Elon Musk: Childhood and family, Education, Wealth, Personal life, and all about him

Elon Musk

Elon Reeve Musk is an entrepreneur and business magnate. He is the founder, CEO, and Chief Engineer at SpaceX; early-stage investor, CEO, and Product Architect of Tesla, Inc.; founder of The Boring Company; and co-founder of Neuralink and OpenAI. With an estimated net worth of around US$270 billion as of January 2022, Musk is the wealthiest person in the world according to both the Bloomberg Billionaires Index and the Forbes real-time billionaires list.

Musk was born to a Canadian mother and South African father, and raised in Pretoria, South Africa. He briefly attended the University of Pretoria before moving to Canada at age 17 to avoid conscription. He was enrolled at Queen’s University and transferred to the University of Pennsylvania two years later, where he received a bachelor’s degree in economics and physics, then moved to California in 1995 to attend Stanford University but decided instead to pursue a business career, co-founding the web software company Zip2 with his brother Kimbal. The startup was acquired by Compaq for $307 million in 1999. The same year, Musk co-founded online bank X.com, which merged with Confinity in 2000 to form PayPal. The company was bought by eBay in 2002 for $1.5 billion.

In 2002, Musk founded SpaceX, an aerospace manufacturer and space transport services company, of which he is CEO and CTO. In 2004, he joined electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla Motors, Inc. (now Tesla, Inc.) as chairman and product architect, becoming its CEO in 2008. In 2006, he helped create SolarCity, a solar energy services company that was later acquired by Tesla and became Tesla Energy. In 2015, he co-founded OpenAI, a nonprofit research company that promotes friendly artificial intelligence. In 2016, he co-founded Neuralink, a neurotechnology company focused on developing brain–computer interfaces, and founded The Boring Company, a tunnel construction company. Musk has proposed the Hyperloop, a high-speed vactrain transportation system.

Childhood and Family

Elon Reeve Musk was born on June 28, 1971, in Pretoria, South Africa. His mother is Maye Musk (née Haldeman), a model and dietitian born in Saskatchewan, Canada, but raised in South Africa. His father is Errol Musk, a South African electromechanical engineer, pilot, sailor, consultant, and property developer who was once a half owner of a Zambian emerald mine near Lake Tanganyika. Musk has a younger brother, Kimbal (born 1972), and a younger sister, Tosca (born 1974). His maternal grandfather, Joshua Haldeman, was an American-born Canadian, and Musk has British and Pennsylvania Dutch ancestry.

The family was very wealthy in Elon’s youth; Errol Musk once said, “We had so much money at times we couldn’t even close our safe”. After his parents divorced in 1980, Musk mostly lived with his father in Pretoria and elsewhere, a choice he made two years after the divorce and subsequently regretted. Musk has become estranged from his father, whom he describes as “a terrible human being… Almost every evil thing you could possibly think of, he has done.” He has a half-sister and a half-brother on his father’s side. Elon attended an Anglican Sunday school in his youth.

Around age 10, Musk developed an interest in computing and video games and acquired a Commodore VIC-20. He learned computer programming using a manual and, at age 12, sold the code of a BASIC-based video game he created called Blastar to PC and Office Technology magazine for approximately $500. An awkward and introverted child, Musk was bullied throughout his childhood and was once hospitalized after a group of boys threw him down a flight of stairs. He attended Waterkloof House Preparatory School and Bryanston High School before graduating from Pretoria Boys High School.

Wealth

Musk made $165 million when PayPal was sold to eBay in 2002. He was first listed by Forbes Billionaires in 2012, and has a net worth of $2 billion.
At the beginning of 2020, Musk’s net worth was $27 billion.  By the end of the year, his net worth had increased by $150 billion, driven largely by his ownership of around 20% of Tesla stock. During this, Musk’s net worth was often volatile. For example, it fell by $16.3 billion in September, the largest one-day drop in the history of the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

In November of that year, Musk surpassed Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to become the third richest person in the world. A week later, Bill Gates passed the co-founder of Microsoft to become the second richest company. In January 2021, Musk, who has a net worth of $185 billion, surpassed Amazon founder Jeff Bezos to become the richest person in the world. Bezos regained first place the following month. On September 27, 2021, Forbes magazine announced that Musk had a net worth of more than $200 billion, and was the richest person in the world after Tesla’s stock surged. In November 2021, Musk became the first person to have a net worth over $300 billion.

About three-quarters of Musk’s fortune derives from Tesla. Musk does not receive a salary from Tesla. In 2018, he approved a compensation plan with the board of directors that ties his personal earnings to Tesla’s valuation and revenue. The deal stipulated that Musk would only receive compensation if Tesla reached certain market values. It was the largest such deal ever between the CEO and the board of directors. In the first prize, awarded in May 2020, he was eligible to purchase 1.69 million TSLA shares (about 1% of the company) at below-market prices, which amounted to approximately $800 million.

Musk has repeatedly described himself as “monetically poor”, and “has claimed he cares little about the material trappings of wealth.” In 2012, Musk signed The Giving Pledge and in May 2020, Musk pledged to “sell nearly all tangible property.” In 2021, Musk defended his fortune by saying that he “accumulates resources to help make multiplanetary life expand the light of consciousness to the stars.” In the early 2000s, Musk was a private pilot, his aircraft of choice after that was the L-39 Albatros, although he decided to stop flying by 2008. He used a private jet owned by SpaceX and acquired a second jet in August 2020. Extensive use of fossil fuels – it flew more than 150,000 miles in 2018 – has come under fire. According to ProPublica, Musk did not pay any federal income taxes in 2018.

Education

Realizing that it would be easier to enter the United States from Canada, Musk applied for a Canadian passport through his Canadian-born mother. While waiting for documents, he attended the University of Pretoria for five months; This allowed him to avoid mandatory service in the South African army. Musk arrived in Canada in June 1989, lived with his second cousin in Saskatchewan for a year, working odd jobs on a farm and lumber mill. In 1990, he attended Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. Two years later, he transferred to the University of Pennsylvania, where he graduated in 1995 with a Bachelor of Science in Economics and a Bachelor of Arts in Physics.

In 1994, Musk had two summer internships in Silicon Valley: at energy storage startup Pinnacle Research, which researched electrolytic supercapacitors for energy storage, and at Palo Alto startup Rocket Science Games. In 1995, he was accepted into the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) program in materials science at Stanford University in California. Musk tried to get a job at Netscape but received no response to his inquiries. He left Stanford two days later, deciding instead to join the internet boom and launch an internet startup