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

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

Farrell: Saving strategies depend on the time you put into them

Last week at the State Fair, I was on Minnesota Public Radio's noon-hour program with host Kate Smith. We took questions on the economy and personal finances from the audience and over the phone. Topics included savings, naturally. The latest reading of the personal savings rate is 4.4 percent -- well above its low of 1 percent in April 2005. With the nation's unemployment rate above 8 percent for 42 consecutive months, I think it's remarkable how well people are doing at saving.

Updated: September 01, 2012, - 09:21 PM

Farrell: Job uncertainty tips scale from owning to renting

The key factors to carefully think through for rent vs. buy decisions are finances, income and time.

Updated: August 17, 2012, - 04:30 PM

Farrell: Is college worth the cost? Yes, but ...

Last Sunday, I participated in a Fringe Festival event with the Theater of Public Policy, an improv comedy troupe co-founded by host Tane Danger. The theater uses comedy to bring critical public policy issues to life. I was the straight man, and the comedians riffed off of bits and pieces of what I said. The evening was a wonderful combination of laughs and seriousness. The topic: "Is a college education worth it?"

Updated: August 11, 2012, - 08:56 PM

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