Chris Farrell

Columnist | Your Money
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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 cfarrell@mpr.org and put "Your Money" in the subject line.

Recent content from Chris Farrell

Retirement account rules are a disgrace

Q I'm wondering why there is a maximum of $16,500 that can be contributed into a combination of 401(k) and Roth 401(k) accounts per year. It makes sense to me that you could only contribute up to $16,500 into a 401(k) account because the before-tax deductions reduce your tax base. But why don't they allow us to contribute additional amounts into a Roth 401(k) account, since it comes from after-tax dollars?

Updated: March 05, 2011, - 01:26 PM

Base your debt burden on your expected earnings

Fact is, you really can't go wrong by simply limiting how much you borrow.

Updated: February 26, 2011, - 09:07 PM

Take control of that old 401(k)

Q: After losing my job about seven years ago and moving into a new field, I never got around to doing anything with my old 401(k). Should I move the assets into my Fidelity account where I also have a Roth IRA and a traditional IRA? Should I see a financial planner?

Updated: February 19, 2011, - 10:18 PM

Consolidating 401(k)s good idea

Q Because of job changes, I have my 401(k) retirement funds in two mutual fund companies, Fidelity and Vanguard. I chose the same types of funds in both accounts, large cap, mid cap, small cap, and international. I was considering consolidating all of the funds in one account, but then I realized that would be putting all of my eggs in one basket. Should I consolidate my retirement funds for simplicity's sake, or keep them separate for safety's sake?

Updated: February 12, 2011, - 09:55 PM

Diversification now, more options later

Q I am getting conflicting advice in regard to taxable and non-taxable retirement accounts. I have heard it is smart to have pretax [401(k)] and after-tax (Roth IRA) accounts to keep yourself balanced in fear of uncertainty around future tax laws. However, I have the option through my employer to contribute after-tax dollars into a Roth 401(k). What's the smart move?

Updated: February 07, 2011, - 03:26 PM

Being without savings isn't a wise strategy

Q My mother recently received an inheritance of more than $11,000. We're wondering what to do with the money that would be in her best interest. She is a 69 and a widow, and she lives on Social Security. She owes about $27,000 on a home equity mortgage on her house at 5.5 percent. Her car is paid off.

Updated: January 29, 2011, - 10:17 PM

Second home counts, one way or another

But maybe there is another question worth asking here: Why stretch your finances to keep a second home you rarely use?

Updated: January 22, 2011, - 10:00 PM

Brother wonders if he should lend $50,000

It pays for a new entrepreneur to try to raise money outside of family and friends.

Updated: January 15, 2011, - 10:21 PM

Chris Farrell: Sustainability - The government takes a pass, and businesses point the way

From Wal-Mart to Dow Chemical to Silicon Valley and beyond, companies are embracing a new, core strategy.

Updated: January 15, 2011, - 06:22 PM

What's the answer when values collide?

The choice: Pay off medical school loans ($137,000 at 0.6 percent interest ... not a typo) immediately OR over the scheduled 30-year plan ($650/month without any increases).

Updated: January 08, 2011, - 10:04 PM

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