You probably made more than Elon Musk last year

Elon Musk, one of the richest people in the world, is also among the lowest paid CEOs -- by a lot.Musk earned ...

Posted: Feb. 8, 2018 3:50 PM
Updated: Feb. 8, 2018 3:50 PM

Elon Musk, one of the richest people in the world, is also among the lowest paid CEOs -- by a lot.

Musk earned $49,920 last year, Tesla said Thursday. That what an 80-hour work week on California's minimum wage gets you ($10.50 an hour plus overtime).

That's less than the $57,617 that the average American household earns each year, according to the Census Bureau. And it's way, way less than the $22.6 million pay package General Motors CEO Mary Barra got in 2016.

But Musk doesn't even take that modest amount home with him. He doesn't accept any of the salary, according to Tesla. So it doesn't matter to Musk that he's getting a $6,000 raise this year (California's minimum wage went up to $11 an hour).

Related: Tesla losses spike as it fights to ramp up Model 3 production

Don't worry about Musk getting by on his modest pay. He has 37.9 million shares of Tesla stock, worth about $13 billion.

He also is the controlling shareholder in SpaceX. That company's prospects are looking good: On Tuesday, It launched the largest rocket in operation, the Falcon Heavy. He's the world's 40th richest person, worth $21.4 billion, according to Bloomberg.

It's not unheard of for executives to sometimes be paid $1 or a similar modest amount, especially if they have a large chunk of the company's stock as Musk does. Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin have essentially received only $1 a year since the company went public.

Sometimes when a company is under financial trouble a CEO will also cut his or her pay to $1. GM CEO Rick Wagoner did that as GM spiraled into bankruptcy.

Related: What's next for SpaceX

Musk could eventually get paid more -- a lot more -- if Tesla hits its aggressive stock and market value targets.

If the company hits all its goals, Musk will receive stock worth about $55.8 billion. Even then, Musk still won't take home a typical CEO salary or cash bonus.

Tesla on Wednesday reported a $675 million loss in the most recent quarter, more than five times the loss it reported a year ago. It has struggled with problems increasing production of its first mass market car, the Model 3.

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