Neel Kashkari, Once In Charge of the Nation's Bailout Plan, Has Opted For a Simpler Life

PHOTO As part of his daily regimen, Kashkari chops firewood using fallen trees from his property.

Former deputy treasury secretary Neel Kashkari's life has changed a lot in the past year.

Resigning from his post as the so-called "$700 billion man," Kashkari moved from the nation's capital to a cabin in Northern California, his wife confirmed to He now spends his days cutting fire wood and responding to infrequent e-mails on his now nearly silent Blackberry.

According to the Washington Post, Kashkari, who left his post at the interim assistant secretary of the treasury for financial stability in May 2009, is enjoying his new life, a move he told the paper he's dubbed the "Washington detox."

Today, Kashkari's daily routine includes chopping wood found on his property near the Truckee River and building a shed, according to the Post. Losing weight and helping with "Hank's book," a reference to Kashkari's former boss and Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson's upcoming project, are also some of his priorities.

It was Paulson, after all, who tapped Kashkari in October 2008 to run the Office of Financial Stability, a position that earned him the nickname the "bailout czar," as well as criticism that the then 35-year-old was too young for the job.

Unable to be reached today for comment, Kashkari told last year that he wasn't intimidated by the job.

"When he [Paulson] offered me the job, I didn't have to think about it even for a second," he told

Kashkari told in an e-mail interview that his diverse experience made him fit for the job.

"My engineering experience gave me the analytical foundation for working on the credit crisis," wrote Kashkari. "Working on NASA missions, I loved that we were trying to solve problems people had never even thought of before."

Kashkari's resume is impressive: He's helped design a solar-powered car, worked as a mechanical engineer on a NASA telescope and served as a vice president at Goldman Sachs & Co.

"This is similar to this credit crisis - which is unique and challenging," he said last year.

Dr. Meera Kelley, who knows Kashkari not as the man in charge of billions of the government's money but as her little brother, said at the time that he has always been passionate and ambitious.

"He's very determined and ambitious and enjoys being part of a process that makes things better," said Kelley.

Kashkari called his big sister with the news about his appointment and was unfazed by the assignment. "I don't think he's nervous about his position, but he's nervous about the position that the country and the economy is in," she said.

"He knows he's in a unique position," added Kelley.

It was his unique position has made some critics nervous, many of whom were not shy in suggesting that he may have been too young to handle the job.

But Jeff Kleintop, a chief investment strategist at LPL Financial, said that while his age was obviously on the mind of many, it's not as if Kashkari is running the show solo.

"He's not doing it alone," said Kleintop last year. "He's going to be able to draw on expertise from a wide variety of deeply experienced people."

Kashkari agreed, telling that he would rely heavily on Paulson for advice.

"Let's not overstate my role," he said. "This is Secretary Paulson's highest priority. He is all over it."

Growing Up Kashkari

Kashkari is a classic all-American story, only on the fast track.

His parents Chaman and Sheila Kashkari emigrated from India to Stow, Ohio, in the 1960s.

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