Smokey Joe, we disagree on timing, not essence. I get new reloaders started NOW. Any experienced reloader can get a beginner turning out safe, reliable .38 Special loads in an hour. That's with one powder, one bullet, and one charge from the right dipper or rotor. He cannot get into any serious trouble unless he double charges. He's got an immediate supply of shootable ammo and the satisfaction that comes with that.
If he needs, or wants, to go past that, he can put a lifetime into it, as you and I have done. Most do, but some don't.
I knew a very experienced PPC shooter who had never loaded but one load in his life, but he loaded about 10,000 a year of those. That one load was Federal cases, Federal primers, 2.8 grains of Bullseye, and a 148 grain HBWC. That was all he needed to know about reloading. He didn't own a scale, didn't own a loading manual, didn't have but one bushing for his powder measure, and sure did not own calipers.