Chris Farrell

Columnist | Your Money
Chris Farrell is economics editor for American Public Media's weekly "Marketplace Money" show and author of "The New Frugality." He answers reader questions on most Sundays. Send questions to and put "Your Money" in the subject line.

Recent content from Chris Farrell

Farrell: 'Do-over' for Social Security more restrictive

Q Back a few years ago, I cut out an article you wrote for the Star Tribune. It was titled...

Updated: September 08, 2012, - 03:29 PM

Farrell: Saving strategies depend on the time you put into them

Last week at the State Fair, I was on Minnesota Public Radio's noon-hour program with host Kate Smith. We took questions on the economy and personal finances from the audience and over the phone. Topics included savings, naturally. The latest reading of the personal savings rate is 4.4 percent -- well above its low of 1 percent in April 2005. With the nation's unemployment rate above 8 percent for 42 consecutive months, I think it's remarkable how well people are doing at saving.

Updated: September 01, 2012, - 09:21 PM

Farrell: Job uncertainty tips scale from owning to renting

The key factors to carefully think through for rent vs. buy decisions are finances, income and time.

Updated: August 17, 2012, - 04:30 PM

Farrell: Is college worth the cost? Yes, but ...

Last Sunday, I participated in a Fringe Festival event with the Theater of Public Policy, an improv comedy troupe co-founded by host Tane Danger. The theater uses comedy to bring critical public policy issues to life. I was the straight man, and the comedians riffed off of bits and pieces of what I said. The evening was a wonderful combination of laughs and seriousness. The topic: "Is a college education worth it?"

Updated: August 11, 2012, - 08:56 PM

Chris Farrell: What's your household's margin of safety?

The economy is sluggish. The pace of U.S. growth is now largely hostage to the outcome of the next round of Europe's never-ending euro crisis, which has moved from peripheral nations like Greece and Portugal to the far larger economies of Spain and Italy.

Updated: August 04, 2012, - 05:52 PM

Farrell: Mortgage in retirement can make sense

A 60-year-old professional who would like to take early retirement and move to an East Coast dream home wonders if it's worth a mortgage.

Updated: July 21, 2012, - 09:09 PM

Farrell: Plan for retirement may mean finding a new job or career

Q I'm almost 58 and would like to retire at 60, taking the widow benefit. My late husband's Social Security...

Updated: July 14, 2012, - 09:08 PM

Farrell: Car owner will save by paying off 6-year loan

Q I am six months into a 6-year auto loan. Thanks to changes in my personal finances, I now can pay more per month and retire the loan sooner. The payment could be as much as three times more. Is it better to add to the monthly payment? Or save the money to earn interest and then pay off the loan when I have enough savings to pay it off? I know that interest paid on loans typically is higher than interest earned on savings.

Updated: July 07, 2012, - 05:18 PM

Build a portfolio or rebuild houses? More study needed

Not enough retirement savings? The typical solution involves working well into the traditional retirement years.

Updated: June 30, 2012, - 05:07 PM

Farrell: To own or rent? Many seniors weigh options

I read that at some point in one's senior years, it is better to rent rather than own a home. Is there any merit to this idea in 2012?

Updated: June 16, 2012, - 09:20 PM

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