Elon Musk, who I must remind you is the richest man on the planet, could afford to buy a top-notch £300k family home every day for the next two millennia.
However, he chooses not to do so. Which in one sense is wise. Who needs so many houses anyway? Other than maybe Elton John? But Elon doesn’t even have ONE house, which you have to admit is somewhat unusual for the billionaire class.
Apparently he couch surfs rather than purchase a home in the Bay area, where Tesla is based. He claims to rent a prefab from his own SpaceX firm in Texas, which I am entirely prepared to believe, because he’s definitely eccentric.
What’s less cute and more delusional however, is his insistence that “almost anyone” could afford his $100k flights into space. This is most definitely not the case. Allow me to crunch some numbers for you.
In 2012, a decade ago, the global average income was a mere $18,000 per person annually. That’s before tax, where applicable. By the end of last year, 2021, this figure had FALLEN to $12,609 per capita per annum. That’s eight solid years of ALL OF YOUR MONEY to pay for Elon’s space jaunt. If you’re average. By definition, half of the planet is below that. Additionally, a lot of people don’t earn – kids, the elderly, the sick and so on. They rely on others.
Since earning $58,000 currently would put you in the top one per cent of incomes on Earth, and since financial advisors recommend spending no more than 10% on discretionary expenditure, I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that Elon is talking a billionaire-sized amount of bollocks.
Even for the top 1% of earners, who should not be spending more than $5,800 annually on discretionary purchases like trips to space, that’s nearly TWO DECADES of saving.
It’s also worth adding that, if you DO happen to be fortunate enough to earn $58k, or the UK equivalent which is £44,400 at today’s exchange rate, you’d only be able to borrow about £144,300, so you’d need one helluva deposit to afford even the average UK house, which was priced at £274,000 in January 2022.
In other words, like I’ve been saying since the days of Occupy, it’s not actually the 1% who are the problem. Believe it or not, the 1% are actually now middle class too. It’s the 0.1% who are the problem. In fact, we could probably go further again.
Just over two dozen people owned half of all the world’s wealth in 2019. They’re the problem. Or to put it another way, Elon: you’re the problem.
I’d be quite gratified if Mr “I don’t own a home!” quietened down a tad about how allegedly cheap his space tours are and instead started buying some other people some houses, even if he doesn’t fancy one for himself.
We don’t all have billionaire pals who let us crash on their couches, after all.