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: interest rates, Federal Reserve
There is an implication by those in the media that the Fed is essentially out of tools when it comes to lowering interest rates. Can the Federal Reserve lower the Fed Funds rate below zero? If so, what would be the implications for borrowers, savers and the macroeconomy? Richard, Marietta, GA
Posted In: Credit Cards, credit card interest rates, credit report, Credit report, credit score
I am a graduate student in my mid-20s who has never had a credit card. While I have been able to get by without one, I have finally reached a stage in my personal and professional life where not having one has become a real inconvenience (when trying to reserve a rental car, for example). I would be grateful for advice on the cards, or kinds of cards, that I should seek or avoid for a first credit card -- as well as whether I'm likely to receive one, and (if not) what I can do to make myself a better candidate. Stephanie, Minneapolis, MN
Posted In: mortgage, mortgage refinance, Savings, safe savings, Personal Finance
I have $30,000 and want to know where best to put it. Ultimately, I want to put it away for my three boys' futures. I want it to make something, however slowly, without risk. But, 0.4 percent? Is that really the best I can do? Joanna, Hammond, IN
Posted In: Estate planning, durable power of attorney, advanced health care directive, will, beneficiaries
I am a 52-year-old single woman with no children. I have three older siblings and several nieces and nephews, although we are not particularly close (not estranged, just not close). This summer, my goal is to put in place basic end-of-life preparations like a will and a burial plan -- possibly long-term-care insurance as well. I learned from my parents' aging and deaths how much help the elderly can need, and how much stress and anxiety that can cause for those who love them. Can you give me some direction before I head to a lawyer? Julia, Omaha, NE
Posted In: Credit card, credit score, living abroad
Hi! I'm living in Europe for a year or so, but all my bank accounts are still in the U.S. I've been using my credit card for everything and paying off the balance monthly. Is this bad credit card behavior? Could I be hurting my credit score? Thanks! Alexa, Baltimore, MD
Posted In: Credit Cards, credit score, debt, credit limit
I received a large bonus, and I'm going to use it all to pay down credit card debt. I have many cards. They all have about the same outstanding balances and about the same interest rates. At one time, most of the cards were "maxed out," which was bad for my credit score. Should I pay off a couple cards entirely, or should I make larger-than-usual payments to all of them, bringing down the outstanding balances substantially below the credit limits? Thanks. Henry, Chicago, IL
Posted In: Internet, smartphones, digital, Personal Finance, borrow, health care, pets
The troubled Facebook IPO is casting a pall over high tech (wrongly, I think). The signal moment for the emergence of an even larger digital economy wasn't Facebook. It was Apple's iPad. It's the visible symbol of the rapid embrace of wireless data -- video, images, content, data and communication -- throughout the global economy. A safe forecast: The mobile Internet will transform personal finance.