He is a man of vision - a man who sent a car to space and who dreams of populating Mars (yep, the planet!) - and he was born in Mzansi! Elon Musk’s ingenuity knows no limits and he now holds the title of richest person in the world.
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Elon Musk’s head isn’t in the clouds. No, his dreams reach far beyond that to the stars that shine above us, to the uninhabitable planets in our solar system. The 50-year-old surpassed Jeff Bezos as the richest man on the planet, but his aspirations were never financially motivated and the lack of luxury seen in his lifestyle proves it.
As of 24 April, Elon Musk is worth a staggering $269.7 billion according to Forbes’ real-time billionaires rankings. This amounts to more than R4 trillion, which is enough money to sustain the whole of South Africa for two years while still being considered rich.
Yet, despite having all the money in the world, almost quite literally, Elon Musk doesn’t live a flashy, luxury life. In fact, the man who tops the world’s richest people list doesn’t even own property.
Briefly News took a look at Musk’s life, career, and how he spends his riches.
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Elon Musk is South African - well, sort of
Who would have thought the world’s richest man would be from South Africa? The 50-year-old came into the world on June 28, 1971, in the city of Pretoria. He's the son of a South African father and Canadian mother. Musk grew up in South Africa, even attending the University of Pretoria. At the age of 17, Musk and his family moved to his mother’s home country.
In an interview that went viral on Mzansi social media, Musk explained why he left SA. The dollar-billionaire said he emigrated to avoid being forced to join the South African Army, which at the time was still being run by the apartheid government.
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In the interview, Musk stated:
"Spending two years suppressing black people didn’t seem to be a great use [of the] force.”
Elon Musk has been gifted since a young age
Musk is without a doubt one of the brightest minds of his generation. He has reached goals many would have thought impossible. The SpaceX founder was somewhat of a young genius. He got his first taste of programming before hitting double digits. At the age of nine, Musk got his first computer and taught himself programming and coding. By the age of 12, he sold a game he created called Blastar to PC and Office Technology magazine for about R7 700, according to The Verge.
From selling a basic-code game at 12 to owning several companies
Blastar was only the beginning of Musk’s successful career in technology. Days after moving to the United States to study at Stanford University, Musk dropped out to start a business with his brother instead.
Briefly News previously reported Musk and his brother, Kimbal, founded Zip2 Corporation. This was a phenomenal success and they ended up selling the company to Compaq for an unbelievable $340 million. He used this as the capital to start many different successful companies such as Paypal, SpaceX, Tesla and many more.
Today, Musk owns shares in several large and successful companies, including Twitter, as well as being the CEO of his own businesses.
Elon Musk is the definition of big dreamer
No one thought it would be possible to send a car to space or for a private company to successfully launch, orbit and recover a spacecraft, but Musk achieved it.
Musk has proved over and over again that he will achieve any dream he conjures up in that complex and intellectually gifted mind. So, what on earth could he have left to achieve? Technically, Musk’s biggest dream isn’t something he can realise on this planet. He has set his sights on Mars.
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Musk is “highly confident” that through his company, SpaceX, humans will set foot on Mars by 2026. CNBC previously reported Musk wants to populate Mars so that humanity is not a 'single-planet species'.
"It's been now almost half a century since humans were last on the moon. That's too long, we need to get back there and have a permanent base on the moon — again, like a big permanently occupied base on the moon. And then build a city on Mars to become a spacefaring civilization, a multi-planet species,“ Musk said after SpaceX launched its Crew-2 mission to orbit in 2021.
Mars isn’t the only seemingly impossible thing Musk wants to achieve. The Tesla founder previously said he thinks humans can live forever when they download their brains into robots that allow them to preserve memories.
Musk founded Neuralink that is working to enhance how brain-machine interfaces with people could enable them to store memory as a backup. Musk told Fortune that in the short term, it is just about solving brain and spinal injuries, saying that Neuralink’s products will be useful to someone who has lost the use of their limbs or has a traumatic brain injury.
The company’s aim is to integrate artificial intelligence into the human brain. According to Learnodo Newtonic, Neuralink is working on a gadget which will be implanted into the brain and enable humans to control any wireless device with just the power of thought. There really is no limit to Musk’s imagination and aspirations.
From couch-surfing to living in a box, Elon Musk doesn’t own any residential property
Whenever we think about super wealthy people, we often dwell on the lives all that moola enables them to live. From fancy cars to private jets, holiday homes in Italy and France to mansions in the multi-million-dollar-property hotspots, the rich and famous can afford lifestyles most of us only dream about.
With a nett worth of over R4 trillion one would expect Musk to own several pieces of prime real-estate. The 50-year-old has made headlines with his living situation, but not because he splashed millions on a home. Nope, despite having enough money to fund SA for a couple of years, Musk doesn’t own a single property.
In an interview with TED's Chris Anderson, Musk he doesn’t splash billions every year in personal consumption.
He said: “I don't even own a home right now, I'm literally staying at friends' places. If I travel to the Bay Area, which is where most of Tesla's engineering is, I basically rotate through friends' spare bedrooms.”
For a while there were speculation that Musk lived in a box. Okay, not an old fridge cardboard box, but a pop-up home designed by Boxabl. Musk set the record straight, revealing he was living in a tiny home but not one designed by the ‘cool’ company.
Taking to Twitter, Musk wrote:
”I've actually been living in a $50k house in south Texas for past 2 years, not Boxabl (cool product tho)," he wrote, adding: "Feels more homey to live in a small house."
Musk added that mansions are not the only luxury he refrains from purchasing. He revealed he doesn’t own a yacht and don’t take luxury vacations. Musk said the only exception he made that could be labelled as a luxury was his private jet.
However, his didn’t buy an aircraft to jetset around to world to exotic places, it is purely for work.
Musk was quoted saying:
”I mean the one exception is a plane, but if I don't use the plane then I have less hours to work.”
For Musk, the ultimate goal is achieving the impossible, not living a life of luxury
Elon Musk is not driven by the desire to life a luxurious life - which is definitely ironic since he has more money than anyone else on the planet. Musk‘s ambition reaches far beyond the materialistic things this world has to offer and it is going to be interesting to see if he continues to make the impossible, possible.
Source: Briefly News