Currently, I have a pretty intense beard, most hairs are over an inch. I say most because I keep the goatee area a bit longer. On the other side of having a beard, being Jewish, my hair tends to grow in much thicker than most, this includes the beard. It can look sloppy when you don't maintain it. That been said, depending on how long you keep your beard length, I've noticed grooming to be rather simple. Not only is it an annoyance to shave, but it can create bad side effects. Also as a straight man, I find facial hair on men to be more flattering in general, as long as properly maintained. This may sound contradicting because I have a "scruffy" looking beard, but again, that's just the texture and style of my facial hair.
Okay, so my beard now, as said is about an inch all over, and pretty thick.
The longer it is, the more tempting it is to twist the hairs, which will eventually weaken them, and cause them to fall out. Either way, they're gonna start falling out little bits at a time. Because you're going to have to wash it and scrub it. I believe the humidity affects the hair too, cause it to fall out more. I notice during the summer and hotter months my beard to shed more as opposed to winter and cooler months. I wash my beard every other day basically, with shampoo while in the shower, conditioner is not necessary. Just massage the shampoo in as if you were washing your hair, let it sit for a little, then rinse. If you do not wash your beard, it will get dry underneath, the skin will flake and crust, and get very itchy. I've noticed washing it once every other day is good enough. In fact I only actually shampoo it once or sometimes twice a week, but I at least rinse it with water every other day.
As for the trimming of it. Well, I used to trim it under neath and around the neck to shape it up, this being the case when it was shorter usually, however now that it's longer it really isn't needed. I actually think a longer beard that's "edged" looked tacky. To me it defeats the purpose of having a beard, and not having to worry about shaving. Now if the hair grows all the way down your neck, that's another story. Fortunately for me, it doesn't grow all the way down. BUT, it does grow on my neck somewhat, the way I figure I can avoid shaving this is because I grow it under the chin (goatee) a little longer, so it covers that (from the front view). Eventually you're gonna have to trim it up a little bit, in certain areas but it's very minuscule.
So.. maintaining it is pretty easy. I don't know what sort of beard you plan on growing, so I can't really help you with the trimming now. But the fact is that you will need to wash it, or it'll get itchy as hell. Shampoo it at least once a week, and you're good. I also don't recommend dying it unless its shorter. I've dyed my beard black before sometimes to match my hair when I dye it, and I've noticed the facial hair dye to wash out very fast, and the chemicals to weaken the hairs roots.
For me, my biggest concerns are when I'm eating, getting crap stuck in my beard, lol. I'm quite confident with my appearance even with a said shaggy beard, it's me, it's mine, it's a part of my character, and it's what people know me by. I always have some sort of facial hair going on, or else I feel naked. As long as you're confident, dress fairly nice, have good hygiene, clean hands/nails, you can have a beard, or any facial hair arrangement even a shaggy beard, even a Santa beard, even an O'bama beard and still look nice.