Fund your 401(k) plan. Even before creating a liquid savings account, start a habit of funding your 401(k) plan, especially one that provides matching from your employer. Jones suggests maxing out your contributions to your 401(k).
Build an emergency fund. In a world where many people live from paycheck to paycheck, accumulate six months of take-home pay in case you lose your job or have a medical emergency. Jones suggests keeping that money in a savings account where you can easily access it, even if it receives almost no interest.
Live beneath your means. "This is a good resolution for anybody," Jones says, adding that many people live beyond their means for 30 years. People who have been making $300,000 or more since 2008 can have a more severe fall if something catastrophic happens in their lives such as loss of income or serious illness. Jones says those in that income category makes up more than 1 to 2 percent of the U.S. population. For example, even if you can afford a Cadillac, buy a lower-priced car.
Consolidate credit card debt. Anyone who has trouble paying their credit card can seek credit counseling to change the way they are earning and spending. "Just about anybody is eligible for a debt repayment plan who doesn't have money to pay their credit card bills with the interest rates as they are," Jones says. With debt consolidation, they can lower their interest rates.
Pay back credit you obtain at 0 percent interest before the last day of the offer. Credit card companies count on a certain percentage of borrowers not paying the credit card balance before the interest rate jumps from 0 percent to 15 percent or more, Robertson says.
Everyone has a different financial situation, but you can resolve to improve yours in 2014. The first step is to face your finances by creating a detailed budget of every source of income and expense you have. Once you know where you stand, you can begin a step-by-step process of improving your fiscal life.