So at the moment I'm beginning to develop an interest about ways to invest money, both long term and short term. For the former, I plan to open up a Roth IRA (or another IRA maybe?) sometime this month. Most people I've asked about retirement stuff have suggested IRAs. But for short term investments, I'm not sure what to do. I'm told that purchasing a CD would only make sense in a world where inflation weren't like 4% a year (or so I'm told), so it seems that's not a particularly worthwhile option. What would you guys recommend to a complete financial noobie who is looking to put aside money each month for the next 12-14 months in the hopes of seeing that turn into something *better* two or three years later?
You need to get a book, but the short answer is that investing with a horizon shorter than about 5 years is not a good idea. If you put it in a total stock index and then the market takes a 50% dive, you have no time to recover your money.
Max out the roth if you can and try to shoot for low-cost index funds instead of whatever mutual fund they'll try to put you in. At your age, avoid bonds entirely. reddit.com/r/personalfinance is a good starting spot, but just be aware that most people there are way too conservative for where you should be at (lot of people living with their parents with a year's worth of emergency fund, etc).