Less than a month has gone by since my college graduation, and I think I’ve already heard it 100 times: “Welcome to the real world.”At first, it wasn’t clear to me what exactly people meant by this, but I knew enough to realize that it was more of a cautionary introduction than a genuine expression of welcome!

I’ve since become acquainted with this “real” world, a world where I am no longer living the financially sheltered life of a student—deferred loans, dormitories, and at most, part-time  employment. Now, I have entered the workforce as a full-time employee, which means that managing my finances is no longer the simple task of putting money into a piggy bank; bills and loan payments also complicate matters. I have come to realize that I must prepare myself to make real world financial decisions, but the world of finance can seem daunting, especially to the young and inexperienced, to the fresh-out-of-college.

With hopes of educating myself about investing and money management, I enrolled in LearnVest’s Investing Boot Camp. This 15-day program costs an affordable $14.99 and consists of daily lessons sent via email.

The simple yet important point emphasized in the first four days of lessons is to start saving sooner rather than later. For example, $100 today is worth more than $100 one year from now because over time, that money will have accrued more interest. This common sense fact is why it is important to set up investment and retirement accounts as soon as possible; in addition, these accounts can offer various tax benefits that can help save even more money over time.

Today, I’m on Day 5, and LearnVest is introducing me to more complex concepts as the stock exchange and the jargon of finance—mutual funds, index funds, NASDAQ. These are ideas and terms we encounter every day in the news or in passing, but, if you’re like me, you probably don’t fully comprehend them. It seems like the Boot Camp lessons are taking a more intensive turn, now that I’ve had a chance to get my feet wet in the world of finance. I’m really looking forward to seeing what the next ten days will teach me. Stay tuned for more!