Welcome to the board kinney, and congratulations to your smart decision. You are definitely right that starting early will pay off. I suggest you take a look at the recommended reading list here: An updated FIRE recommended reading list (with a military twist)
Read two or three of these books and get a solid understanding of investing before you actually invest in anything. My personal favourites are "The Intelligent Asset Allocator" by William Bernstein and "A Random Walk Down Wall Street" by Burton Malkiel, but there are other good options. This board is a treasure trove of information, too.
Some other good advice:
- Live below your means (LBYM). Save & invest something out of every paycheck. Make sure "lifestyle creep" doesn't eat up all of your salary increases.
- Manage your life, and your finances, yourself. Don't trust banks or advisors.
- Pride yourself in being different from the mainstream. Most people will not understand why you don't get the newest smartphone, the fanciest car, the biggest house you can afford.
- If at all possible, find something that you enjoy doing for a career. Having a job you like is MUCH better than slaving away at a job you hate, just because it pays well.
- Live life to the fullest. It's meant to be enjoyed.