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How Elon Musk Lost His Status as Richest Man in The World

It has been a rocky week for Elon Musk. Last week, Forbes announced him as the richest man in the world. On Monday, Tesla shares fell by nearly eight percent, dropping Musk to the second position on that list, after Jeff Bezos.

Musk is worth $153.5 billion as of today, after losing almost 14 billion on Monday.

According to Business Insider, “Tesla shares fell by nearly 8% on Monday, their largest one-day fall since late September. Based on Forbes’ estimates, this pushed his total wealth down to $176.2 billion, compared with Bezos’ $182.1 billion fortune.”

Musk’s reaction was pretty relaxed. “How strange,” he tweeted, adding, “Well, back to work …”

How Did Musk Become the Richest in the World?

Although Musk takes only a small salary from his companies, he does have a 20 percent stake in Tesla, a 48 percent stake in SpaceX, and 57 million vested Tesla stock options, which is what made him the richest man in the world. One of the reasons Musk was able to become so rich is a little-known clause that awards Musk with stock options when Tesla reaches a certain goal, and Tesla had a fantastic 2020. Thus, Elon Musk became the highest-paid executive in 2020. And for a brief moment he overtook Jeff Bezos number one spot.

Who’s the Richest Now?

Jeff Bezos is still holding is number one spot, with his net worth totaling $182 billion according to NPR.

Bill Gates and Bernard Arnault take up spaces three and four on that list. However, these differences are really quite small when you consider that many of them depend on stock options rather than salaries. Billionaires switching places on the “who’s richest” list actually happens often enough. Though Jeff Bezos is atop the list for the second year in a row, Musk is in the running to beat him out again. Similarly, Gates and Arnault take turns being “worth” more.