Janet Yellen: Top Economist Breaks Glass Ceiling, Makes Millions


Mar. 25 2022, Published 1:55 p.m. ET

Former Federal Reserve chair and current Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is among the most renowned economists globally. What’s her net worth and how did she make her money?

Article continues below advertisement

Janet Yellen

Treasury Secretary

Net worth: $20 million

Janet Yellen is the Treasury Secretary in the Biden administration. She is the first woman to hold the position, just as she was the first woman chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve.

Birthdate: August 13, 1946

Spouse: Married to George Akerlof

Children: 1 (Robert)

Education: Brown University (BA in economics), Yale University (MA and Ph.D. in economics)

The Fed began raising rates in 2015 under Yellen's watch. The policy was continued by her successor Jerome Powell even though it attracted the ire of former president Donald Trump. Yellen called upon the Fed to raise rates in 2021 as well while adding that she respects the U.S. central bank’s independence. Recently, she has been in the news for saying that while the U.S. economy might continue to battle high inflation, she doesn't believe that it's headed for a recession — something that not all economists agree on.

Article continues below advertisement

Janet Yellen’s net worth is estimated at $20 million.

Forbes estimates Yellen’s net worth at $20 million. She didn't inherit much money and most of her wealth has been made during her lifetime.

Article continues below advertisement

How did Janet Yellen make her millions?

Yellen made her money through her association with the government, academia, paid speeches, and the books that she authored. Citing a Federal filing by Yellen, Celebrity Net Worth reported that she earned around $7 million between 2018 and 2020 from around 50 speaking assignments.

In the filing, Yellen also said that she would sell several stocks including ConocoPhillips and AT&T. Many have been concerned about lawmakers' stock holdings. For example, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s stock portfolio has been under a scanner.

Article continues below advertisement

Many social media users have sarcastically compared Pelosi's trades with the legendary Warren Buffett. Pelosi defended her stock trades citing “free markets” and a “free-market economy.” However, not many people bought her arguments and even some in the Democratic party were critical of her.

Article continues below advertisement

Yellen held several positions at the Federal Reserve.

Yellen held several positions at the Federal Reserve under former President Bill Clinton and former President Barrack Obama. The latter anointed her as the 15th chairman of the U.S. Central Bank, a position that she held from 2014–2018. Interestingly, while Trump was initially critical of Yellen for keeping rates artificially low and hitting savers, during his presidency he was at odds with Powell who raised rates multiple times.

Article continues below advertisement

Yellen's family has a Polish-Jewish lineage.

Yellen was born on August 13, 1946, in Brooklyn, New York City. Her mother Anna Ruth was an elementary school teacher while her father Julius Yellen was a physician. The family had a Polish-Jewish lineage. Yellen has an elder brother named John who serves as Program Director for Archaeology at the National Science Foundation.

Yellen attended Fort Hamilton High School and later graduated from Brown University's Pembroke College. She completed her MA and Ph.D. from Yale University.

Article continues below advertisement

Yellen started her career as an assistant professor.

Yellen started her career at Harvard University as an assistant professor of economics and held the position between 1971 and 1976. She has oscillated between academia and government assignments on more than one occasion.

Article continues below advertisement

Yellen has several firsts to her name when it comes to breaking the glass ceiling. She became the first woman president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco in 2004. She also became the first women chairman of the Fed in 2014. She is the first women Treasury Secretary.

Yellen married George Akerlof, who's also an economist, in 1978. The couple has a son named Robert, who works in academics.


Latest Net Worth News and Updates

    Market Realist Logo

    © Copyright 2022 Market Realist. Market Realist is a registered trademark. All Rights Reserved. People may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website. Offers may be subject to change without notice.