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

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

Savings bonds are safe despite 'fiscal cliff' anxieties

Q I have about $385,000 of U.S. savings bonds. About half of the value is principal, the other half is deferred interest. Most are I bonds purchased early in the program, which have a 3 percent fixed interest rate (or higher) component. The EE bonds are at a 4 percent rate. 

Updated: November 03, 2012, - 04:36 PM

About the CPI: You may not be typical consumer

QWe have seen rising prices at the grocery store for some time. This also is happening at the hardware store, restaurants, gas pumps and other shopping places. What is the inflation number on the items not on the federal inflation index?

Updated: October 20, 2012, - 05:26 PM

Farrell: Catch phrase for career transition: 'Fail early, fail often'

For the past quarter-century or so, the national conversation about retirement has focused on investing. With good reason. Millions of workers suddenly faced the need to learn more about investing as the 401(k) became the primary retirement savings plan for private-sector employees.

Updated: October 13, 2012, - 05:35 PM

As inflation hedge, TIPS can offer a protected harbor

QA few years ago, you'd suggested TIPS index as an alternative to the complete bond index. Do you still feel that way?

Updated: October 06, 2012, - 04:54 PM

Farrell: Turbulent times may drive a surge in entrepreneurship

The long-term decline in entrepreneurship in the nation is among the most disturbing trends in today's economy. Americans admire business risk-takers, from medical device visionaries to local chefs with their own restaurant.

Updated: September 24, 2012, - 05:03 PM

Farrell: Required IRA distributions call for good planning

QI retired a couple of years ago and am approaching 70 1/2, the age for Required Minimum Distribution of my IRA money. It's held mostly in stocks and mutual funds. I'm planning to start taking it monthly to average out the market. The question is, should I take it from the funds that are doing well, from the funds that are doing poorly, or evenly from all the funds?

Updated: September 15, 2012, - 04:42 PM

Farrell: 'Do-over' for Social Security more restrictive

Q Back a few years ago, I cut out an article you wrote for the Star Tribune. It was titled...

Updated: September 08, 2012, - 03:29 PM

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