear to call the baby “X” for short. (Musk and Grimes have since broken up.)

Grimes Elon Musk
Musk and Grimes.

Source: Insider, Insider

At the end of the day, the multibillionaire says he enjoys inexpensive hobbies like listening to music, playing video games, and reading books. “Hang out with kids, see friends, normal stuff,” he said. “Sometimes go crazy on Twitter. But usually it’s work more.”

Elon Musk

Source: Quartz

In August 2018, Musk told The New York Times that he had taken to working 120 hours a week. “There were times when I didn’t leave the factory for three or four days – days when I didn’t go outside,” he told The Times. “This has really come at the expense of seeing my kids. And seeing friends.”

elon musk
Engineer and tech entrepreneur Elon Musk of The Boring Company listens as Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel talks about constructing a high speed transit tunnel at Block 37 during a news conference on June 14, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois.

Source: The New York Times

Musk said on an earnings call in 2017 that he doesn’t have a desk at the Tesla factory: “I always move my desk to wherever – I don’t really have a desk actually – I move myself to wherever the biggest problem is in Tesla. I really believe that one should lead from the front lines, and that’s why I’m here.”

tesla factory

Sources: Insider, Fortune

Musk admitted to spending “many late nights” at Tesla’s Nevada Gigafactory re-writing software during a production sprint for the Model 3.

elon musk gigafactory tour
Elon Musk showing YouTuber Marques Browne around the Gigafactory 1

Source: Fortune

For a story published in August 2018, Insider reporters spoke with 42 Tesla employees who said Musk is a visionary, but also unpredictably demanding.

tesla employees

Source: Insider

Musk said in June 2019 that he even planned to spend his 48th birthday on June 28 at work, improving the company’s “global logistics.”

Elon Musk
Tesla CEO Elon Musk walks onto the stage to introduce the Model Y at the company’s design studio Thursday, March 14, 2019, in Hawthorne, Calif.

Source: Insider

Musk told CBS’ “60 Minutes” that he is, in fact, “somewhat impulsive” and doesn’t “really want to try to adhere to some CEO template.”

Elon Musk

Source: Insider

Not only does Musk spend a ton of time at Tesla, he also spends a lot of his money on the company. In the first six months of 2018, he bought more than $35 million worth of shares in Tesla.

Elon Musk Tesla Spacex

Source: CNN

Musk also invests a lot of time, energy, and resources into SpaceX.

elon musk spacex

Source: Insider

SpaceX has raised billions to develop, build, and launch Starlink – an effort to cover Earth in ultra-fast broadband internet – and build the prototype of Starship, a gargantuan reusable space vehicle designed to bring people to Mars. The company was valued at $100 billion as of October 2021.

spacex falcon 9 block 5 rocket launch es hail 2 november 15 2018 32040174368_1cb3d93808_o
The Es’hail-2 mission launches toward space aboard one of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets on November 15, 2018.

Source: Insider, CNBC

Musk also helms The Boring Company, which he founded in 2016 to develop and construct underground tunnels in an effort to mitigate traffic.

Boring Company Hawthorne tunnel
The Boring Company’s Hawthorne, California, Tunnel.

Source: Insider

According to The New York Times, The Boring Company raised over $112 million in 2018 – and more than 90% of it came from Musk. In 2019, the company raised outside funding for the first time to the tune of around $120 million.

elon musk boring company

Source: The New York Times, Insider

In 2012, Musk signed The Giving Pledge, vowing to donate the majority of his wealth during his lifetime. Though he’s already in the business of improving our environment and the future during his day job, Musk has made sizable donations to causes he cares about, including a $10 million gift to the Future of Life Institute to regulate artificial intelligence.

elon musk robots

Sources: Twitter, Insider

Musk found himself in legal trouble with the SEC in 2018 after he tweeted that he had obtained the funding to take Tesla private, which moved the company’s stock price. Musk reached a settlement with the SEC in April 2019 in which he and Tesla both agreed to pay a $20 million penalty.

elon musk court

Source: Insider

Musk moved Tesla share price again in May 2020, sending it down 13% after tweeting “Tesla stock price is too high imo.”

FILE PHOTO: Tesla Inc CEO Elon Musk speaks at an opening ceremony for Tesla China-made Model Y program in Shanghai, China January 7, 2020. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Tesla Inc CEO Elon Musk speaks at an opening ceremony for Tesla China-made Model Y program in Shanghai

Source: Markets Insider

Musk’s Twitter habits once again got him into legal trouble in 2019 after he called the British cave diver who helped rescue a Thai soccer team a “pedo guy”; the diver sued Musk, claiming defamation, but a jury ruled in Musk’s favor.

vernon unsworth
A courtroom sketch of British cave diver Vernon Unsworth during his defamation suit against Elon Musk.

Source: Insider

Musk’s net worth soared in 2020 amid the pandemic, increasing by 197% between March and August, according to an analysis by the Institute for Policy Studies. By December 2020, Musk had become the world’s second-richest person behind Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

Jeff Bezos Elon Musk
Jeff Bezos, left, and Elon Musk.

Source: Insider

Only a few months later, Musk became the world’s richest person and his net worth has only grown since: Just last month, Musk’s wealth increased by $36 billion in a single day, the largest gain ever recorded by Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index.

elon musk spacex launch.JPG
Elon Musk.

Source: Insider

But after shares of Tesla plunged by 16%, Musk lost $50 billion in just two days. Tesla’s share price dipped after a string of headlines, including a tweet from Musk asking if he should sell 10% of his Tesla stock. Still, Musk remains $82 billion richer than Bezos.

Photo by BRITTA PEDERSEN:POOL:AFP via Getty Images
Tesla CEO Elon Musk

Source: Insider

Tanza Loudenback and Taylor Nicole Rogers contributed to an earlier version of this story.

Read the original article on Business Insider