Elon Musk Becomes Richest Person in the World, Surpassing Jeff Bezos

Flying roofs, faulty suspensions, Giga-sweatshop disasters, and environmental concerns aside, Elon Musk, the strident entrepreneur of Tesla and SpaceX, has just become the richest person on Earth, surpassing Amazon mogul Jeff Bezos.

According to the Bloomberg Billionaire’s Index, which ranks the world’s top 500 wealthiest individuals, Musk’s net worth reached US$188.5 billion as of Thursday. The 4.8% rally in the EV carmaker’s share price made Musk US$1.5 billion richer than Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who has held the top spot since 2017.

The latest milestone brings attention to the previous 12 months, which for Musk and Tesla, have definitely been out of the ordinary amid the pandemic. In just the past year alone, the entrepreneur’s wealth has soared by over US$150 billion, in what has likely been the quickest bout of prosperity creation on record. Tesla’s continued price rally, which is speculated to be fueled by a baffling concoction of inexplicable call buying and analyst speculation, has sent Musk to the very top of some of the richest people in the world.

Tesla’s revenue and net income show a diverging story, one that does not display the exponential growth that Musk has thus far benefited from. Tesla’s latest fourth quarter vehicle production and delivery results fell short of its guidance for the fiscal year. Meanwhile, the EV automaker’s market cap is valued at a ballooning $767 billion. Musk also currently sits on a throne of US$41.1 billion in unrealized paper gains on vested stock options — these stemming from grants he received in 2012 and 2018.

Indeed, the pandemic-fueled year has certainly been a notable one for billionaires, many of which have seen their wealth swell significantly, while the remainder of the world fell into an economic recession. The rich have gotten richer, after quickly bouncing back at the beginning of the pandemic thanks to a strong stock market. The argument can easily be made that the market has become completely detached from the real economy. Between March and December 2020, American billionaires have seen their wealth balloon by an average of 57%. Interestingly, that wealth growth also happens to be about 10% higher than the entire expansion of the S&P 500 index during the same period.

Musk was the subject of the highest wealth increase during that period, benefiting from a $129 billion boost to his net worth — amounting to a 524% increase in gains. Jeff Bezos also enjoyed a bountiful wealth surge, as his net worth increased by $74 billion — not all that surprising given that Amazon’s stock price has surged by 69% since the beginning of the year.

Information for this briefing was found via Bloomberg and CNBC. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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