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

Downgrade aside, U.S. bonds are safe

QI have a daughter in college and another three years away. Given the U.S. government's recent downgrade from Standard & Poor's, how safe are savings bonds? What is the type of return one can expect and how is the interest accrued?

Updated: September 17, 2011, - 02:07 PM

Things to consider in hiring, firing financial planner

Q For 16 years, my wife and I entrusted an independent financial adviser to manage our mutual fund portfolio, which...

Updated: September 10, 2011, - 10:23 PM

'Emergency' nest egg can be key part of a plan

Ah, the State Fair. A Pronto Pup, chocolate chip cookies, and the DNR's fish pond all sampled before heading to the Star Tribune booth Tuesday afternoon to talk personal finance.

Updated: September 03, 2011, - 10:03 PM

Early mortgage payoff may not be best strategy

Here's a piece of news that comes under the "glass is half-full" headline: Households are reducing their debt burdens.

Updated: August 20, 2011, - 10:35 PM

Don't panic: This economic horror film will end

Summer is a time for blockbuster horror flicks, and the performance of the economy and markets surely provide the basis for a gory one. Prices on the global stock markets have plunged in recent weeks.

Updated: August 13, 2011, - 01:02 PM

Analyze risks, then make your decision

Q My husband and I are in our early and middle 50s. We have one child, a junior in college. I have been not working since September (unemployment plus a very part-time job).  

Updated: August 06, 2011, - 04:47 PM

In a severe crash, is a 'guaranteed' investment safe?

What's your opinion on the relative safety of guaranteed investment contracts. I know these are not FDIC insured. But compared to bonds or equities in the event of a catastrophic economic meltdown, would these contracts reflect a loss rate based on the failures of the underlying banks and insurance companies?

Updated: July 23, 2011, - 10:34 PM

Take care of downside risk with stash of cash

With Treasury bills and other high-quality short-term, interest-paying investments, you reduce the amount of money at risk to a financial catastrophe or economic cataclysm.

Updated: July 16, 2011, - 10:00 PM

How to hedge your nest egg against inflation

Q I consider myself to be a successful student of the Chris Farrell School of Money Management. We have weathered the economic storm by living below our means and maintaining an emergency fund, big-ticket-item savings account, retirement accounts and one for monthly and semi-annual outlays. As my wife and I approach retirement (I'm 59 and she is 58) our big concern is hyper-inflation brought on by federal and state governments' inability to budget and plan long-term. We use the bond/equity ratio based on age for asset balancing. Our funds are mostly in broad-based index funds with no gold or gold index funds. Help!

Updated: July 08, 2011, - 04:03 PM

Debt ceiling debate raises default worries

QMy wife and I are too close to retirement and are willing to trade safety for income so that our 401(k) is totally invested in T-bills. Unfortunately, I believe there is a real risk of our government defaulting. If its does, what happens to the money in T-bills?

Updated: July 02, 2011, - 11:51 PM

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