Elon Musk, the well-known South African billionaire and once richest person on earth, now holds the record for the largest loss of personal fortune in recorded history.
Forbes has calculated that he has suffered a loss of around $182 billion (£153 billion; €173 billion) since November 2021, although, according to other sources, there is evidence that this may really be closer to $200 billion.
Musk’s total losses substantially exceed those of Japanese tech investor Masayoshi Son, who lost $58.6 billion—the previous record for losses—in the year 2000. It must be noted, however, that it is nearly impossible to accurately determine the precise amount of financial loss.
Forbes points out that at his all-time high, Elon Musk was worth $320 billion. This was in 2021. However, as of January 6, 2023, the wealth of the business magnate and investor is estimated at $138 billion. The decline is mostly attributable to the underperformance of Tesla’s shares.
After the market closed for the year on December 30, 2022, Musk tweeted: “Long-term fundamentals are extremely strong. Short-term market madness is unpredictable.”
Long-term fundamentals are extremely strong. Short-term market madness is unpredictable.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 30, 2022
Musk is no longer the richest person
As a result of Musk’s misfortunes, he is no longer the richest person in the world. That title now belongs to Bernard Arnault, the founder of the French luxury goods conglomerate Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVMH). Arnault is estimated to have a net worth of approximately $190 billion (£156 billion; €177 billion).
Elon Musk may have lost the coveted title of the world's richest person in 2022.
— Interesting Engineering (@IntEngineering) January 13, 2023
Moreover, the majority of Elon Musk’s money is locked into Tesla shares, the value of which plummeted by 65 percent in 2022.
This alarming financial loss picked up speed in October just after Elon Musk acquired Twitter for around $44 billion (£37 billion; €42 billion). The controversial takeover, along with Musk’s divisive behavior on the platform, caused the worst sell-off of Tesla stock since the company went public in 2010.
Tesla is still the most valuable company
Despite the significant drop in profitability, Tesla continues to be the most valuable automobile business in the world. The company’s market valuation is over a hundred billion dollars higher than that of Toyota, which is the second most successful automotive manufacturer.
Tesla is Now the World's Most Valuable Automaker
⚡️How does Tesla’s value continue to balloon, despite repeated cries that the company is overvalued?
⚡️Will shortsellers declare a long-awaited victory, or is there still open road ahead?#ev #mobilityhttps://t.co/JvuzxjpJy1 pic.twitter.com/8PPzQzlT5C
— Wilko S. Wolters 🇪🇺 (@WSWMUC) July 3, 2020
Even though Musk has lost more money than any other individual in the history of humanity, there is, as everyone is surely aware, no concern over his going hungry anytime soon.
He may have dropped a place, but he is, nevertheless, still the second-richest person in the world, and he remains in good spirits. During his trip to Qatar, he was able to witness Messi lift the World Cup trophy.
Billionaires are, after all, accustomed to the volatility and value shifts that are characteristic of such massive fortunes. This is because the majority of a billionaire’s wealth is often comprised of shares and other forms of assets, which are affected by market values of investments at any given moment.
This is particularly true with self-made billionaires such as Musk and Masayoshi Son. The net worth of such individuals is typically entirely based on market valuation of their established businesses and companies.