Chris Farrell is economics editor of Marketplace Money, a nationally syndicated one-hour weekly personal finance show produced by American Public Media. Chris is also economics correspondent for Marketplace, the largest business program in broadcasting and chief economics correspondent for American RadioWorks, the largest producer of long-form documentaries in public radio. He is also contributing economics editor at Business Week magazine. He was host and executive editor of public television’s Right on the Money. He is the author of two books: Right on the Money: Taking Control of Your Personal Finances, and Deflation: What Happens When Prices Fall. Chris is a graduate of Stanford and the London School of Economics.
Posted In: student loans, default, Jobs, secured credit card, Credit report, credit score
My son, who is in his mid 30s and is married with two children, has almost no reportable income. He manages an apartment complex in Los Angeles, for which he receives something like $500/month and the use of a three-bedroom apartment. He also picks up web development jobs that are usually transacted in cash. His wife has her beautician's license and provides services out of the apartment for cash or barter. I worry that they wouldn't be able to rent another apartment if they wanted or had to move from their present apartment. Do you have any suggestions on how he might begin to work on his credit rating, given his current situation? Craig, Fairbanks, AK
Posted In: Investing, gold, precious metals
Someone in my family plans to invest $300,000 in silver and gold (mostly silver) because he read it's the best place to make money in the next 5 years. Is that correct or is he going to ruin himself??? Please respond!!!! Jessi, Pembroke Pines, FL
Posted In: Savings, borrowing, personal savings rate
The personal savings rate seems to have moved up to the 4 percent to 5 percent range, despite savers making 0.1 percent to 0.2 percent on their money. We're back to the range that held for much of the 1990s. Considering how harsh the last couple of years have been on so many people -- from young adults seeking their first full-time job to retirees watching their pension values slide -- it's doubtful that the savings habit will erode. Memories aren't that short.
Posted In: Treasury inflation protected securities, tips, IRA, Roth-IRA, Mutual funds, exchange traded funds, ETFs
Are there any disadvantages to purchasing TIPS through something like Fidelity's Inflation Protected Bond (FINPX) for my Roth IRA? Or would it be a better idea to just purchase TIPS directly from the Treasury? Thanks, Danny, Davis, CA
Posted In: Investing, Savings, asset allocation, stocks, Treasury bill, index funds
We now want to invest some of our emergency fund that we believe is a little inflated, due to fears of the economy. I've looked around at fee-only advisers, but they all state that you should have at least $100,000 to start investing; otherwise, they don't feel like you are qualified to work with. What should we do with our money? We have about $15,000-20,000 that we want to invest, but we want to do the right thing. Could your staff help with some options? Thank you, Joshua, Riverside, CA
Posted In: rollover IRA, 401(k) personal finance books
I am a recently divorced, single mom who is currently not employed. Right now, most of my assets (apart from my home) are in two 401(k)s -- one from my previous employer and one I received as part of the divorce settlement QDRO. From what I have read, it sounds like I should roll these over and consolidate them into an IRA? I am having trouble figuring out how and where to do this. What am I losing by leaving the money in these two 401(k)s? Ginger, Park Ridge, IL
Posted In: mortage, home equity loan
We have 7 years left to go to finish paying off our mortgage and we have a manageable amount of home equity borrowing. How wise or risky would it be to consolidate that, borrowing at a lower rate, if the new loan would be a home-equity loan? That's the advice we're hearing from our bank and the stated rate should be lower than the rates we have on our existing mortgage and home-equity borrowing. Is there a reason to think twice about this? Thanks! John, St. Paul, MN