Ever since Elon Musk briefly overtook Jeff Bezos to emerge the world’s richest man in January 2021, the two men have been locked in a head-to-head battle atop the Forbes billionaires list. On some occasions, the South African billionaire has come out on top while on the other he has had to settle for second, and the reason behind this is none other than variations in the stock market. For instance, the Tesla founder lost a whopping $27 billion around March 9th, 2021 as the shares of his electronic car company suffered an 11.5% decline. The next week, however, he recouped about $25 billion on one single day as the same stock rallied by 20%.
It, therefore, means that Musk could easily make billions and lose billions each day. It must, however, be pointed out that such big wins and big losses are not a regular occurrence and that the Tesla founder’s earnings are a bit lower when averaged out over a definite period. So, what does Elon Musk actually make in a year, a day, or even per second? The answers are right below.
How Much Does Elon Musk Make in a Year?
Before we unravel this puzzle, it is pertinent to point out that Musk’s regular income includes the compensation that he earns from his position as the CEO of Tesla. There is also the large stake which he has in several of the companies that he founded, most notably Tesla and SpaceX. With regards to his CEO salary, it should be noted that Musk has refused to take any salaries from Tesla. Rather, he has a complex compensation plan with the company which is based on his reaching certain targets. According to the 2018 compensation plan, Musk stands to receive a 10-year option to purchase 20.6 million Tesla shares divided into 12 tranches.
The vesting of these tranches depends on hitting certain targets such as the company reaching a market capitalization of $100 billion, revenue of $20 billion, or earnings of $1.5 billion etc. These stated target figures increase with each passing trench. Tesla has gone on to achieve some of these objectives, including a market capitalization of $100 billion, and as such Elon Musk received stock options of $2.3 billion between 2018 and 2019. We can therefore safely say that his annual income as Tesla CEO is around $2.3 billion as the company is on its way to achieving the next set of targets meaning that Musk would definitely be getting more stock options next year.
Beyond the stock options compensation that he receives as Tesla CEO, Elon Musk also has huge stakes in the two successful companies that he founded, namely Tesla (21%) and SpaceX (48%). These stakes account for the bulk of his income and are what helped his net worth rise from $13.9 billion in March 2017 to $151 billion in April 2021. If we crunch the numbers, it means that he made $137 billion in just under four years. Averaging it out over that period means that the Tesla boss makes about $34.3 billion each year.
Guest starring … pic.twitter.com/buM3bTOWbX
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 7, 2021
How Much Does the Tesla Boss Make in a Single Day?
Having established that the Tesla CEO has consistently made about $34.3 billion per annum over the past four years, we can surmise that he makes as much as $93.9 million in one single day. To put this in perspective, official government figures in the United States show that the average yearly income of a regular 40-hour workweek is $48,672. If the recipient of that salary were to work for an average of 40 years, then they would have made $1.7 million in their lifetime which is nowhere near what Elon Musk picks up in a single day.
The eccentric South African billionaire is set to make even more thanks to his private space exploration company known as SpaceX. Founded in May 2002, SpaceX has the ambitious goal of manufacturing and launching rockets and spacecraft that will reduce the cost of space transport and enable the colonization of new territories such as Mars. SpaceX is presently valued at $74 billion (with Musk holding a 48% stake) and they are set to even grow more thanks to a lucrative contract that the company received from NASA in 2021. The project is worth $2.9 billion and will see the company build a human lunar lander for the agency, the first of its kind since the Apollo program.
The contract is indeed a prestigious one and Musk and his company beat out two competitors, Blue Origin and Dynetics, to notch the top price. The two competitors have, however, launched a formal protest stating that the initial plan was that the contract would be split between at least two companies. NASA has defended its decision, pointing out that this was the best option in view of the paucity of funds and that SpaceX offered the cheaper bids.
SpaceX’s fifth high-altitude flight test of Starship from Starbase in Texas pic.twitter.com/FnrXuHpsVj
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) May 13, 2021
How Much Does Musk Make in a Second?
There are 86,400 seconds in each day meaning that Elon Musk earns about $1,086 each passing second. It roughly takes an average human being two seconds to blink their eye meaning that in the time it takes you and me to blink our eyes, Mr. Musk has added $1,086 twice over to his bottom-line. The Tesla boss also makes in 44 seconds what the average American toils all year to make. Such achievement has made Musk one of the notable personalities in the world but some feel that he is now abusing his position and this is due to his impact on Bitcoin.
The South African-born billionaire was one of the first personalities to confer legitimacy on the cryptocurrency by adding #Bitcoin to his Twitter profile in January 2021. He then went a step further to reveal that Tesla had purchased $1.5 billion worth of Bitcoin and will start accepting it as a means of payment. All these led to a rise in value for bitcoin but it has since dropped and this is thanks to tweets from no other than Mr. Musk himself.
Tesla & Bitcoin pic.twitter.com/YSswJmVZhP
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 12, 2021
In mid-2021, he revealed that his company would no longer accept it thanks to the huge environmental impact of mining bitcoin. He, however, specified that he had no plans to dump the stash of bitcoins belonging to Tesla. Such statements and about-face have disrupted the cryptocurrency market and some people have lost a good portion of their savings. For such people, who once saw Elon Musk as their champion, it may all be better if he just let Bitcoin be.