1. Set up emergency fund: Establishing an emergency fund is essential, especially in the event of a job loss or other significant reduction in income. Assess your income-debt ratio, as well as your career stability, and set aside a realistic fund that will sustain you for an adequate period of time.
2. Max out 401(k): Enroll in 401k and/or invest to receive full company match -- otherwise, you're leaving money on the table and getting taxed for money that could be protected.
3. Save for education: Review education savings needs for children, or continuing education for yourself/spouse. Invest now to prepare for future costs -- which will only continue to increase.
4. Stick to a budget: Pay down debt and make a detailed budget plan. Studies show that successful "savers" have a dedicated and disciplined approach to spending and saving money.
5. Ensure you're protected: Review insurance coverage - Are you getting the best rates? Are you adequately covered? Make sure you are prepared in the event that you need it.