One thing for sure is that I wouldn't start buying pref pts. I am going to be 72 this year and moved to Colorado 13 years ago when I retired. I had done lots of deer and antelope hunting and a small amount of elk. It was a real learning experience for me (still is for that matter!!), but am pretty comfortanble with how to hunt elk. Colorado is the only state that has over the counter tags, so it might be a good place to start. Everyone here on Eastmans forum is really great and will give you lots of advice. Don't feel like any question is dumb either.
First off, If I were you I would save my pennies (oops dollars I mean) and plan on going on a guided hunt in a couple of years. You can learn a lot. There are lots of good outfits that are reasonable. I know of one that will pack you into a wilderness area here in Colorado, everything included except your license for 1/2 what others do it for and he is really good.
Good luck and I'm sure you'll get plenty of advice here.