Elon Musk breaks record for largest loss of wealth in history, says Guinness

FILE - Elon Musk at a Tesla factory. (Patrick Pleul/Pool via AP)

Elon Musk, still considered the second-richest person in the world, has been awarded a Guinness World Record for the “largest loss of personal fortune in history.”

Since his wealth peaked in November 2021, the tech billionaire has lost approximately US$182 billion (around $250 billion), the records-cataloguing organization said, citing Forbes.

“Musk’s net worth dropped from a peak of $320bn in 2021 to $138bn as of January 2023,” the report reads, though Guinness acknowledges that this is just an estimate.

Much of Musk’s wealth is tied up in Tesla stock, which saw a historic plummet last year amid a shaky market and investors’ concerns over his polarizing takeover of Twitter. A year ago, Tesla shares were trading for about US$368. On Thursday there were trading for about US$119, according to Google Finance.

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“Although the exact figure is almost impossible to ascertain, Musk’s total losses far surpass the previous record of $58.6 billion, set by Japanese tech investor Masayoshi Son in 2000,” the report states.

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Son is a Japanese-Korean tech investor who saw about 75 per cent of his net worth wiped out during the dot-com crash. His woes didn’t last long, thanks to his large holdings in Alibaba, and he is still one of the world’s richest investors.

In mid-December, Musk was knocked from the top spot on the Forbes Real-Time Billionaires List, and was overtaken by Bernard Arnault, CEO and chairman of luxury goods conglomerate Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH).

While Tesla stock saw a volatile 2022, Arnault’s LVMH experienced a modest drop in shares, as demand for luxury goods remained stable during the pandemic. The conglomerate’s brands include Christian Dior, Sephora, Fendi, Tiffany & Co. and Marc Jacobs, among many others.

Forbes currently lists Arnault’s wealth at $205 billion, while Musk’s is estimated to be $143.8 billion.

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Guinness World Records notes that a billionaire’s net worth is “much more volatile and variable than the net worth of someone who earns an average income,” and that it wouldn’t be surprised to see Musk “bounce back too at some point in the future.”

Guess you gotta lose money to make money?

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