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

Farrell: To take or not to take early Social Security benefits

In recent columns I've been making the case for why it pays for most people to consider delaying taking Social Security rather than at the first opportunity, age 62.

Updated: February 02, 2013, - 04:24 PM

Farrell: Social Security decisions require careful calculations

Last week's column on Social Security sparked a number of comments. Briefly, rather than take Social Security early at age 62, I argued for a strategy of filing for Social Security benefits later, tapping into retirement savings and working at least part-time instead. I'd like to address some of the challenges to this perspective.

Updated: January 19, 2013, - 04:26 PM

Farrell: The dilemma of whether to take early Social Security

QI am 59 and wish to retire in three years. To have enough retirement income, I could take Social Security early at 62, or withdraw $2,000 a month from my retirement accounts. Which is the better option?

Updated: January 12, 2013, - 09:16 PM

Farrell: Retirees wonder what financial returns to expect

Q I am 62. My husband is 63. We hired a respected fee-based certified financial planner to update our financial plan as we head into retirement. We have a projected secure stream of income aside from our 401(k) and may or may not need to draw down on our retirement funds ever, or at least not for five or six years.

Updated: January 05, 2013, - 04:26 PM

Farrell: First 'real' job prompts questions about investing

QI'm 26 now and just got my first "career" job. So I've been thinking more about investments. I have a macroeconomic/fiscal cliff question for you. While I intend to invest in the way that's best for me, if I were being completely unselfish wouldn't bonds be better? After all, sales of stock (other than IPOs) just shift money from one investor to another and sap money from corporations through dividends. Things like municipal bonds, on the other hand, can result in necessary infrastructure being built. Especially with talk of changing the capital gains tax rate, it seems like it would be easy enough to raise it for stocks but leave it at 15 percent for bonds, and indirectly promote huge private investments in infrastructure.

Updated: December 22, 2012, - 04:27 PM

Investment advice: A gift to a teen that will keep on giving

Q Do you have any suggestions on good books that a 16-year-old could read to understand how investments work and offers good advice? Also what's your opinion on good techniques for teaching about how investments work? I am toying with the concept of having him read the book and giving him $1,000 to invest if he can explain some basic concepts. KEVIN

Updated: December 15, 2012, - 08:32 AM

Farrell: Fear of fiscal cliff can be hazardous to your wealth

For much of the past week I've spent way too much time watching evening cable television news shows hyperventilate over the impending fiscal cliff. Don't get me wrong: It's a really bad idea to saddle a still-anemic economy with $500 billion to $700 billion in tax hikes and spending cuts starting next month.

Updated: December 08, 2012, - 03:23 PM

Farrell: Navigating IRS distribution rules is tricky

QI am over 70 1/2 years and just left my full-time job early in November that had a 401(k) plan. I am confused as to when I must take my first required minimum distribution (RMD). Would appreciate knowing if it must be taken this year or possibly delayed until next year. 

Updated: December 01, 2012, - 04:44 PM

A valued adviser should provide a financial blueprint

Q What sort of results should I expect from my financial planner? 

Updated: November 17, 2012, - 04:31 PM

Rules of thumb to build cash cushion for your retirement

QMy husband is retired and draws a defined-benefit pension. I hope to retire in five or six years. We have no savings apart from our (rather large) IRAs. I have suggested that it would be a good idea for us to build a cash reserve before I retire so that in retirement we can avoid having to make withdrawals from our IRAs (beyond the required minimum distribution) to cover living expenses just after a market sell-off.

Updated: November 10, 2012, - 05:17 PM

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