I just setup a secure email account for myself. I needed one to exchange some passwords etc with a friend. Here are a few links that will help you setup one.
First you need an email client. My choice was Thunderbird. The rest of the setup depends on this so if you pick another client the next steps will vary a bit.
You can get Thunderbird at http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/thunderbird/
Now you need a Thunderbird extension called Enigmail https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/thunderbird/addon/71
Enigmail helps you with the PGP tools within Thunderbird.
Now you need to download GnuPG http://www.gnupg.org/download/index.en.html which is an open source PGP tool.
I got version 1.4.9 Windows command line installer gnupg-w32cli-1.4.9.exe.
How to do this in detail is on the Enigmail quick start guide.
Secure email is a good thing to have even for personal use. Most emails travel as plain text and get stored on servers for a long time. By using this setup you can exchange public keys and encrypt mails before sending. Only your private keys can open them.
I sometimes get spam or phishing mails from my friend’s computers. Those are from bad bots that got into their computers.
Also anyone can set the from field to any other email address and impersonate another person.
Using PGP you can sign your emails as well so the receiver can be pretty sure its you sending the mail.
Read more about PGP on Wikipedia.