Your Money 16828336

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 cfarrell@mpr.org and put "Your Money" in the subject line.
Recent content from Chris Farrell

Financial legacy means more than just money

“Generational wealth, that’s the key,” said hip-hop artists and entrepreneur Jay-Z in his song Legacy on his new album 4:44. He’s right. Legacy is a…

Why this is a good time for a household financial risk assessment

Rather than trying to divine the whims of investors, focus on calibrating your portfolio to the rhythms of your life.

Financial planning needs to include long-term care needs

Try this experiment. Get together with a group of people — neighbors, colleagues, acquaintances — in the second half of life. Open the conversation with…

Why a little inflation is considered a good thing

Q: Everyone is talking about the central banks getting back to the ideal target of 2 percent inflation. Why not 0 percent inflation? James A:…

Some personal finance books for the long haul

These suggestions aren't oriented toward surefire money making schemes. Instead, these recommendations are geared toward investing wisdom and money management insights for the long haul.

Grads are wise to save now, borrow sparingly

The season for high school and college graduation parties has started. I love these events with young people celebrating their achievement and eager to start…

How much should retired couples need a month?

Q: I never came across a talk or statistical data clarifying the average monthly income needed for a retired couple. One side is saving. This…

Keep big purchases within your means

I had several wonderful conversations with recent retirees about their personal finances at Minnesota Public Radio’s 50th anniversary open house last Saturday. One lesson stood…

Company stock in 401k plan? Beware of putting eggs in one basket

A welcome trend in retirement savings is the movement away from employers allowing employees to buy company stock in the 401(k) plan or making the…
More retirees blending work and leisure

More retirees blending work and leisure

Options include part-time work, flexible employment, self-employment or an encore career.

Move over 401(k), 'side hustles' are becoming key retirement issue

Like stocks, bonds and mutual funds, participating in the “gig economy,” creating a “side hustle,” or starting a “microenterprise” should be considered part of a…

Looking to buy a home? Mind these financial basics

Spring is the traditional start of the home sales season. The market is hot this year, especially for first-time home buyers looking for starter homes.…

Consider tweaks, but don't bail from markets over political jitters

Every day we see evidence that Washington is sinking deeper into acrimony while problems fester and reasonable solutions are shelved.

It's high time families start having money talks

Talk about a generation gap. I recently looked at the TIAA 2017 Family Money Matters Survey and the results are dismaying. The families surveyed like…

Taking stock of what's changed since Kiplinger's debuted in 1947

Kiplinger’s magazine is celebrating its 70th anniversary. The economy and markets have gone through plenty of twists and turns since 1947. Booms and busts. Bull…

Why should you opt for equity index funds? Listen to Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett's annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders is always a delight to read. Buffett, the Wizard of Omaha, is among the great stock pickers…
Upbeat? Worried? Try these investment strategies

Upbeat? Worried? Try these investment strategies

Three financial strategies that will help no matter what 2017 brings.

Here's what you need to ask your financial adviser

The Reuters News service headline was depressing: “From Wall Street to Wisconsin, brokers cheer Trump’s order.” The order that gave these financial advisers so much…

Savings gives you freedom to find that job you love

Are you thinking about changing jobs? The good news is that 2017 looks like a good year to take a leap. The big reason is…

Pick a money management strategy that suits you

A nice way to think about personal finance comes courtesy of Vitaliy Katsenelson, a Russian immigrant and chief investment officer at Investment Management Associates in…

You may not need as much money for retirement as you think

The image of retirement as leisure is powerful. Think of advertisements about retirement. The pictures usually involve golf, biking, an RV trip, perhaps a cruise.…

Breaking from the herd with your investments

Jeremy Grantham, 78, is a legendary value investor. He’s chief investment strategist at the Boston-based money management firm GMO. Grantham’s reputation is that he’s unusually…

Upbeat about 2017? Worried? Try these personal finance strategies

Stock market investors certainly seem enthusiastic about prospects for higher market values in 2017, largely reflecting the belief that the new administration will cut taxes,…

What's a fair fee for a financial adviser to charge?

