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On January 1, 2020, Elon Musk’s net worth was $28 billion. That’s not a typo. Just a few short years ago Elon was “only” worth $28 billion. At that time he wasn’t anywhere close to being the richest person in the world. In fact he barely cracked the top 30. When 2020 ended 365 days later, Elon’s net worth stood at $170 billion. Again, not a typo. Elon’s fortune swelled by $142 billion in a single year. As amazing as that feat was, $170 billion was still not enough to make Elon the richest person in the world when the clock struck midnight on December 31, 2020. The crown STILL belonged to Jeff Bezos, but only for another week.

On January 7, 2021, Elon Musk overtook Jeff Bezos as the richest person in the world. Elon maintained that position uninterrupted for 700 days between January 7, 2021 and December 13, 2022. In the middle of that 700-day streak, Elon’s fortune went nuclear. In October 2021, Elon’s fortune topped $300 billion. On November 1st, 2021, Elon’s net worth briefly topped $340 billion. That was enough to make him the richest human in modern history, topping an 80-year record held by the late John D. Rockefeller. He closed out 2021 with $300 billion. At that point Jeff Bezos was the second richest person in the world with a net worth of $190 billion. Bernard Arnault was #3 with  $150 billion.

In December 2021, a lot of people believed Elon’s fortune was just getting warmed up. There were predictions that he would be a trillionaire by the end of 2022. That did not happen.

Elon’s net worth fell off a cliff between December 2021 and December 2022. Not only was Elon not worth $300 billion by December 2022. He wasn’t worth $200 billion. He wasn’t even the richest person in the world anymore.

On December 13, 2022, Bernard Arnault’s $168 billion fortune overtook Elon’s $165 billion fortune. It was the very first time the LVMH founder was officially the richest person in the world.

Bernard held the title uninterrupted for 195 days, from December 13, 2022 to today, Thursday June 1st, 2023.

Today Elon Musk is the richest person in the world again. His fortune now sits at $194 billion, $6 billion higher than Bernard Arnault’s $188 billion fortune.

(Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images)

The Richest Person In The World

Below is a list of all the people who have at one point been the richest person in the world, in the modern era (aka from the 1890s to the present):

  • John D. Rockefeller (American businessman, approximately 1890s – 1910s)
  • Andrew Carnegie (American industrialist, briefly in the early 1900s)
  • Nikolai Alexandrovich Romanov (Tsar Nicholas II of Russia) (Last Emperor of Russia, early 20th century until his death in 1918)
  • Osman Ali Khan, Asaf Jah VII (Last Nizam (ruler) of the Princely State of Hyderabad and Berar, 1937 – mid 1940s)
  • J. Paul Getty (American oil tycoon, mid 1950s – early 1970s)
  • Howard Hughes (American business magnate, investor, record-setting pilot, engineer, film director, and philanthropist, briefly in the mid 20th century)
  • H. Ross Perot (American business magnate and politician, briefly in the mid 1980s)
  • Yoshiaki Tsutsumi (Japanese businessman, 1987 – 1995)
  • Sam Walton (American businessman, briefly in the mid 1980s and early 1990s)
  • Warren Buffet (American business magnate, investor and philanthropist, briefly in 2008)
  • Bill Gates (American business magnate and philanthropist, intermittently from 1995 – 2017)
  • Carlos Slim Helu (Mexican business magnate, investor and philanthropist, 2010 – 2013)
  • Jeff Bezos (American entrepreneur and philanthropist, 2017 – 2020, and briefly in 2021)
  • Elon Musk (South African-born American entrepreneur, early 2021 – late 2022)
  • Bernard Arnault (French businessman and art collector, late 2022 – June 2023)

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