WASHINGTON — Alan Greenspan has little more than a week to go as chairman of the Federal Reserve, and he's going out just as quietly as he came in more than 18 years ago.

No speeches are planned for investors to parse his every word. No testimony is scheduled on Capitol Hill for lawmakers to hear the chairman's opinion on pet issues. And he's not accepting interview requests from the media. He will quietly walk out the door on the evening of Jan. 31 with very little fanfare.

"It's a natural part of the transition," says Tom Gallagher, political economist for ISI Group, an economic consulting firm. "Once his successor was named, it made sense that he kind of take a step back."

Says former Fed governor Lyle Gramley, "Greenspan quite understandably doesn't want to upstage the new chairman."

Former Fed governor and White House economic adviser Ben Bernanke was chosen by President Bush to replace the retiring Greenspan. He has been approved by a Senate panel and is expected to be confirmed soon by the Senate. Bernanke is staying at the Council of Economic Advisers until he takes over Feb. 1.

Greenspan's last day at the Fed will be marked by a luncheon with other policymakers, and a staff reception is scheduled. Small, private parties are also being held around Washington to mark his departure.

Greenspan's quiet departure follows similar exits by other Fed chairmen. Greenspan replaced Paul Volcker in 1987. Volcker, like Greenspan, had a larger-than-life reputation after receiving credit for arresting runaway inflation. He, too, left the Fed with little hoopla.

"There are observances of the occasion occurring at the Fed on a modest scale," former Fed research director Michael Prell says. "I'm not surprised that there isn't anything more."

But JP Morgan Chase senior economist James Glassman says Greenspan has missed an opportunity to stress his opinions on a variety of matters while still chairman. For example, he could have stressed his views of the positive impacts of globalization in an effort to ease some anti-trade opinions in Congress.

"He should have done a victory lap," Glassman says. But "he somehow just seems to be fading out."

Just because Greenspan is silent now doesn't mean he'll be quiet forever. He has many options, such as writing a book, going on the speaker's circuit or consulting. That would help Greenspan, who made millions as a consultant before joining the Fed, build up his bank account a bit.

"I can't conceive of this guy not continuing his avid interest in what's going on in the world, and if that happens, why shouldn't he sell it?" Gramley says "He deserves to be able to benefit from the fact that he's been in public service for 18 years and has been vastly underpaid during the whole period."

Greenspan's salary in 2005 was $180,100, less than a quarter what he earned in salary, speeches and company director fees the year before he joined the Fed, according to his financial filings at the time.