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

Navigating IRA rules can involve a little math

QI am about to turn 70. My spouse is younger than me. We both have IRAs that we are trying to leave alone as much as possible. I realize I need to begin withdrawing from my IRA by the end of this year. Is there a minimum amount one must withdraw from the IRA? Also, we want to do a kitchen remodel for about $20,000. Should we take it out of the IRA, or would it be a better idea to go for a loan?

Updated: February 04, 2012, - 09:04 PM

Tax season is the right time to establish a budget

We all know that saving more and borrowing less is critical for our financial health. Considering how harsh the last couple of years have been on so many people, from young adults looking for work to retirees watching their pensions vaporize, it's doubtful that our old profligate habits will reassert themselves as the economy recovers. Memories aren't that short.

Updated: January 21, 2012, - 10:44 PM

College degree still worth the cost despite the risk

A national debate has erupted about the value of a college education.

Updated: January 14, 2012, - 10:28 PM

Chris Farrell: Some thoughts on saving that work all year long

Perhaps the most famous lines in personal finance were written by 19th-century novelist Charles Dickens. In "David Copperfield," the kindly but debt-ridden Mr. Wilkins Micawber advised a young David, "Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen-nineteen-six: result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six: result misery."

Updated: January 07, 2012, - 11:12 PM

Baby boomers will be assets, not liabilities

The list of ills weighing on the U.S. economy is long, from high unemployment to stingy wage gains to widening income inequality. So, during the festive holiday season I want to focus on some good news: Americans are living longer. Average life expectancy is a fraction above 78 years and climbing. Back in 1935, when Social Security became law, average life expectancy was 61 years. It's a remarkable achievement.

Updated: December 17, 2011, - 03:13 PM

'What really matters' is a good guide for giving

December is a time for giving, buying presents for family and friends. 'Tis also the season for giving to charity.

Updated: December 10, 2011, - 06:31 PM

Make a list, check it twice, stick to budget

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are history -- thankfully! Sales look reasonably robust, although mostly for stuff sold at a...

Updated: December 03, 2011, - 10:09 PM

Investor beware: Adviser fee plans have changed

Q Has the method of compensating financial planners changed? I started working with a planner about 12 years ago. They...

Updated: November 19, 2011, - 06:48 PM

Remember, money has memory

When it comes to thinking about money, it's a good idea to turn to Charles Dickens. The 19th-century novelist had a knack for bringing the mysteries of money alive. There's a wonderful moment in his novel "Dombey and Son'' when the boy asks his father, "Papa, what's money?"

Updated: November 14, 2011, - 08:41 AM

These two need to talk about money

A husband's unwillingness to engage with debt and money is a recipe for trouble.

Updated: November 05, 2011, - 10:14 PM

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