Even When He Turns Down Money, Elon Musk Makes Millions

When Elon Musk says "Keep it," people hand him $100 million. So that's how's he's doing.
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Elon Musk and his people are pretty fond of telling anyone who will listen that America's favorite Bond villain come-to-life has never accepted the state-mandated minimum wage salary he is owed for being CEO of Tesla.

They like to repeat it because that narrative is badass catnip to entrepreneurial nerds. The fact that California insists he get paid about $35,000 but then he's all "Nah son, keep it," serves to further burnish Musk's reputation as the golden boy of modern business.

Well, funny story.

Tesla granted Musk 5.27 million options valued at $78.1 million in 2012 that were intended to compensate him for 10 years, according to a filing at the time. Last year, 527,490 of those options vested and had a value of $102.4 million as of Dec. 31, according to the Bloomberg Pay Index.

So basically Musk made more than $100 million for bossing Tesla in 2014 alone. For no salary, that's pretty good money.

In fairness to Elon, the nine figure non-salary is as close to fair as a number that high can be. Things looked pretty bleak at Tesla for a while there but, as Bloomberg reports, the company's stock has been on a tear in the last few years, so Musk is just getting at that riskily-aged cheddar.

And the way things are going for Tesla, it's fair to assume that Musk can go on getting paid/not-paid for at least a little while. Especially if he manages to figure out how to land his rockets on his drone boats and open up a whole new income stream for himself.

So, stop worrying for ole' Elon. He's doing just fine.

the volcano thing is probably a joke, but we'll reach out to Tesla spokeswoman Khobi Brooklyn just in case.

And also because only Tesla would have a spokeswoman with an impossibly dope, from-the-future name like Khobi Brooklyn.

Musk Awarded $102 Million in 2014 Pay Even After Refusing Salary [Bloomberg]

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