Elon Musk Extends Lead as World’s Richest Man With Massive 2021 Earnings

by Liz Holland
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The richest man in the world, Elon Musk, got even richer in 2021. As of November, the Tesla CEO was able to increase his net worth above the $300 billion mark for the first time. And as 2021 has now wrapped, Musk is sitting on a fortune of $304.2Billion.

According to Forbes, Musk continues to hold the spot for the richest man in the world. Following Musk is French Billionaire Bernard Arnault, amassing a fortune of around $200.6 billion. Arnault is the CEO of fashion empire LVMH. Just behind Arnault is Amazon founder and former-CEO, Jeff Bezos. 

A large part of Musk’s success this year is credited to his electric car company, Tesla. Tesla delivered close to a million cars to consumers this year– 936,000 to be exact. This surpassed projections from analysts, and undeniably played a role in Elon Musk’s growing wealth. However, Tesla also recalled 475,000 of their vehicles this year. 

His company’s stock continues to do well, too. Some say Tesla’s soaring stock prices are a driving force behind growing wealth in South Africa. According to Forbes, Tesla shares increased by over 13 percent by market close. After dropping below the mark last month, this increase puts Tesla’s market capitalization over $1trillion once again. 

Elon Musk Will Pay $11 Billion in Taxes

Musk, who is the current CEO of Tesla, owns 15.6% of the companies’ stock. He continues to sell shares, and offloaded 3 million shares in the open market. It’s assumed that action was in order to cover tax bills on 5.7 million stock options that Musk exercised simultaneously. Musk took to Twitter to announce he’ll pay $11billion in taxes for 2021, which would make him one of the highest individual taxpayers in US history. However, $11billion represents less than 0.004% of Musks’ overall worth. 

The businessman sold roughly 15.7 million Tesla shares throughout 2021, worth over $16 billion (before tax). In 2021, Musk increased his wealth by $116 billion. It reportedly marks the highest 1-year increase by any billionaire since the platform started tracking the wealth of individuals with a high net worth. He’s set to become even richer as Tesla shares their fourth quarter earnings this month. Provided the company meets certain valuation and operational goals, the richest man’s wealth will grow even more. 

Billionaire Lets Twitter Dictate His Stock Moves, Sort Of

Musk made headlines in early November when he promised he would sell 10% of his Tesla stock if a twitter poll said he should. Some of these sales were certainly driven by tax-related reasons since he exercised stock options that expire in August. He’s sold $16.4 billion in shares since the poll, after Twitter users voted for the CEO to sell 10% of his Tesla stock. Last week, Musk said he would be done selling shares once his programmed sales ended. In September, Musk set up a pre-arranged plan in reference to stock sales for options that expire in 2022. According to a Tuesday filing, Tesla said the program is now complete, meaning Musk is also done selling his Tesla shares. 

In total, Musk sold around 15.7 million of his Tesla shares following his twitter poll, which is in fact right around the 10 percent mark he promised.

Outsider.com