Elon Musk: Don't Be Offended by My Wealth. I Don't Spend It

Tesla CEO says he doesn't consume like a billionaire
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 20, 2022 8:11 AM CDT

If you begrudge Elon Musk his billions, take solace: He's not even spending all that money on himself. Like, not even on a villa, a mansion, or an apartment. USA Today reports the world's richest person talked about his $275 billion fortune in an interview with the head of TED Chris Anderson. He explains that he "tries to work as much as possible, to the edge of sanity, basically," saying that he's been able to increase the value of Tesla by $100 million in a half-hour meeting. But on the money front, Anderson points out that there are plenty of people who take real issue with extreme wealth, "like they are hugely offended by the notion" that a single person can be worth the same as what a billion of the world's poor are.

Musk brushes that off by pointing out what he calls "axiomatic flaws if that are leading them to that conclusion." He allows that it would be "problematic" if his personal consumption tallied up to billions a year. He makes clear he doesn't. "In fact, I don't even own a home right now. I'm literally staying at friends' places," he said. "If I travel to the Bay Area, which is where most of Tesla engineering is, I basically rotate through friends' spare bedrooms. I don't have a yacht, I don't really take vacations."

The one thing he has that the rest of us don't is a plane, but he says that's just so he has more hours to work. As for whether he's the richest of all, Musk says probably not: "If somebody is like the king or de facto king of a country, they're wealthier than I am." BuzzFeed News reports Musk "then tried to justify his immense wealth" by saying his companies have significant philanthropic value. "If you say philanthropy is love of humanity, they are philanthropy," he said. "Tesla is accelerating sustainable energy. This is a love of philanthropy. SpaceX is trying to ensure the long-term survival of humanity with a multiple-planet species. That is a love of humanity." (More Elon Musk stories.)

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