Q: Is there is a fair percentage to charge to manage accounts that come to between $400,000-$500,000? I had taken a class about retiring and…

Traditional 401(k) or Roth? Taxes are key factor

Q: My company offers a Roth- 401(k) where I can contribute almost $20K per year. I can contribute even when my income is over the…

Despite political winds, investors should think globally

Globalization is under a cloud with the election of Donald Trump. Question is, what does his election mean for investors who own equities overseas or…

In a world with ho-hum investment returns, it's time to save more

A movie I’ve watched many times with my sons is “Dumb and Dumber,” the 1994 comedy starring two nitwits played by Jim Carrey and Jeff…

Giving can help shape a healthier approach to our finances

What does a Trump administration mean for health care insurance coverage, financial regulation and immigration? Is inflation poised to come roaring back? What are the…

Advice on finding a new financial counselor

Q: I am a child psychologist and feel confident at my job. As confident as I feel in my career, I feel equally helpless when…

You are retired and your IRA closes. What now?

Q: I’m 66, retired, and am a full-time caregiver to my wife, now bed-bound. I have a $300K IRA (through my last job) earning 1…

Farrell: Retirement is about more than just money

Last week I interviewed onstage Jo Ann Jenkins, chief executive of AARP and author of “Disrupt Aging: A Bold New Path to Living Your Best…

Chris Farrell: Savings are key to enable flexibility in life

The personal finance hub NerdWallet recently published a report that concluded that millennials will need to save 22 percent of their income for retirement. You…

How long-term savers can hedge against return of inflation

Back in 2004, I wrote “Deflation: What Happens When Prices Fall.” I argued that the U.S. had shifted from an economic environment where inflation (rising…

Credit card debt on the rise? Here are two ways to attack it

In recent weeks the economic news has been good. Specifically, the Census Bureau reported an across-the-board gain to household incomes last year. The Bureau of…

Farrell: Going all cash can help you establish a sound budget

In his latest book, “The Case Against Cash,” Harvard economics professor Kenneth Rogoff pitches the controversial idea that there is too much paper currency sloshing…

Four basic steps to managing your risk

In a blog post from earlier in the summer, the Progressive Policy Institute’s chief economic strategist Michael Mandel smartly illustrated the unpredictable impact of technological…

Chris Farrell: Many families fail to communicate about estate planning

Q: Can you suggest any good book(s) about how to plan for an estate and communicate the plans so that expectations are managed? I am…

Don't buy into despair on outlook for retirement

Personal finance numbers are sometimes sobering. The financial services behemoth Fidelity recently came out with its latest estimate on how much 65-year-olds can expect to…

Communication is big missing element in estate planning

Reading through the estate planning section of the most recent Family & Finance study by the personal finance behemoth Fidelity, I was reminded of the…

College students should skip the plastic

The other day I was asked if entering college students should get a credit card when they head off to school. My answer is that credit cards and college undergraduates don't mix.
Will you really be able to work into your 70s?

Will you really be able to work into your 70s?

Many need or want to. Here's what may be necessary to do it.

How to find an adviser to help you spend your retirement savings

Q: We now find ourselves fast approaching retirement. Our current financial planner has been very good in the accumulation phase of our lives, but we…

Goal of money management is freedom of choice

Earlier in the week I spent two days at a conference on the future of liberal arts colleges. Like many established, successful American institutions, liberal…

Best to keep it simple when devising financial plan

Recently I looked at some research suggesting that the typical American has poor health insurance plan literacy. A scholarly paper by George Loewenstein, a Carnegie…

When markets go sour, sticking to basics still important

Are you used to financial earthquakes by now? Brexit — shorthand for Britain's decision to leave the European Union — is only the latest global…

When it comes to student loans, flexibility is the key

By the margin-of-safety metric, federal student loans come out way ahead. Federal student loans are designed to be flexible during the payback period.

