Fed chief Jerome Powell says he earns $190,000 a year to be one of the world's key financial players – and he thinks that's a fair number

  • Fed Chairman Jerome Powell told David Rubenstein that he earns about $190,000 per year in salary.
  • He said that he thinks the amount he earns is fair.
  • “If we have family expenses that exceed my salary, then we have to sell an asset,” he explained.

Jerome Powell, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, told investor David Rubenstein that he makes about $190,000 per year. 

Speaking at the Economic Club of Washington DC last week, the most influential figure presiding over the US economy and one of the key figures in global financial markets was asked whether or not he thought his salary was fair. 

“I do, yes” Powell said.

He then added: “If we have family expenses that exceed my salary, then we have to sell an asset.”

The website for the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System reports that the Fed Chair’s salary in 2019 was set at $203,500. It also says that the annual pay for other Board members that year was $183,100.

Meanwhile, according to Equilar data cited by Fortune, the median pay among CEOs of the top 100 US companies clocks in at about $20 million. 

The head of the US central bank is a key player in global finance, and public comments by Fed chiefs have always been poured over by markets for clues as to the direction of the world’s largest economy. This has been particularly true in the pandemic era, which Powell presided over as Fed chair and which saw that central bank embark on a massive campaign to ease monetary policy in order to keep the economy afloat. 

Since the start of 2022, however, those efforts have been wound down in favor of aggressive interest rate increases meant to tame inflation that’s soared to four-decade highs. 

Powell has faced criticism for his policy guidance over the last year, with commentators from Mohamed El-Erian to Wharton professor Jeremy Siegel warning that the Fed could botch its mission to tame high inflation and throw the economy into a recession. 

On Tuesday, Consumer Price Index data for January showed annualized inflation come in slightly lower than the previous month at 6.4%, though higher than expectations of 6.2%. 

DataTrek noted that the New York Fed’s Recession Probabilities model, which is based on the spread between the three-month and 10-year Treasury yields, shows the odds of a recession in the next 12 months is at 57%. 

That’s the highest it’s been since the early 1980s.