Tips and training to get your personal finance in shape for the new year

This is the time of year when resolutions are made and broken. And topping the list of resolutions for many of us is figuring out our finances.

"They look at where they are, they realize that often there's a gap between where they are today and where they know they need to be and decide that this is the year," said Stacy Francis, the owner of Francis Financial.

The start of the new year kicks off her busy season. If you're looking to get money-wise, she recommends doing these three things first.

  1. Pay off credit card debt, especially high-interest debt.
  2. Build an emergency fund of 3 to 6 months of living expenses in a high-interest saving account.
  3. Start to max out your 401(k) or another retirement account.

Beyond that, pay attention to your money. Francis recommends reading good books and websites about personal finance and check out organizations that can help you get savvy about your money.

For many, the top two resolutions are getting into physical shape and financial shape. For some that is easier said than done. So you can go to a place like the Financial Gym, where you can meet with your new BFF—best financial friend.

"Most of us have plenty of places to go to get physically healthy," Financial Gym founder Shannon McLay said. "The problem is we don't have a lot of places to go to get financially healthy."

For $99 s a month, Financial Gym clients are paired with a trainer to meet their money goals.

"We have a warm-up call process, which is where new people can call and find out more about the Gym and what we do here," McLay said. "Our warm-up call team is booked for January. They are booked solid."

Lily Womble, 25, is the creator of, a dating coach business. She is using the Financial Gym and the start of the new year to figure out her transition out of corporate America.

"I needed a customized plan from someone who knew what they were doing," she said.

While it is easier for some to hire out the experience, McLay said she believes you can do it on your own.

"Take a moment look at where all your finances are—look at what you have in your bank account, what you have on your credit cards, if you have personal loans, student loans," she said. "Put it in an Excel spreadsheet or hand-write it down and know where you are starting from."

As they say at the financial gym: feel the burn, see the returns.