Elon Musk admits to contemlating suicide. Photo: PATRICK PLEUL/POOL/AFP.

R3.4 trillion net worth: How Elon Musk became the richest person

From his first business venture to becoming the CEO of Twitter, here’s a look at World’s Richest Person Elon Musk’s career.


Elon Musk admits to contemlating suicide. Photo: PATRICK PLEUL/POOL/AFP.

South African-born billionaire Elon Musk officially reclaimed his title as the World’s Richest Person on Monday 27 February, pushing LMVH CEO Bernard Arnault to second place – here’s a look at how the Tesla and SpaceX CEO amassed his R3.4 trillion net worth.

ALSO READ: SA-born billionaire Elon Musk reclaims World’s Richest Person title


Billionaire Elon Musk was born on 28 June 1971, in Pretoria, South Africa. He is the son of South African engineer Errol Musk and Canadian-South African model and dietician Maye Musk.

Errol and Maye also have two other children together – Kimbal (50) and Tosca (48). While Errol is also a father to Alexandra and Asha, who he welcomed with ex-wife Heide Bezuidenhout. Errol later welcomed two younger children with his stepdaughter Jana Bezuidenhout. All four of his children are the billionaire’s step-siblings.

Five things to know about Errol Musk’s stepdaughter he impregnated. Image GIANLUIGI GUERCIA/AFP and Instagram @janaloves_life.

The 51-year-old matriculated at Pretoria Boys High School. He later moved to Canada where he studied for his Bachelor’s degree in physics and economics at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. 

ALSO READ: Behind the billions: Errol Musk’s net worth, scandals and more


  • While he was a university student, Musk and his classmate rented out a 10-bedroom frat house and turned it into a nightclub. 
  • According to CNBC, Musk and his brother Kimbal also founded Zip2 – A company that provided and licensed online city guide software to newspapers. While the company got off the ground Musk lived in the office and showered at a local YMCA. The company was later bought for $341 million (over R4 billion) in cash and stock. 
  • Musk thereafter started an online banking company called The company later merged with Confinity to form PayPal where the billionaire was named CEO. However, he was later fired.  eBay then bought PayPal, and as the company’s biggest single shareholder he made $165 million (over R2 billion) of the $1.5 billion price eBay paid. 
  • In 2002, he started SpaceX with $100 million (R1.5 billion) he received from the eBay buyout.
  • Musk made his first investment in Tesla Motors in 2004. He also helped develop their first car, the Roadster. However, the company was not doing that well until he personally invested his own money to save the company from bankruptcy in 2008. That same year he was named the CEO. 
  • After some back and forth, the father of 10 took over Twitter in October 2022. CNN reported that the billionaire fired the company’s top executives and made himself CEO.

ALSO READ: Bernard Arnault: 5 things to know about the world’s 2nd richest man


In December 2022, Musk lost his spot as the World’s Richest Person to LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault took over. On Monday 27 February, the billionaire reclaimed his title as World’s Richest Person and moved Arnault to the second spot.

Musk’s net worth is now worth more than that of Arnault sitting at $187.1 billion (R3.4 trillion). According to Bloomberg Billionaire’s Index, Tesla stock lifted the billionaire back to the top of their real-time Billionaires Index. 

Musk is just R2 billion ahead of Arnault, whose net worth is R185 billion, which also equates to R3.4 trillion in rands.

ALSO READ: World’s Richest Person: Elon Musk’s kids and ‘baby mamas’