Elon Musk Early Life, Education and Net Worth

Little was known about Elon Musk until he was declared the wealthiest man on earth in January 2021. Then, his net worth was estimated to be about $174 billion, making him the richest man in the world. Elon Musk is an entrepreneur, engineer, industrial designer, founder, and co-founder of companies like PayPal and Tesla. He has founded companies like The Boring Company, Neuralink which is developing equipment for treating paralysis, and Hyperloop. 

In this article, we are going to focus on Elon Musk's early life, net worth, Education, family and companies.  

Elon Musk Net Worth

Elon Musk is the world’s second richest man with a net worth of $146.5 billion as of January 2023. He owns 25% of Tesla’s stocks and options but he has pledged more than half of his stock as security for loans. His rocket company SpaceX is valued at $125 billion.

Did Elon Musk Buy Twitter?

Yes. After a long battle with Twitter Executive, Musk completed Twitter take-over after finalizing the deal on October 27, 2022. Elon Musk became the new Twitter owner. He fired top executives including its CEO Parag Agrawal. Twitter stopped being a publicly traded company the following day.

Early Life of Elon Musk

Elon Musk was born on 28th June 1971 in Pretoria, South Africa. His mother Maye Musk is a Canadian and a model and a dietitian while his father Errol Musk is a South African electromechanical engineer. His parents divorced in 1979 and his siblings opted to stay with their mother.

Feeling sorry for his father, Elon decided to stay back with him. He stayed with him for 2 years, a decision he regrets now as an adult. Although Elon says his father was a gifted Engineer, he goes on to add that he was not a good person. His father was abusive emotionally and physically. 

Sour Relationship Between Elon Musk and His Father Errol Musk

The relationship between Elon Musk and his father Errol has grown sour over time. Elon described his father as “a terrible human being.” In an interview with Rolling Stone, Elon described his childhood as “miserable” and that his father was capable of doing “evil deeds.” He went on to say; "You have no idea. My dad will have a carefully thought-out plan of evil. He will plan evil."

At the age of 17, Musk left South Africa for Canada where he lived with one of his mother’s cousins. He later acquired Canadian citizenship. In 1995, he went to California, USA to attend Stanford University to study a business career. He stayed longer in the U.S and became a citizen in 2002.

Musk had developed an interest in technology at a tender age. He started developing computer programs at an age of 10. At 12, he sold a video game code he had developed for $500. In his childhood, Elon Musk was an introvert who got bullied in school. At one point he was hospitalized after some boys pushed him down the stairs.

Elon Musk Education Qualification

Elon Musk moved to Canada at the age of 17 to avoid mandatory South African military service, he enrolled in Queen’s University in Canada. He later transferred to the University of Pennsylvania in 1992 for an undergraduate degree in Economics and graduated in 1997. He stayed longer for a second bachelor’s degree in Physics.

After completing his second bachelor’s degree, he enrolled at Stanford University, where he pursued Ph.D in Energy Physics. He dropped out of school after two years before completing his Ph.D. Musk applied to join Netscape but never received a response and decided to start Zip2, an internet startup company. At the time, there was an internet boom. Musk decided to start his own companies after frustrations of not getting a job at Netscape

READ: What degrees does Elon Musk have?

Elon Musk’s Wives and Children

Elon Musk has been married twice to his first wife Justine Wilson. The two married in 2000. They have six children with Justine. Their firstborn died at 10 weeks due to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Elon Musk’s children include twins Griffin and Xavier born in 2004 and triplets Kai, Saxon, and Damian born in 2006. Musk and Justine divorced in 2008.

Musk married Talulah Riley, an actress in 2010 but later divorced in 2016. Since then, Musk started dating Amber Heard in 2016 and broke up in 2018 due to their busy schedules. The same year, Musk started dating Grimes, a musician. Musk and Grimes got a son on May 4, 2020. They named him "X Æ A-12." But the state of California declined the name since it had letters. They renamed him "X Æ A-Xii." 

Grimes and Elon Musk

Musk disliked his children's school since it did not teach them problem solving skills. He decided to start his own. Musk started Ad Astra, meaning to the stars, a private school for his children, SpaceX's employees and those with innovative ideas. 

Also read: How rich people spend their money.

Companies Founded by Elon Musk

Elon has founded and co-founded the following companies: 

1. Zip2

Zip2 was Elon Musk’s first company which he founded in 1995 in a small office in Palo Alto. He founded it with his brother Kimbal Musk and Greg Kouri. He got the startup capital through angel investors. At the time, Musk could not afford an apartment and he would sleep in the office and take a shower in YMCA. The website was up during the day and off during the night when he would code.

The company’s mandate was to provide content for websites like The New York Times and Chicago Tribune. In 1999, Musk sold the company to Compaq Computer Corporation for $307 million and $22 million in stock.

Kimbal Musk, Elon Musk's brother

2. PayPal

PayPay is an American fintech company Elon Musk co-founded in 1999. He founded X.com that later rebranded to PayPal using the money he sold Zip2. It was the first online bank and had over 200,000 customers before the 1st year was over. Investors in the company saw Musk as an inexperienced CEO and had him replaced by Bill Harris.

X.com merged with Confinity, an online bank to avoid unnecessary competition, and formed PayPal. It is then that Musk became the CEO and his preference for Microsoft software made Thiel, one of the founders of Confinity resign. Musk owned 11.7% of PayPal shares. In 2002, Musk made a fortune when PayPal was acquired by eBay and Musk received $100 million.

3. SpaceX

Elon Musk started SpaceX Company after failing to secure a deal to buy rockets in Russia. He started the company to start building affordable rockets. He developed Falcon 1 which was able to reach Erath orbit in 2008. SpaceX was awarded a contract by NASA to transport cargo to the International Space Station. In 2012, SpaceX launched Falcon 9 rocket into the space station, becoming the first private company to land in Space.

Through Starlink, Musk has managed to set up satellites in the orbit, which has made it easy to access the internet in rural areas. 

Related: Is Space exploration a waste of money?

4. Tesla

Elon Musk is the CEO of Tesla Motors, a company involved in the manufacture of electric cars. It also manufactures solar roofs and battery products. He is the engineer who oversees the design of Tesla’s products. In 2008, Tesla manufactured a car that can travel for 250 miles using a lithium-ion battery.

5. The Boring Company

Elon Musk launched The Boring Company in January 2017 which is drilling tunnels to help in underground transportation. The company’s move is to ease traffic congestion on the roads. The company received a contract to drill an underground tunnel that would help people move around Las Vegas Convention Center.

Read also: Elon Musk companies list.

6. Hyperloop

Hyperloop was founded in 2013 to help people to commute between different cities within the shortest time. The mode of transport is resistant to weather and is powered using renewable energy. Through it, people can travel at a speed of 700 mph in pressure tubes.

Summary of Elon Musk Early Life, Education and Net Worth

Elon Musk is a self-made billionaire and the world’s richest man. He has a high tolerance to risk allowing him to start great companies like SpaceX. Elon considers himself as an Engineer and a designer. When asked what motivated him to start these companies, he said; “I wanted to survive.”

Read More

This article was updated on December 31, 2022

Vincent Nyoike

Vincent Nyoike is an experienced business consultant and financial analyst. He is a CPA and is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Finance and Accounting at JKUAT. He holds a B.Sc. in Applied Statistics from the University of Eldoret