Elon Musk’s ascents hit a new apex Monday as the Tesla Inc. co-founder passed Bill Gates to become the world’s second-richest person.
The 49-year-old entrepreneur’s net worth soared $7.2 billion to $127.9 billion, driven by yet another surge in Tesla’s share price. Musk has added $100.3 billion to his net worth this year.
Musk’s advance up the wealth ranks has been driven largely by Tesla, whose market value is approaching $500 billion. About three-quarters of his net worth is comprised of Tesla shares, which are valued more than four times as much as his stake in Space Exploration Technologies Corp., or SpaceX.
Musk’s milestone marks only the second time in the index’s eight-year history that Microsoft co-founder Gates has ranked lower than number two. Gates’s net worth of $127.7 billion would be much higher had he not donated so prodigiously to charity over the years. He has given more than $27 billion to his namesake foundation since 2006.
The year has been a lucrative one for the world’s richest people. Despite the pandemic and widespread layoffs that have disproportionately affected the world’s working class and poor, the richest have collectively gained 23% — or $1.3 trillion — since the year began.