"Where should I begin?"

That's a question that all investors ask themselves at one point in their careers. For me, the query first crossed my mind when I was confronted with my first-ever retirement-plan election form.

As I recently confided to members of the Fool's brand-spankin' new GreenLight newsletter service, my answer, as it turns out, was a pretty bad one: I allocated equal percentages to each of the plan's options -- bond fund included! -- despite being just in my 20s.

Going to grad school for English lit, it turned out, didn't help so much when it came to investing. Go figure.

Lesson learned
I wised up (in the Foolish way) soon enough, and that's a good thing, too: I turned 42 this week. I have a wife and daughter, and while I'll never shake the sensation that there's always more I could be doing, I'm pretty satisfied with the financial choices I've made along the way -- barring that first one, of course.

If everything goes according to plan, Penny Lou (my daughter) should be attending Harvard in about 16 years, while Kristin (my wife) and I spend our dotage trotting the globe and receiving text messages -- telepathically transmitted by then, I'm sure -- from Miss Lou.

Trouble is
Things have a way of not quite turning out according to plan. The challenge is to go with the flow while making smart choices in light of an unpredictable future. Among other things, for me, that means periodically rethinking my asset-allocation game plan and ensuring that it still meshes with my timeline and tolerance for risk.

Make no mistake: If I were a young whippersnapper again, I might be inclined to plunk down the bulk of my hard-earned investment moola on racy growth stocks like Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), Genentech (NYSE:DNA), and Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX), each of which boasts fat earnings-growth estimates and rich price-to-earnings multiples to match.

Even if I were a milder-mannered 20-something (which, for the record, I was not), I'd at least consider going with the likes of EchoStar Communications (NASDAQ:DISH), Nabors Industries (AMEX:NBR), Taiwan Semiconductor (NYSE:TSM), or Jabil Circuit (NYSE:JBL) -- companies with similarly rosy earnings-growth expectations that, right now anyway, sport P/Es that seem downright juicy.

The Foolish bottom line
Helping newbie investors -- and those who may be playing catch-up -- make those kinds of investment calls is a big part of what GreenLight is about. Personal finance is a part of our plan, too. From choosing the smartest place to stash your short-term cash to finding the "rewards" credit card that gives you the biggest bang for the bucks you spend, we've got you covered.

If that sounds right for you, click here to give GreenLight a whirl. In addition to the newsletter, we've got an action-packed website and advisor blogs to boot. So go ahead and check the service out -- and be sure to let us know what you think over on our members-only discussion boards. Those come with your membership, too.

At the time of publication, Shannon Zimmerman didn't own any of the securities mentioned above. Starbucks is a Stock Advisor recommendation. You can check out the Fool's strict disclosure policy by clicking right here.