Here's Why Elon Musk May Not Have As Much Money As You Think

Money isn't everything. Plenty of people will tell you that the real Golden Rule is that them as has the gold makes the rules. But be honest: It's not everyone who gets a shout-out on Star Trek while they're still alive, and that has to be worth something, right? Elon Musk gets to claim those bragging rights. Musk, the founder of SpaceX, the private aerospace company with an end goal of colonizing Mars, was mentioned by name in an episode of Star Trek: Discovery in the same breath as the Wright Brothers and Zephram Cochrane, the man who, says Trek's fictional narrative, invented the warp drive that made it possible to boldly go where no one had gone before, according to Geek Wire. Cynics might say that, combined with $2.50, might get you a cup of joe at a latte stand. The question some are asking: Does Musk have the $2.50?

Only metaphorically, of course. Musk is CEO not only of SpaceX, but also Tesla, with those ever-so-cool electric vehicles. He isn't shy about the press, and made headlines when he and his partner, Grimes, named their son X Æ A-12 (though apparently they've walked that back a bit, to X Æ A-Xii, says Cnet. Probably still pronounced just the way it's spelled.

He probably has more than that

Any person of business — actually, anyone who has ever had to figure out a budget, personal or otherwise — knows there's such a thing as value, and such a thing as cash, and the two don't necessarily intersect. Musk has billions, and lots of them; in December 2019 Forbes reported him at $23.6 billion, but that's total wealth, including companies, properties, and associated bric-a-brac. How much of that is cash? Relatively little. Probably 99 percent of Musk's wealth is held as shares in the two companies — Tesla and SpaceX. His Tesla compensation mostly comes in the form of stock options. And he's carrying significant debt — around a half-billion dollars' worth.

In May of 2020 Musk tweeted he'd be selling "almost all physical possessions," says The Verge. Those Tesla stock options? He has to pony up $592 million to exercise them, though The Wall Street Journal reports that the sales aren't "because he needs the money." Maybe he likes to tip well.

As for his place in the Trek universe: Not sure how it stacks up against an actual Trek cameo, which Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, added to his resume in 2016, reports Geek Wire. Wouldn't it be fun to see Bezos and Musk share a panel at San Diego Comic-Con?