LOS ANGELES - MAR 2: Elon Musk at the 2014 Vanity Fair Oscar Party at the Sunset Boulevard on March 2, 2014 in West Hollywood, CA

How Elon Musk Lost More Money Than Anyone Else in History

Elon Musk has long been considered to be a business genius. His companies, which include SpaceX and Tesla, have enjoyed considerable interest from investors and have been the subject of many fawning write-ups from financial analysts. However, after Musk purchased Twitter in late 2022, things took a turn.

By taking the reigns of Twitter, Musk seems to have signaled to Tesla investors that he’s less than serious about his other companies. This resulted in a stunning drawback in investor confidence in Tesla’s future performance, tanking the stock price by 65% by the end of 2022. 

Musk’s Wealth Loss Is Record-Setting

Musk now owns a Guinness World Record for the most wealth ever lost by an individual. Since most of his assets are tied up in his shares of Tesla, the company’s poor stock performance shrank Musk’s fortune from an eye-watering $320 billion in 2021 to the still-outrageous sum of $147 billion. This, naturally, has given Musk’s critics plenty of ammo. He’s the butt of countless jokes on Twitter, and critics routinely characterize his cars as overpriced and dangerous.

Musk’s defenders chalk this up to jealousy. They say that people only want to want to see the entrepreneur fail because they want what he has. And while that might be true of some critics, most seem to genuinely not like Musk as a person.

The World’s Second-Wealthiest Man

This dramatic drop-off in wealth makes Musk the second-richest person on the planet, now behind LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault. LVMH is a luxury goods conglomerate that has enjoyed staggering success in the past few years, catapulting Arnault’s name to the top of many financial watchlists and breaking Musk’s hold on the title of “world’s wealthiest man.” 

In a turn that must be frustrating for Tesla executives, the company actually grew in terms of sales throughout 2022. It delivered 40% more cars last year than it did in 2021, leaving the only explanation for investor malcontent to be the perceived issues with Musk’s leadership. 

New World Record

Musk is now the owner of a less-than-distinguished title, having lost nearly $200 billion in personal wealth. The previous owner of that title, Masayoshi Son, is a Japanese tech investor who earned the distinction of “losing the most money in human history” during a bout of dot com bubble bursts in 2000. While Musk has made few public statements about the record, he is reportedly looking for someone else to take over the role as CEO of Twitter while he presumably focuses on running Tesla.