Succulents can certainly survive with some neglect, however they do need care in order to thrive!
Bare root plants
When you receive a bare root plant, plant it in soil and water it right away.
Different succulents have different preferences for how much sun they like to get. Watch your plants carefully at first for signs that they are getting too much or to little, and move them to a different location if needed. Succulents will adapt to the conditions they are in. If they are kept in mostly shade and then suddenly moved to full sun they can get burned very easily. However if you gradually ease them into the new condition over a few days they will adapt much better.
Signs of too much light - sunburn spots or bleaching
Signs of too little light - getting green and stretched out (etiolated)
Succulents show their best colors with a little bit of stress. This can be low water, bright light, or cold. But be careful not to stress them too much!
Make sure your succulents are dry before watering them again. The soil should dry out but not so much that it pulls away from the sides of the pot.
Some succulents can survive freezing temperatures and others cannot. I've lost my fair share of plants from an unexpected frost. Sempervivums and Sedums are the most cold tolerant and can survive under snow. Most others will need protection and/or to be brought inside when temps dip below freezing. Here is an article with lots more info about growing succulents in cold places. I live in a very temperate climate so I'm not the best one to give advice on this :)
Soil and Pots
Succulents need soil with good drainage. You don't want the water to stay in there too long or the plants could rot. The easiest thing is to buy a cactus/ succulent mix from your garden store. If you plant your succulents in pots, make sure there is a hole for drainage. If there is no drainage your plant will very likely rot.
The main pests for succulents is mealy bugs. You can tell they are there if you see white fluff down in the cracks between the leaves. If you get mealy bugs you can use a toothpick to scrape off any bugs and white stuff that you can, then spray the plant with rubbing alcohol (50% - 70% is fine). You will need to spray every week until they are gone, because the alcohol will only kill the adults, not the eggs. You should also move you infected plant(s) away from your other plants so the mealy bugs don't spread. It is best to start treating this as soon as you see it so it doesn't get out of hand.