Elon Musk’s net worth collapse is biggest loss of wealth in modern history

Elon Musk, pictured on 29 August 2022 in Stavanger, Norway, is the CEO of The Boring Company, Neuralink, SpaceX, Tesla and Twitter (Getty Images)
Elon Musk, pictured on 29 August 2022 in Stavanger, Norway, is the CEO of The Boring Company, Neuralink, SpaceX, Tesla and Twitter (Getty Images)

Elon Musk has seen his net worth plummet by more than $200 billion over the last 13 months, marking the biggest loss of wealth in modern history.

The tech billionaire lost more than half of his fortune between November 2021, and December 2022, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, largely due to the collapse of Tesla stock during that time.

The $208 billion wiped from Mr Musk’s net worth is roughly equivalent to the annual GDP of Greece.

The amount lost is also more than the total net worth of the current world’s richest person, Bernard Arnault.

After topping the rich list for most of the year, Mr Musk lost his place to the French business magnate earlier this month, though remains ahead of other US tech billionaires that have dominated the list in recent years.

Mr Musk’s net worth peaked at $338 billion in November 2021, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, coinciding with the fortunes of Tesla.

The electric car maker has lost roughly 70 per cent of its value in 2022 following production delays in China, vehicle recalls, and concerns among investors that its CEO has been distracted by his new role as head of Twitter.

Tesla’s market cap is down by nearly $900 billion since November 2021, causing it to drop out of the top 10 most valuable companies.

Despite the losses, Tesla remains the world’s most valuable car maker by a distance, with its losses over the last year equivalent to the combined market cap of all other automakers.

In a recent email to Tesla staff, Mr Musk wrote that he believed Tesla will become “the most valuable company on Earth” in the long-term.

“Don’t be too bothered by stock market craziness,” he wrote, according to Reuters. “As we demonstrate continued excellent performance, the market will recognise that.”

Mr Musk rarely speaks of his wealth, though did explain his ambitions for his fortune in a Twitter thread in 2018.

“You should ask why I would want money,” he wrote. “About half my money is intended to help problems on Earth and half to help establish a self-sustaining city on Mars to ensure the continuation of life (or all species) in case Earth gets hit by a meteor like the dinosaurs or WW3 happens and we destroy ourselves.”

Other US billionaires have seen their wealth decline significantly over the last year, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq falling by around a third in 2022.

Microsoft’s Bill Gates, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Oracle’s Larry Ellison and Google’s Larry Page have lost more than $180 billion combined since January.