12 Things You May Not Know About Janet Yellen


By next week, Janet Yellen should be confirmed as the next Chairman of the Federal Reserve Chairman, succeeding current Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke who steps down January 31.

That will make her the first female U.S. central bank chairman and one of the most powerful women in the world, positioned at the helm of the U.S. financial system.

Want to know more about who Janet Yellen really is? Here’s an even dozen of facts about the woman poised to become the powerful new Fed Chair:

1.  Janet Yellen is 67. She was born in Brooklyn, New York.

2.  She is married to George Akerlof, a Nobel prize-winning economist and professor emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley.

3.  She was educated at Brown University and Yale, where she received her Ph.D. and distinguished herself as an outstanding student.

4.  She seems to handle her own money well, with reported investments of over $4.8 million in 2012, according to the New York Times.

5.  She has a “dovish” (easy money) reputation but is committed to keeping inflation under control and has focused her academic research on unemployment, observing the real-life suffering it inflicts upon rank-and-file workers.

6.  She is described as a good “thinker and listener,” undoubtedly key qualities for a Fed Chairman in charge of correctly gauging the economic climate.

7.  When she joined the board of the Federal Reserve governors in 1994, she reportedly raised eyebrows by taking the unprecedented step of eating in the cafeteria along with regular staff. She said she found it a helpful way to talk to people and see what they were thinking.

8.  Yellen has good interpersonal skills, and according to news reports is “known for being respectful to those who disagree with her and maintaining a collegial environment.”

9.  She collects stamps, likes to hike, play tennis, read and cook in her spare time.

10.  She was rated as the “most accurate forecaster” at the Fed by Wall Street Journal researchers. That’s important, because she needs to see what is really going on with the economy, so she can help prescribe the right medicine.

11.  When she was at the San Francisco Fed, Yellen was one of the rare Fed governors who spotted the risks of subprime mortgages and warned about the coming of a possible recession. At the time, she described the housing sector as the “600-pound gorilla in the room,” and warned about deteriorating home prices and rising mortgage delinquencies.

12.  She may be the best-qualified Fed chair ever. She served on the Council of Economic Advisors, the Fed Board of Governors, was president of the San Francisco Fed  and is currently Vice Chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. That’s “a level of experience that’s unprecedented in the history of the system,” according to Slate magazine.


About Mari Adam

Mari Adam, Certified Financial Planner™ has been helping individuals and families chart their financial futures for over twenty-five years. Have a question about your financial situation? Ask Mari!

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