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

One thing's for certain: There's no certainty with 401(k)

Diversification is the best way to protect a retirement portfolio.

Updated: September 04, 2010, - 09:19 PM

Some perspective on the horrible housing market

The news about the housing market is grim. My sense is that the housing market will stay weak until we start reading newspaper headlines about looming labor shortages rather than stubbornly high unemployment. But the longer-term outlook is more benign.

Updated: August 28, 2010, - 09:03 PM

Despite rising price, college degree still worth its cost

A college degree is a passport to better earnings and more employment over a lifetime.

Updated: August 21, 2010, - 09:48 PM

Rules vary for hardship withdrawals from IRAs and 401(k)s

You can't put back the money you took out. And that's assuming you made a hardship withdrawal or similar distribution from the plan. The hardship clauses are highly restrictive.

Updated: August 14, 2010, - 09:16 PM

Retirement-savings rule of thumb can fall short

With talk about 15 percent being enough for a comfortable retirement, does this mean gross salary or take-home after taxes? What about the money pulled out for my health plan and optional life insurance payments?

Updated: August 07, 2010, - 09:22 PM

Several ways to figure out if you'll have enough to retire

The footprints of an aging America are hard to ignore, especially with the leading edge of the baby boom generation reaching its retirement years. Maybe that's why I've been getting a number of questions from middle-aged readers and listeners with a D.I.Y. mind-set about how to take a quick reading of their retirement planning.

Updated: July 31, 2010, - 09:04 PM

Does an extra credit card make sense?

Q We plan to travel to Europe this fall. I'm considering getting a Capital One credit card for the trip because it doesn't charge for international transactions. However, I'm worried that adding a credit card will lower my credit rating. Is that likely? We have a VISA and a debit card and always automatically pay the full amount. Our only debt is our home mortgage, which is automatically deducted. Also, is there a way to find out my credit rating free of charge?

Updated: July 24, 2010, - 09:28 PM

Dump old financial records? Not so fast

Is there a need to keep all those statements from the retirement plans we created or can one just keep the past seven years as you do with other papers?

Updated: July 17, 2010, - 09:41 PM

Online calculators can help in deciding how much to tap 401(k)

Take financial planning projections with a grain of salt and remember that you can revise them over the years.

Updated: July 10, 2010, - 08:56 PM

Is her college senior ready for credit card?

Since this column is being published on July 4th, I'm going to lean toward embracing your son's declaration of financial independence. Try shifting your focus from sheltering him from credit cards to making sure he's financially literate.

Updated: July 03, 2010, - 08:53 PM

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