Jan 20, 2023

NGPF Podcast: Dan Sheeks on his book First to a Million

Are you or someone you know a young person obsessed with making intelligent financial decisions? Then you or the person that you know might be a SheeksFreak!

Dan Sheeks, a high school educator and author of First to a Million, has built a community of people who are committed to reach early financial independence and live their best life. And he calls the members of the community SheeksFreaks. Dan comes onto the NGPF Podcast to talk about his book, his decision to write it, and his side hustles outside of teaching.


  • 0:00~1:49 Introduction
  • 1:49~3:12 Dan’s daily life
  • 3:12~5:45 Transitioning to virtual school
  • 5:45~7:30 Deciding to write a book
  • 7:30~9:04 Who are the SheeksFreaks?
  • 9:04~11:37 Synopsis of First to a Million
  • 11:37~13:25 Topics students are interested in
  • 13:25~16:36 Index funds vs. individual stocks
  • 16:36~19:02 Favorite activities 
  • 19:02~20:49 Source of passion for financial education
  • 20:49~22:32 The financial independence equation
  • 22:32~24:14 FIRE movement during recessions
  • 24:14~27:59 Structure of the workbook
  • 27:59~31:26 The Why-FI
  • 31:26~34:31 Topics young people need to know about
  • 34:31~36:00 Engaging the parents 
  • 36:00~37:08 Decluttering and selling items
  • 37:08~39:58 Recommended resources 
  • 39:58~44:45 Benefits of financial independence
  • 44:45~45:26 Conclusion



  • “I will never tell a teenager what they should do with their money -- I just educate them on different options and then based on you and your personal goals, which option do you think fits best for you."

About the Authors

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.

Ren Makino

Ren started interning at NGPF in 2014, and worked part-time through high school and college. With his knowledge growing alongside NGPF, he joined the team to work full-time after graduating from college in 2020. He is also the producer of the NGPF podcast. During his free time, he likes to try out coffees from different roasters across the world.

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