Seven months from now, when most of the country will be consumed with holiday shopping and seasonal festivities, Ben Bernanke will be focusing on something entirely different. Himself.
That's because, come December 13th, six-weeks before his second term expires, the Federal Reserve chairman will turn 60 and have comparatively little wealth to show for his life's work despite all his success and knowledge and notoriety.
As my co-host Jeff Macke and I debate in the attached video, as much as traders argue over how and when the Fed will extract itself from $4 trillion worth of quantitative easing, recent news reports have stoked speculation about whether or not Bernanke will even stick around to oversee the clean-up of the unprecedented easy money policies he's fostered throughout the financial crisis which began in 2007.
It is at least worth noting that former Fed chief Paul Volcker was also turning 60 when he stepped down from atop the central bank in 1987. His decision also followed several grueling years battling double-digit inflation and unemployment, and was driven in part by a desire to make some private sector money "because he's not getting any younger."
Bernanke's chairmanship issue is the latest variable clouding the near-term policy plans of the Fed, joining an already active debate over when the Fed's exit strategy will occur, and of course, who will be calling the shots. Already, Federal Reserve Vice Chair Janet Yellen is being soft-vetted in the press to gauge reaction to the possibility of her ascending to the top spot.
In the meantime, attention is already being focused upon the Federal Open Market Committee's next meeting which starts on June 18, and whether or not the rate-setting panel will say anything new about the time and execution of its exit strategy.