Why your financial adviser needs to be held to highest standard

You have probably heard or read about the Department of Labor’s new rules requiring financial advisers of retirement savings plans — 401(k)s and IRAs —…

A commencement message for parents of recent college graduates

College graduation is a hopeful, optimistic time of transition. But the personal finance message of this column is directed at the parents of recent college…

On the lookout for fossil-free funds

Q: I understand the wisdom of index funds. However, I’m trying to divest of oil and gas/fossil fuels and most index funds hold them in…

Retirement plans need to lay out more than financial future

Popular advertising images still associate retirement with full-time leisure: Travel. Golf. Barbecue and drinks on the patio. The vision of retirement-as-leisure took hold in the…

Listen to Warren Buffett and embrace low-cost index funds

Berkshire Hathaway Chief Executive Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger excoriated Wall Street last weekend at the company’s annual meeting in Omaha. The two…

Develop a sound financial strategy after graduation

We’re almost in the college graduation season, a wonderful time of celebration. Students will get their diplomas. Most will also receive their student loan repayment…

We can't afford our financial ignorance

The Minnesota Personal Finance Decathlon State Championship for high school teams was held at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis on April 6. I was…

Deciding where home is can be a key question to the aging process

When it comes to planning for our elder years, savvy future retirees crunch the numbers, pore over their 401(k)s and IRAs, learn about their Social…

How to regain control of your IRA

Q: I feel I have lost control of how I invest in my IRA. I am self-employed and have had two advisers over the past…

It is possible to create your own job market

Lucy Kellaway, the insightful career columnist for the Financial Times, gave good advice in a recent column to a 55-year-old finding it hard to get…

Stick with broad-based index funds

Q: The USA Today article surprised me. How does this concentration of profit-generating power relate to investment choices? I’ve been a proponent of broad-based index…

Playing it safe with home-sale proceeds

Q: After 25 years, I am selling my house. I expect to get a fair chunk of change in equity … I am divorced, currently…

Why retirement planning needs to go beyond a savings strategy

Last week I joined more than 400 people at the annual Encore.org conference in downtown San Francisco. The social venture is in the vanguard in…

Low fees help index funds deliver sweet returns

Q: I often read about the S&P 500 Index Fund. What are some of the other index funds available that have a reliable history of…

To own a home or rent? Let job security be your guide

A home has long symbolized the American dream. (Wrongly, in my opinion. But that’s another column.) But is a home still worth owning considering the…

It might be time to revisit those resolutions

How are you doing on your New Year’s resolutions? Me? I’m still in the process of trying to turn a handful of goals into habits.…

Advice that could help parents, students avoid big college debt

By now most students are done with their college applications. Postsecondary education is a passport to better earnings and more employment over a lifetime. College…

It's time to ramp up financial literacy standards

Do you know the answer to the following three personal finance questions? I came across them the other day while doing some research. Question 1:…

Retiring soon and looking for help

Q: My husband and I would like to manage our own personal finances in retirement. We will retire in about one year. Can you recommend…

5 trends that will shape our future

Earlier this month, Minnesota Public Radio host Gary Eichten, economist Louis Johnston and I held a public discussion at St. John's University in Collegeville, Minn.,…

Several issues to consider in transfer of savings bonds

Q: We have two granddaughters and have been investigating some sort of “lay away” plan for them. We have a number of series EE bonds…

Older job seekers need to tap their networks

Q: I separated from my job after more than 14 years and have been looking for work. I was called in to do a few…

Understand trade-offs before investing in variable annuities

Q: My husband just turned 63 and I turned 60 several months ago. We have been saving for retirement for many years. … We started…

Special annuities have pros and cons

Q: When are taxes paid if 403(b) money is converted to a QLAC? Do they always have a death benefit that pays out the original…

Value-based investing takes hold

One of the more striking transformations in personal finance over the past two decades is the growing embrace of socially responsible investing broadly defined, also…

October is the time to start saving

With all the ambiguity about the health of the global economy and political uncertainty in Washington, D.C., October strikes me as a good month for revisiting the personal finance basics.

Simplicity isn't bad for your finances

An intriguing theme that ran through the Mayo Clinic’s Transform Conference in Rochester this month involved the push for patients to take greater control over…

Families upend post-World War II housing trend

Last week, I attended the North American Securities Administrators Association annual conference. One panel discussed differences and similarities among the generations when it comes to…

Do young workers save too much?

What's with the financial services industry and millennials? The rap is that these young adults are too conservative with money. They're savers, not investors. The…
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