When Ben Bernanke was the chairman of the Federal Reserve, he earned about $200,000 a year. Now, he earns that talking for a few hours. Just like many other former government officials before him, Bernanke is raking in the money as a private citizen at speaking engagements.
As companies deal with an ever changing economy, affected heavily by federal policies, they are seeking wisdom from insiders, and are willing to pay the price for it. Bernanke is set to speak at banks, private equity firms, trade associations, investment conferences, and even dinners with very important people. For speaking in the U.S., he can charge around $200,000. In Asia, he brings in closer to $400,000.
In the last week, he spoke in Abu Dhabi, Johannesburg, and Houston. That's a quick $600,000 (at least). At that rate, he will earn millions this year; much more than he ever earned at the Fed.
"I think that the markets and investors will put more credence on what Bernanke says," said David Rosenberg, chief economist and strategist at Gluskin Sheff.
Not everyone is willing to pony up the cost to hear him speak though. Insiders at UBS and Goldman Sachs told CNBC his fees were too high. Even if two banking institutions pass on his new business, Bernanke will still see a major payday.