Elon Musk sails past Jeff Bezos to become world’s richest person

Elon Musk has overtaken Amazon founder Jeff Bezos to become the richest person on the planet.

A jump in the stock value of Musk’s Tesla electric car company this week pushed the entrepreneur’s worth to an eye-watering$195 billion, $10 billion more than Bezos’s current value, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, who once sat at the top of Bloomberg’s table of unspeakably rich people, has slipped to third place with a mere $134 billion to his name.

After hearing about his elevation to the top spot in Bloomberg’s wealth index, the 49-year-old Musk, who also runs commercial space transportation company SpaceX and a tunneling outfit called The Boring Company, tweeted, “How strange,” before adding in a subsequent post, “Well, back to work … .”

Musk’s current pinned tweet, posted in 2018, says he uses half of his wealth “to help problems on Earth & half to help establish a self-sustaining city on Mars to ensure continuation of life (of all species) in case Earth gets hit by a meteor like the dinosaurs or WW3 happens & we destroy ourselves.”

In another tweet posted at the same time, Musk suggested he has little time to enjoy any kind of lavish lifestyle.

You should ask why I would want money. The reason is not what you think. Very little time for recreation. Don’t have vacation homes or yachts or anything like that.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 12, 2018

Bloomberg noted that this year “no one has seen a more dramatic shift than Musk” when it comes to personal wealth, with the South Africa-born industrial engineer — who also cofounded PayPal in 1998 — adding more than $165 billion to his fortune over the last 12 months in what the news outlet describes as “probably the fastest bout of wealth creation in history.”

Propelling Musk to the top spot was an extraordinary rally in Tesla’s share price, which increased by an incredible 743% in 2020 “on the back of consistent profits, inclusion in the S&P 500 Index, and enthusiasm from Wall Street and retail investors alike,” Bloomberg said.

Musk’s first notable financial success in his entrepreneurial adventures came in 1999 when he sold software company Zip2 to Compaq for a reported $300 million. Three years after that, in 2002, eBay acquired PayPal for $1.4 billion. In the same year, Musk set up SpaceX, and two years later he joined Tesla before becoming its CEO in 2008.

As much as 99% of Musk’s wealth is held in shares. In December 2019, he said, “Some people think I have a lot of cash,” adding, “I actually don’t.”

The Bloomberg Billionaires Index updates on a daily basis and is described as “a dynamic measure of personal wealth based on changes in markets, the economy, and Bloomberg reporting.”

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