Elon Musk Displaces Bezos as the Richest Person in the World

Elon Musk just became this week the wealthiest person in the world.

On Thursday (Jan 7), the increase of about 8% in Tesla‘s shares pushed him to overtake Jeff Bezos’s position, which had been at the top of the list since 2017.

On the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, updated at the close of every trading day in New York, Musk’s net worth was $195 billion, $10 billion higher than Amazon’s founder.

Tesla’s co-founder’s wealth surge over the past year marks the fastest rise to the top of the list in history. One year ago, he was in 35th place. 

And it was only less than two months ago when Musk surpassed Microsoft founder Bill Gates and became the second-richest person in the world.

This Friday, Tesla’s shares were still rising.

On Friday afternoon, the Forbes Real Time Billionaires List was showing Musk with a net worth at $190 billion and Bezos at $186 billion – Forbes may not be including the value of Musk’s options, which he received as part of his pay package, to buy more than 33 million shares of Tesla.

The 49-year-old entrepreneur commented on the news of his status as the world’s richest person on Twitter, saying “how strange” and “well, back to work …”

What does he plan to do with all this money?

The CEO of Tesla and SpaceX said in an interview for Business Insider in early December he plans to dedicate as much money as he can to colonizing Mars. He’s selling most of his material possessions in the process. He has said previously he wants to build a city of 1 million people on Mars by 2050. “I think it is important for humanity to become a spacefaring civilization and a multiplanet species,” he said.

Musk also said that all his money comes from its stocks in Tesla and SpaceX (the rocket maker is one of the world’s most valuable private companies). “If Tesla and SpaceX go bankrupt, I will go bankrupt personally. One-hundred percent.”

Controversy aside, though, why does Tesla keep going up?”

In late December, Tesla joined the S&P 500 index, which tracks the shares of the biggest US companies. 

And the electric vehicle company surpassed Facebook by market capitalization after trading opened this Friday, becoming the fifth most valuable U.S. Company. Its market cap is now about $820 billion, while Facebook is $763 billion.

Tesla, founded only 17 years ago, worth more than Toyota, Volkswagen, Hyundai, GM, and Ford combined.

One reason for the rally this week is probably a note from Morgan Stanley, saying rising Tesla’s target price from $540 to $810, following the news, the company delivered a record number of cars in the fourth quarter. Tesla’s shares closed at $880 this Friday, after rising about 18% in the week.

Also, the Georgia runoff outcome, which gave Democrats control of the house and senate, is positive for the electric automaker.

President-elect Joe Biden’s clean energy plan includes creating 1 million new jobs in the domestic auto industry and expanding electric vehicle charging infrastructure across the country.

Not everybody thought they saw such a bright outlook for Tesla. 

Michael Burry, one of the first investors to predict correctly and profit from the subprime mortgage crisis  – he was immortalized in the book “The Big Short,” used as the basis for the 2015 film of the same name predicts something similar will happen with Tesla.

“Well, my last Big Short got bigger and bigger and BIGGER too,” Burry tweeted on Thursday.

In December, he disclosed he was shorting Tesla, calling the stock price “ridiculous.”