After adjusting for inflation, John D. Rockefeller’s peak net worth was worth the modern equivalent of $340 billion. That inflation-adjusted $340 billion fortune allowed Rockefeller, who died in 1937 at the age of 97, to maintain the title of the richest person in modern history for over 80 years. Rockefeller’s record was broken on November 4, 2021.
On November 4, 2021, Elon Musk’s net worth was just over $340 billion. And that’s without having to adjust for inflation. His fortune actually sank back below $340 after a few hours, but he held the position long enough to officially take the title of richest human in modern history.
Fast forward to the present, a mere 425 days later, and the Tesla/SpaceX/Twitter chief has earned another title:
Elon Musk has now LOST more money than any other human in history. Let that sink in.
How Elon Musk Destroyed $210 Billion
As I type this article, Elon Musk’s net worth has dropped all the way back down to $130 billion. He is no longer the richest person in the world. Today that title belongs to Bernard Arnault, who currently has a net worth of $162 billion.
Elon’s fortunes have fallen largely thanks to the precipitous drop in Tesla’s share price.
In November 2021, a single share of Tesla would have cost you a bit more than $400. As of the close of markets Tuesday, a single Tesla share could be purchased for $108. That’s a 73% decline.
The decline in Tesla’s share price has happened for several reasons.
First, Elon has sold A TON of Tesla shares in the last year after barely ever selling a single share before. He had to sell shares to pay what he claimed was the largest IRS bill ever, and to create enough liquidity to prop up his disastrously stupid $44 billion acquisition of Twitter.
Secondly, and perhaps partly because of his recent Twitter controversies, demand for Tesla cars is waning. There are many cool new electric car options on the market, and buyers appear to be considering those options before running straight for a Tesla, as they once would have.
At his current $130 billion net worth, Elon Musk has (so far) seen $210 BILLION shaved from his net worth. No human in history has ever lost that much money. And frankly, it seems more likely that the losses will continue than reverse.
Elon takes the title of biggest wealth loser of all time from Binance founder Changpeng Zhao, who goes by “CZ.” CZ took the title from SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son.
Masayoshi Son – $77 billion loss in under a year
You probably know Masa and his company SoftBank thanks to their notoriously bad investment in WeWork. SoftBank set billions of dollars on fire propping up Adam Neumann’s money-incinerating office leasing company. But Masa’s wealth loss record was actually set decades before his dalliance with Neumann and and WeWork.
Back in the late 1990s/very early 2000s, Masayoshi Son’s net worth peaked at $78 billion thanks to a slew of very risky dotcom investments.
When the dotcom bubble exploded, every single investment Masayoshi Son had championed over the previous five years was decimated. As just one example, Softbank’s $400 million investment in E*Trade was reduced to just $22 million. Softbank’s market cap dropped a mind-numbing 98% from $180 billion to $2.5 billion.
With that drop in market cap, Masayoshi Son’s net worth plummeted from an all time high of $78 billion to an all time low of $1.1 billion in about a year. A personal loss of $76.9 billion.
Changpeng Zhao – $85 billion loss in 130 days
With crypto markets soaring back in January 2022 Changpeng Zhao, who goes by CZ, was sitting on a net worth of $97 billion. Fast forward to mid-May and his fortune had been reduced to $12 billion. That is the number he still controls today.
In other words, CZ went from $97 billion to $12 billion in just 130 days. That’s an $85 billion drop from peak to (today’s) trough. An astonishingly fast fall from grace. But! Thanks to Elon Musk, no longer the largest!