Tips for a better 2012, financially speaking

Published 10:41 am Wednesday, January 18, 2012

By STANTON DAVIS / Guest Columnist

There are several financially smart things you should put on your to-do list, which may make for a better 2012.

-Check your credit report. Even if you have a great credit score, it never hurts to check your credit report.

In fact, you should review it at least once every year to make sure everything is still accurate, and there are no signs of suspicious activity or fraud. It only takes a few minutes to download your credit history at and it’s free!

-Think tax time. The close of the year is the perfect time to look into possible tax credits and deductions. Now is your chance to make your taxes better for the year. Can you add more to your retirement plan? Can you make a charitable donation? Clear clutter from your house and donate it before the first of the year. Anything you can do to add to your deductions is a win-win for you!

-Review your investments and accounts. Did your investments live up to your expectations this year? Determine how they are performing and whether you need to buy, sell or leave them alone.

If you have a flexible spending account with money in it, check to see when you must use it before you lose it. Some ran out Dec. 31. If you have an IRA or 401(k), consider maxing out your contributions for a better tax return.

-Adjust your budget. Are you where you want to be financially at the close of the year? Did your projections match your spending? Consider making adjustments if your income or expenses have changed.

-Change your passwords. It doesn’t take much for someone to access your personal information. Do everything you can to protect yourself and prevent fraud by changing your passwords annually. Remember to use a mix of numbers, letters and characters when developing new ones.

For more financial advice and tips from Alabama Telco Credit Union, visit

Stanton Davis is vice president of marketing for Alabama Telco Credit Union located in Birmingham. He is available by phone at 800-248-3526 ext. 2848 and via email at