So this is why former bankers hit the lecture circuit.
According to media reports, former chairman of the US Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke was paid at least $250,000 for giving his first lecture as a private citizen in the oil-wealthy capital of the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi, on March 4.
(Bernanke spoke mostly about the 2008 global credit crisis, and if you’re curious to know exactly what he said, I’d recommend this Reuters story.)
Bernanke, who follows in the footsteps of other former central bankers, such as Alan Greenspan and Paul Volcker, stepped down after eight years as Fed chairman on January 31 this year.
And get this: The fee for Bernanke’s public speaking engagement in Abu Dhabi was higher than his annual salary as the former head of the Fed.
According to the Federal Reserve website, the chairman of the Federal Reserve will receive $201,700 as annual salary in 2014. The salary is determined by Congress.
In 2012, that figure was $199,700. (I couldn’t find the exact figure for 2013, but if there was an incremental hike, the salary should have been around $200,000.)
So, to reiterate, one lecture by Bernanke earned him more than what he earned in an entire year as Fed chairman.
Another interesting bit of trivia: Bernanke’s net wealth at the end of 2012 was estimated at around $2.3 million, according to a CNN Money report.
While the ex-chairman is a millionaire, he’s not extraordinarily rich compared with other Federal Reserve governors/board members.
Current chair of the Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen, for instance, is considerably wealthier than her former boss: her financial assets, according to legal disclosure documents, are estimated at between $4.8 million to $13.2 million.
Bernanke’s next stop on his lecture tour will be South Africa (on Wednesday).
For the tireless hard work he did during the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s, all I can say is, “Good for you, Mr Bernanke”.