Here are some tips to help you start a financial plan—which should include some career planning too—to help you reach your financial goals:
Track expenses to determine income needed to reach savings goal.
Whether your goal is to save more, spend less or pay down debt, to create a financial plan you can stick to Castro and other financial planners say you need to know where you stand.
Focus on expenses and earnings.
"First, sit down and start tracking your expenses. Get clear about how much money you need in every month to support your current lifestyle, and also save for your financial goals. Then you can go out and make sure that you make that amount in income," Castro says.
Increase your income and secure your most valuable asset—your career—by making your work indispensable.
Your income is likely your greatest financial asset. Like other assets, you want it to appreciate over time. The key to increasing your salary, say career experts, is to make yourself indispensable at work.
"Your company has to need you. Your industry has to need you. Your customers have to need you," says career expert Caroline Ceniza-Levine, co-founder of SixFigureStart, based in New York. "So you have to be that person where if restructuring happens, if cuts need to be made, if they need to select something for something high profile, they're going to say 'We need to have you on that team.' "
(Read more: Report: Millions of women at risk of falling into poverty, economic ruin)
Ceniza-Levine suggests taking these steps to help secure your most valuable asset—your career.
- Get noticed. Volunteer to lead a project or speak at an event.
- Keep your expertise up-to-date. Read industry blogs and trade journals.
- Strengthen your network. Meet with a new colleague or reconnect with an old one at least once a month
Schedule weekly "money date" to review budget, expenses and goals.
To keep other financial goals on track, Castro suggests scheduling a "money date" every week. Spend an hour updating your budget, reviewing expenses and talking about financial goals with your significant other and your kids. Keeping the conversation going will help you stay committed to the plan you put in place.
(Read more: 3 steps to making 2014 a financial turning point)
—By Sharon Epperson. Follow her on Twitter:
@sharon_epperson. Send her your comments and questions: #getaplan