Elon Musk may be the world’s richest rocket scientist.
The 47-year-old CEO of Tesla and SpaceX and cofounder of OpenAI has said he won’t be happy until we’ve escaped Earth and colonized Mars. Luckily, he has the mind and the money to make it happen.
Despite a massive net worth hovering around $23.6 billion, Musk has never taken a paycheck from Tesla, refusing his $56,000 minimum salary every year.
Back in March, Tesla shareholders approved a plan awarding Musk $2.6 billion in stock options, reports CNBC, which will vest in 12 tranches, or portions, as the company hits key milestones over the next decade. The $2.6 billion amount was March 21 current stock value. U.S. News notesthat if Musk meets the goals and the stock value rises during that time period, it “could net him more than $50 billion.”
In January, Tesla announced it would pay Musk nothing for the next 10 years — no salary, bonus, or stock — until the company reaches a $100 billion market cap. If and when that happens, Musk could potentially overtake Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos as the richest person in the world.
A notorious workaholic, Musk doesn’t spend cash on lavish vacations or expensive hobbies. Instead, the entrepreneur spends most of his time at the office or in factories, retreating to one of his four Los Angeles mansions at the end of the day.
Scroll through to find out what we know about how Musk, a father of five, amassed his fortune and how he spends it.
As a child growing up in South Africa, Musk taught himself to code. By the time he was 12, he sold the source code for his first video game for $500.
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.
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.
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.
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