Named the wealthiest man in America for the second year in a row, 1997 College and Wharton graduate Elon Musk was ranked No. 1 on the 2023 Forbes 400 list of the wealthiest Americans.
With an estimated $251 billion, Musk is far ahead of other members on the list and is worth $90 billion more than runner-up and Princeton graduate Jeff Bezos. 1978 Wharton graduate Steve Cohen, founder of Point72 Asset Management, ranked No. 37, and 1985 Wharton and College graduate Laurene Powell Jobs, investor and widow of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, ranked 54.
1954 Wharton graduate Leonard Lauder and 1965 Wharton graduate Ronald Lauder were also included in the list, at No. 42 and No. 244, respectively. Combined, they lost an estimated $6.4 billion compared to last year. The Lauders have given Penn some of the largest donations in University history, including Leonard Lauder’s $125 million gift to establish a tuition-free program to recruit nurse practitioners in underserved communities.
Also included in the list this year is 1992 College and Wharton graduate Jonathan Gray, COO and president of Blackstone. Gray is worth an estimated $6.8 billion, putting him at No. 153.
Notably, 1968 Wharton graduate Donald Trump did not make the list this year. Trump missed the cutoff to be included by $300 million after losing $600 million this year, primarily due to the failure of the social media platform Truth Social. This is the second time in three years that Trump has not made the list.
The 400 wealthiest Americans are over 500 billion dollars richer than last year, mainly due to a bounce back in tech stocks and stock market trends. These individuals hold $4.5 trillion in wealth — more than double the estimated collective worth of the poorest 50% of Americans, $2.08 trillion.
To create this list, Forbes examined individually-owned assets, businesses, lifetime charitable giving, and the degree to which individuals’ fortunes were self-made or inherited. This year, a fortune of $2.9 billion was the cut-off needed to make the list, a record high tied with 2021.
Musk, currently the co-founder of six companies, is most famously known for his work as the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX. Within four years, SpaceX has nearly quintupled its valuation, currently estimated to be worth $150 billion, according to CNBC. The company’s increase in annual revenue allowed Musk to dominate the Forbes 2023 chart for two consecutive years.
Based on the Forbes wealth history report, between the fall of 2022 and the spring of 2023, Musk’s net worth experienced a sharp decline, decreasing from $219 billion to $180 billion. Most of Musk’s financial losses can be attributed to his purchase of Twitter, now renamed X, in October of 2022. Weeks after the deal, a report by Times Magazine found that his net worth plummeted by $9 billion, resulting in a 25% decrease in his initial net worth.
Musk graduated from Penn with a dual degree in physics and economics. He worked as a residential advisor in Graduate Hall — now part of Riepe College House — and was a teaching assistant for computer science.