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: home, Investing, Savings
My wife and I are having a disagreement and I hope you can help settle it. We're looking at houses below $100,000. After having looked at our options, I want to wait a year and build up our savings so we can put enough money down without completely wiping out our savings. My wife is concerned that, due to a recovering housing market, it will be more expensive in the long run if we wait, and that will be worth the short-term risk. Should we wait or go for it now? Andrew, Milwaukee, WI
Posted In: Social Security, elderly, poverty rates
The poverty rate among older Americans is up, with the highest rate among the "oldest old."
Posted In: Savings, personal finances, Investing
I'm putting the max allowed in my retirement accounts, and it's invested fairly conservatively in index funds. I lost a bunch of money in the tech stock crash in the early 2000s, which makes me hesitant to dump more money in the stock market. I own an apartment and don't really want more exposure to real estate, either. I'm starting to build up enough cash that I don't want to just leave it in my savings account. The only debt I have is my mortgage, and while I have decreased the balance on it, the interest rate is so low that it seems like there must be something better I can do with the cash. Any suggestions? Kira, Washington DC
Posted In: Credit Cards, secured credit cards, credit report, credit score
My friend is 24 and a young mother. She has never had a credit card and she wants to build her credit. Her income is somewhat limited at the moment because she has a new baby and only works part-time, but she wants to be able to pay for small daily expenses with a card that she can pay off in full every month. She is not seeking a large credit line. Even $100 would be sufficient. Can you provide some advice on what kind of card and where to start for someone looking to build good credit? Should she try prepaid credit cards? Any advice would be most sincerely appreciated. Esmeralda, Marlborough, MA
Posted In: Social Security, entitlements, Fiscal policy
Social Security's shortfall is manageable, but it's also real.
Posted In: Personal Finance, personal finance books
I am 50 years old, and unfortunately, a bit of a financial novice. I have never invested, never budgeted and never really had my money work for me. I am a professional, in my own private practice and earn close to or more than $100,000 a year. I am looking for some good source(s) that may, by reading or watching videos, make me a more informed steward of my money. Ed, Cardiff, CA
Posted In: Pittsburgh, Portland, middleweight cities, U.S.
Forget those mega-cities like Los Angeles and New York -- a new study shows the economic dynamism of middleweight cities like Pittsburgh and the Twin Cities.
Posted In: personal finances, manage money, joint account
I don't have a question, just a comment on how our finances work. My wife and I agreed a long time ago we each need an allowance. We decided to take a percentage of our gross income as an allowance deposited to our personal checking account. The balance goes to the Joint account for all household bills and expenses. ... This has worked well for us as we agree that most household expenses are joint. Gary, Milwaukee, WI
Posted In: financial literacy, Personal Finance, Investing, Saving, planning
Commentator Chris Farrell thinks there's no time like the present to get smart about your finances.
Posted In: retirement savings, Savings, taxable accounts
Outside of my 403(b) Base Program, which my employer matches 10% to my 5%, how much should I sock away in a 403(b) Supplemental? Currently, I contribute 5% to a 403(b) Supplemental, for a total of 20% of 110% of my paycheck. I fully fund a ROTH IRA every year, so I am wondering if I should be saving more of my paycheck to a more liquid asset. Michael, Haslett, MI