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What the experts say

New rules for Roths; Dating by credit rating; Business resolutions for 2013

New rules for RothsWashington’s last-minute deal on the fiscal cliff loosened the rules for converting traditional 401(k) accounts into Roth retirement accounts, said Melanie Hicken in CNNMoney.com. For Roth accounts, you pay taxes when you put money in, instead of when you withdraw it. Until now, employees generally had to wait until they were 59 and a half before they could convert traditional retirement accounts to Roth 401(k)s. Now any employee of a company that offers a Roth option—about 46 percent of employers do—can convert all or part of a traditional 401(k) to a Roth. Though that means paying taxes on the reallocated funds, the option makes sense “for people in lower tax brackets who have extra cash on hand, such as young professionals.” 

Dating by credit ratingA good credit score isn’t important just for landing a loan, said Jessica Silver-Greenberg in The New York Times. Nowadays, it helps in romance, too. Interviews with more than 50 daters under the age of 40 reveal that a solid credit rating of at least 750 can matter more than steady employment and physical attraction in deciding whether someone is a suitable partner. “Good credit is sexy”—that’s the slogan of dating site CreditScoreDating.com, which caters to those looking for worthy mates. “Credit scores are like the dating equivalent of a sexually transmitted disease test,” said Manisha Thakor of MoneyZen Wealth Management. In these uncertain financial times, people ask their dates the “decidedly unromantic question” of their credit score because it can affect the price of future shared cars, homes, and even mobile phone contracts. 

Business resolutions for 2013Most of us end up breaking our New Year’s vows to lose weight and get more exercise, said Mike Maddock in Forbes.com. But I’ve noticed that “the most accomplished people” in business generally resolve not to do more, but to narrow their focus to important things. “Creating a list of things that you are not going to do allows you to invest more of your treasured time on the few things that matter the most.” Cut out the rote practice of reading your emails first thing in the morning, for instance, and instead start out by setting a goal for the day. By the same token, “do yourself a favor and plan your vacations for the next year today.”

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