Forbes 400: Elon Musk Climbs Into Top 10

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FREMONT, CA — The man who founded Tesla, Fremont's largest employer, is now worth $68 billion, according to an estimate by Forbes. Elon Musk's soaring net worth puts him at No. 7 on the Forbes 400 list of richest billionaires in the United States for 2020, released this week.

Forbes notes, "The year’s biggest gainer, in percentage terms, is Elon Musk, who’s an astounding 242% richer than he was on last year’s ranking. A lot has happened since then, including Musk raising more than $2 billion in new funding for his rocket company, SpaceX, and getting two enormous grants of Tesla stock options as part of the audacious compensation agreement he signed with the electric carmaker in 2018. Tesla stock has been on a tear, rising 520% by the time Forbes took a final measure of net worths on July 24 — helping add $48.1 billion to Musk’s net worth since last year’s list. He was the 23rd wealthiest person in America on the 2019 ranking, worth $19.9 billion; this year he’s up to number 7, worth $68 billion."

Forbes includes a list of bullet points on Musk for the Forbes 400 article including:

  • Elon Musk is working to revolutionize transportation both on Earth, through electric car maker Tesla — and in space, via rocket producer SpaceX.

  • He owns 21% of Tesla but has pledged more than half his stake as collateral for loans; Forbes has discounted his stake to take the loans into account.

  • He stepped down as chairman in 2018, after making alleged "false statements" about a plan to take Tesla private, triggering an SEC [Securities and Exchange Commission] probe.

  • SpaceX, Musk's rocket company, is now valued at nearly $36 billion.

  • He grew up in South Africa, then immigrated to Canada at age 17. He landed in the U.S. as a transfer student to the University of Pennsylvania.

Musk signed the Giving Pledge when he had a mere $2 billion, promising to give away at least half of his money. Forbes delved into how much money from Musk has reached charitable organizations. The total: $100 million. Forbes calls Musk "a famously cash-poor billionaire" because almost all of his wealth is tied up in his companies.

The Musk Foundation was launched in 2002. Many contributions have gone to nonprofits focused on scientific research or education. Another big winner was the Sierra Club, which received $6 million.

Forbes estimates that, at his current level of wealth, he would have to give away more than $2 million a day for the rest of his life to meet the pledge.

Musk, who is 49, has said that he will step up charitable donations later in life.

Forbes tracks daily net worth based on the closing price of stocks. Musk's wealth after the stock market closed on Wednesday: $79.1 billion.

In building the Forbes 400 list, all types of assets were factored including stakes in public and private companies, real estate, art, yachts, planes, ranches, vineyards, jewelry, car collections and more. Debts were subtracted.

The cutoff to make this year's list: $2.1 billion. Hundreds of billionaires were snubbed.

California is well represented, with five of the top 10 here, all of whom are self-made. The total number of California billionaires on the list: 100.

Here's the Forbes 400 Top 10 list for 2020:

  1. Jeff Bezos: $179 billion

  2. Bill Gates: $111 billion

  3. Mark Zuckerberg: $85 billion

  4. Warren Buffett: $73.5 billion

  5. Larry Ellison: $72 billion

  6. Steve Ballmer: $69 billion

  7. Elon Musk: $68 billion

  8. Larry Page: $67.5 billion

  9. Sergey Brin: $65.7 billion

  10. Alice Walton: $62.3 billion

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This article originally appeared on the Fremont Patch

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