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

Skewed tax code rewards homeowners

Was the home mortgage deduction a large contributor to the foreclosure crisis, leading people to buy more house than they can afford and also cause them to not build any equity?

Updated: November 20, 2010, - 10:34 PM

Credit cards can be hard to get for recent grads

A daughter who rejected credit card offers in college is now looking to build a credit record. Her last rejection included a form letter suggesting that she not apply for too many cards because that hurts her credit score.

Updated: November 13, 2010, - 10:00 PM

To pay off or not to pay off the mortgage? That's the question

QTell me again why I shouldn't pay my mortgage off early.  My wife and I are in our early 50s and we have seven years left on a $65,000 mortgage at 5.25 percent interest. I know most advisers say not to pay extra, that you lose the interest deduction and that you should be able to take that extra money and make more money. But I think there is a lot of financial security in being debt-free.  Most of the extra money that I will be using to pay off the mortgage will come from reducing my contribution to my tax-deferred annuity at work. My thought is that once the mortgage is paid off, I will max out my annuity contributions. Here's another factor that plays into my decision: There have been layoffs here at work. If I end up getting laid off, a paid-off mortgage would help immensely. Am I making a mistake by paying off our mortgage early?

Updated: November 06, 2010, - 05:44 PM

Dealing with debt: She's got a good start

A single, middle-age female with a significant amount of debtis wondering if she need to look at a different way to handle it.

Updated: October 30, 2010, - 11:03 PM

Deflation may become the new normal

It goes without saying that these are trying times. Sure, the economic mandarins at the National Bureau of Economic Research pronounced that the recession ended 16 months ago. And it goes without saying that it's better to be growing than shrinking.

Updated: October 23, 2010, - 10:54 PM

Paying down debt? Here are smart strategies

The coming decade may well be known as the age when Americans turned their backs on debt.

Updated: October 16, 2010, - 09:02 PM

How much business risk to take on depends partly on life stage

Q I'd like to have your opinion on an ongoing issue that my wife and I disagree on. She listens to a certain radio talk show personality and has interpreted his evangelizing as, "All debt is bad." She realizes that we wouldn't have gotten where we are without having incurred debt. She qualifies it with, "at our age, we shouldn't have any debt." I completely agree with her as far as "consumption debt" is concerned and we have a small mortgage that was due to be paid in 2018. I've been make double payments to cut 5 years off to 2013 (30 months away). My wife and I are both 57 and in good health.

Updated: October 09, 2010, - 06:12 PM

If you really need planner, look for a CFP

Almost anyone can call themselves a financial planner. But in many cases their actual expertise is narrow.

Updated: October 02, 2010, - 09:41 PM

Park 'excess' college money in conservative investment

Q We have two sons, the eldest is a senior in high school, the other is a sophomore. Our oldest son is considering going to the community college next fall. Recently, their grandparents gave them money to use toward college. For our oldest son, the amount exceeds what he would need for the community college. What would you suggest we do with the money?

Updated: September 25, 2010, - 09:25 PM

It's never too late to start saving

I've been getting a number of questions from 40-somethings and 50-somethings with little savings and abundant worries about retirement.

Updated: September 11, 2010, - 08:58 PM

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