Skip to content

This Is How Much Elon Musk Makes Every Year, Day, Hour, and Second

Hey there! Have you ever wondered exactly how much the world‘s richest people like Elon Musk make? As someone fascinated by economics and business, I decided to dig into how much Musk earns. The numbers are so unbelievable that I had to share them with you!

Let‘s walk through how this visionary entrepreneur went from a middle-class upbringing to becoming the second richest person on Earth. Understanding Musk‘s career history gives insight into how he accumulated his immense $180 billion net worth.

From Zip2 to PayPal: Musk‘s Early Successes

After earning degrees in physics and business, Musk jumped right into the tech startup world in the 1990s. He began by founding Zip2, an online city guide for newspapers.

Zip2 was acquired by Compaq in 1999 for $307 million, earning Musk $22 million for his 7% share. Not bad for a 28-year old! But he was just getting started.

Musk co-founded the online bank the same year. It merged with its rival Confinity and became the payment giant PayPal. When eBay bought PayPal in 2002 for $1.5 billion, Musk walked away with $165 million.

Founding Tesla and SpaceX

Flush with cash from Zip2 and PayPal, Musk was ready to dream bigger. He took on the space industry by founding SpaceX in 2002. Three years later, he led Tesla Motors‘ first venture capital round and became its chairman.

With ambitious visions for electric vehicles and private spaceflight, Musk began pouring his fortune into these two companies. It was in these sector-defining firms that he would finally become a billionaire.

The Road to a $180 Billion Fortune

Musk first joined the billionaire club in 2012 when his net worth hit $2 billion. Fast forward to today, and his net worth is over 90 times bigger at $180 billion!

Let‘s look at how Musk‘s net worth has ballooned since 2012:

Year Net Worth Key Events
2012 $2 billion – Becomes a billionaire
2020 $142 billion – Tesla stock rises 743% during year
2021 $264 billion – Added $121 billion to net worth
November 2021 $320 billion – Exceeds $300 billion net worth for first time
April 2022 $268 billion – Buys 9.2% stake in Twitter for $3 billion
October 2022 Below $200 billion – Tesla shares fall in 2022
March 2023 $180 billion – Rebounds after stock recovery

Imagine that – growing your net worth by nearly $180 billion in just over a decade! He even briefly became the world‘s first trillionaire on paper in 2021 when Tesla shares hit their peak.

Now, let‘s analyze how much he is earning on average per year, day, hour and second!

Elon Musk‘s Estimated Annual Earnings

Being the unconventional innovator that he is, Musk does not draw a regular CEO salary or bonus.

In fact, according to SEC filings, Musk earned zero salary from Tesla in both 2020 and 2021!

Instead, he receives stock option awards from Tesla that vest over time. For example, in 2018 shareholders approved a 10-year performance stock award for Musk that could be worth over $50 billion as Tesla hits key milestones.

Since Musk does not have a fixed annual income, his earnings come from increasing his net worth. On average, his net worth has grown by around $16 billion per year since 2012. But in recent years, his annual income from investment gains has been exponentially higher:

  • In 2020, he earned a whopping $140 billion as Tesla shares skyrocketed 743% during the year.

  • In 2021, Musk added another $121 billion to his wealth.

So while $16 billion per year is his 11-year average, his actual annual income varies drastically based on market performance.

Elon Musk‘s Daily, Hourly and Per Second Income

Let‘s break Musk‘s average annual earnings down further:

  • Per day: $44.38 million

  • Per hour: $1.85 million

  • Per second: $514

To put these astronomical numbers into perspective, let‘s see how Musk‘s income compares to average Americans:

  • The median annual income in the U.S. is around $34,000. At his current rate, Musk earns about 1.3 million times more per day than the average worker makes in an entire year.

  • If someone saved 100% of their $34,000 median income, it would take them 1,250 years to earn what Musk makes in a single day.

  • Musk earns more in one minute than the average American earns in 8 months of full-time work.

I don‘t know about you, but wrapping my head around these insane income gaps makes me dizzy!

Now keep in mind, Musk‘s actual income per day, hour and second varies widely with changes in his net worth. On good days, he might make 5 times more than his per-second average when Tesla‘s stock rallies.

Where Does All This Money Come From?

You‘re probably wondering – where exactly does Elon Musk‘s mind-boggling fortune come from? Here are the key sources:

1. Tesla Stock

Musk owns about 15% of Tesla. So when Tesla‘s share price rises $10, Musk gains over $2 billion on paper. Even fractional moves equate to tens of millions for Musk.

No surprise then that Tesla is the primary source of Musk‘s astronomical income. The chart below shows how his net worth has closely tracked Tesla‘s value:

Date Tesla Market Cap Musk‘s Net Worth
June 2012 $3 billion $2 billion
December 2021 $1 trillion $300 billion
November 2022 $500 billion $179 billion

Tesla‘s meteoric 1,700X rise in value over the past decade resulted in a 77,000% increase in Musk‘s net worth. No other asset has made Musk richer.

2. SpaceX and Other Ventures

Though not as lucrative as Tesla yet, Musk also owns about half of SpaceX. Once the rocket company pursues an IPO, his shares could be worth tens of billions.

Meanwhile, his new ownership stake in Twitter and investments like Neuralink give Musk a more diversified income portfolio beyond just Tesla.

As these private companies grow over time and potentially go public, Musk will accumulate even more wealth outside of Tesla stock gains.

Controversies Around His Extreme Wealth

While Musk‘s supporters praise his vision and business accomplishments, his $180 billion net worth has sparked intense criticism as well:

  • Some argue his wealth is built on $5 billion+ in government tax credits and contracts granted to Tesla and SpaceX. His companies rely heavily on various subsidies.

  • His fortune highlights vast inequality in America, where over 40 million live in poverty. Musk accrues more in a minute than many make in a year.

  • The way Musk acquires billions in Tesla stock options without upfront costs has been called an unfair and questionable practice.

  • Many advocate for higher taxes on billionaires like Musk who benefit from unrealized capital gains. Musk paid a "true tax rate" of about 3% between 2014 to 2018 according to ProPublica.

So while Musk clearly works hard, his extreme wealth compared to the average citizen raises concerns for many over inequality and tax avoidance by the super rich.

Even some billionaires including Bill Gates believe that multi-billion dollar fortunes are not ethical or beneficial for society. But Musk has pushed back, insisting that his wealth is not wasteful but aimed at advancing technology and humanity.

The debate rages on around whether one person should accumulate such an enormous fortune, even if they create successful companies in the process. With Musk poised to become the world‘s first trillionaire, this controversy won‘t be going away anytime soon.


I hope this breakdown gave you a better sense of Musk‘s astronomical earnings. He‘s amassed a $180 billion fortune through the meteoric growth of Tesla stock and shrewd investments in SpaceX, Twitter, and beyond.

Though he has no regular salary, Musk‘s average annual income is around $16 billion. At his current rate of gain, he earns a mind-boggling $44 million per day and $1.85 million per hour.

While admiring Musk‘s vision and business acumen, we also have to grapple with the staggering inequality his $180 billion net worth represents in a nation where millions face poverty and hardship. Likely the only way to settle this controversy is through political policy decisions on how to tax billionaires fairly.

But there‘s no denying that Musk has made history as the fastest person ever to accumulate such wealth. He is proof of what an innovative mind can accomplish in a short period of time. Granted, it certainly helps that he has not been afraid to take risks and shoot for the stars, both literally and metaphorically!

Let me know if you want me to research the income of other famous billionaires next time! Analyzing the fortunes and pay packages of the world‘s richest is always eye-opening, even if it may raise some concerns.