Multi-billionaire Elon Musk's real net worth, like his personality, is volatile and mercurial.
Probably the best known billionaire in the world (and undoubtedly the most covered by the news and social media), Musk and his exact wealth are a matter of speculation because he lives such an un-billionaire type existence.
For one, Musk has no guaranteed multimillion dollar annual salary plus stock options and perks from Tesla Inc. Musk has a $56,000 monthly salary from Tesla but hasn't drawn this salary even once. Seems Musk relies on his salaries and perks from his other businesses such as SpaceX, The Boring Company, OpenAI and Neuralink to get by.
But here's what we know about Musk's wealth. Forbes estimates his "real time net worth" as of May 15 at $19.5 billion. That's good for Number 40 on Forbes' billionaires list. CNBC places Musk's net worth at about $23.6 billion (no mention of a time frame).
And here's why it's tough placing an exact number on Musk's wealth.
In January, Tesla announced it will pay Musk nothing -- nothing -- for the next 10 years. Nothing means no salary, no bonus, no stock. Musk will only get something when Tesla reaches a market cap of $100 billion. Tesla's market cap as of May 15 stands at $41 billion.
Observers note that if Musk meets the goal of leading Tesla to a $100 billion market cap, and the stock value rises during that time period, it "could net him more than $50 billion." Others claim this will allow Musk to take on the title of richest person in the world replacing Jeff Bezos.
Bezos' real time net worth as of May 15, according to Forbes, is $153.2 billion. A fourth of this massive amount, however, will go to his ex-wife Mackenzie as part of their divorce settlement.
Tesla Inc., however, isn't leaving its boss out in the cold. In addition to the $50 billion or so he could make, Tesla shareholders in March approved a plan awarding Musk $2.6 billion in stock options.
Musk will receive this amount in 12 tranches when Tesla hits key milestones over the next decade. The $2.6 billion is Tesla's stock value on March 21.
This article was first published in IBTimes US. Permission required for reproduction.