Elon Musk, now the world's richest person, is selling all his possessions so people know he's serious about colonizing Mars

  • Elon Musk, who on Thursday surpassed Jeff Bezos to become the world's richest person, says he is selling all his possessions. 
  • The billionaire wants to have as much capital as possible to fund a future colony on Mars, he told Insider in an interview last month. 
  • "I'm also just trying to make clear that I'm serious about this. And it's not about personal consumption. Because people will attack me and say, oh, he's got all these possessions," Musk said. "OK, now I don't have them anymore."
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Elon Musk, crowned the world's richest person on Thursday, has grand plans for spending his roughly $188 billion net worth. 

The Tesla and SpaceX CEO aims to dedicate as much money as he can to colonizing Mars, and he's selling most of his material possessions in the process, the billionaire told Insider in an interview with Axel Springer CEO Mathias Döpfner last month. 

"In fact, I'll have basically almost no possessions with a monetary value, apart from the stock in the companies," Musk said. "If things are intense at work, I like just sleeping in the factory or the office. And I obviously need a place if my kids are there. So, I'll just rent a place or something."

Read more: Elon Musk reveals Tesla's plan to be at the forefront of a self-driving-car revolution — and why he wants to be buried on Mars

Musk announced last May that he planned to sell "almost all" of his belongings and that he "will own no house." Since then the entrepreneur has sold off with several homes in his real estate portfolio, which was once worth upwards of $100 million. 

In 2020, Musk sold several high-dollar pieces of property, including three neighboring homes in the Bel-Air neighborhood of Los Angeles and an estate formerly belonging to the actor Gene Wilder. 

Musk may very well be parting ways with his California real estate as part of his move to Texas, which has no state income tax. But the billionaire also told Insider the main reason he is accumulating wealth isn't for material possessions, but to fund a colony on Mars. 

"I think it is important for humanity to become a spacefaring civilization and a multiplanet species. And it's going to take a lot of resources to build a city on Mars," Musk said. "I want to be able to contribute as much as possible to the city on Mars. That means just a lot of capital."

In Musk's eyes, parting ways with his material possessions also signals that he's committed to going to Mars.

"I'm also just trying to make clear that I'm serious about this. And it's not about personal consumption," Musk told Insider. "Because people will attack me and say, oh, he's got all these possessions. He's got all these houses. OK, now I don't have them anymore."

As Musk's net worth eclipsed that of Jeff Bezos thanks to an early morning Tesla stock rally on Thursday, the CEO changed the pinned post on his Twitter profile to a 2018 tweet in which he promised to commit half of his wealth to building a city on Mars "to ensure continuation of life (of all species) in case Earth gets hit by a meteor like the dinosaurs or WW3 happens & we destroy ourselves."

The SpaceX founder has said he plans to send 1 million people to Mars by 2050 and build a fleet of 1,000 Starships to ferry them there. Musk aims to launch three of the 387-foot rockets SpaceX is developing for deep-space travel each day. 

And lest you think a trip to Mars is too pricy for most people, Musk has said that he intends for there to be "loan available for those who don't have money," and jobs on the Red Planet for colonists to pay off their debts. Some critics say Musk's plans resemble an interplanetary form of indentured servitude. 

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