How Long Would It Take the Average American To Earn Elon Musk’s Wealth?

Mandatory Credit: Photo by CLEMENS BILAN/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock (10473187bq)Tesla CEO Elon Musk attends the awarding ceremony of 'Das Goldene Lenkrad' (lit.
CLEMENS BILAN/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock / CLEMENS BILAN/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Elon Musk, the inventor and economically savvy businessman, has been making waves in the business world with his recent purchase of Twitter. In today’s climate, technological inventors are one of highest valued positions to be in — and one of the most lucrative. That clearly rings true in Musk’s case, as the man behind groundbreaking modernization of the travel industry through Tesla Motors and Space X is now also the richest man in the world.

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Here’s a look at how Elon Musk accumulated his impressive wealth and how long it would take the average American to become as rich as him.

Elon Musk’s Road To Becoming the Richest Man in the World

Elon Musk began accumulating wealth when he sold PayPal, an online payment app, for $1.5 billion in 2002. The 50-year-old is renowned for co-founding the electric car company, Tesla Motors, where he owns 21% of the company and has $183 billion in shares, Forbes reported. In November 2021, Tesla’s stocks were climbing so rapidly that Musk was briefly the first person to ever be worth over $300 billion. 

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In addition to transforming transportation on Earth, he has also made great leaps in space exploration through his rocket firm, SpaceX, which is valued at $100 billion, Forbes reported. Musk continues to make financial moves, with his latest being in April when he became the owner of Twitter after paying the company $44 billion. He made the deal after revealing he is the largest shareholder of the social media site, with a 9.1% stake in Twitter. 

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Elon Musk’s Net Worth 

Musk’s net worth is $246.5 billion as of April 27, according to Forbes. His net worth began growing rapidly in 2002 after he sold PayPal. 

How Long Would It Take To Be as Rich as Elon Musk?

Using the median U.S. income and average per-capita personal consumption expenditure, and comparing it to Musk’s net worth, GOBankingRates found that it would take 10,910,641 years and 93 days to become as rich as Musk with just savings. Even if the savings were invested, it would still take 9,972,673 years and 69 days.

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Methodology: GOBankingRates calculated how long it would take the average American to earn Kim Kardashian’s and Elon Musk’s net worth by using median household income data from the 2020 American Community Survey as conducted by the Census Bureau and 2021 Q4 per capita consumption data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. GOBankingRates found the difference between what a median household earns and national per-capita consumption, and divided that figure by both Elon Musk’s net worth ($246.5 billion) as well as Kim Kardashian’s net worth ($1.8 billion) in order to find how many years and days it would take to reach their respective net worths for the average American. All data was collected on and up to date as of April 27, 2022. Median household income was used for this study because per-capita income wouldn’t cover the per-capita consumption in every state. In addition, to account for investing leftover income, we took the difference between annual income and consumption expenditure and assumed it was invested in a portfolio with the average investor’s long-term average of around 5.5%, according to Zacks Investment Research.

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About the Author

Maddie Duley is a content intern for ConsumerTrack writing about finances for GOBankingRates. She is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in communication and design from the University of California Davis.

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