Mar 04, 2022

NGPF Podcast: Educator Dan Sheeks uses the the concept of financial independence to hook his high school students

Dan is a high school teacher in Colorado, a real estate investor, an author of First to a Million: A Teenager's Guide to Achieving Early Financial Independence and a staunch advocate for financial education (and I'm probably leaving something out). Today on the podcast, Dan will discuss the key concepts from his book, highlight what resonates most with his students, delve into real estate investing (e.g., house hacking) and answer several teacher questions. Enjoy! 


  • 0:00~1:06 Introduction
  • 1:06~2:14 Dan’s background
  • 2:14~5:01 What is the FIRE movement and who are the FI freaks?
  • 5:01~6:04 Motivation to write the book
  • 6:04~7:12 Student knowledge on retirement 
  • 7:12~9:55 Hooking student interest in the book
  • 9:55~12:52 FI freaks that appear in the book
  • 12:52~17:26 Concept of having “enough”
  • 17:26~19:09 Creating passive income
  • 19:09~21:29 Investing in Cryptocurrency and NFTs 
  • 21:29~26:35 What is house hacking?
  • 26:35~27:22 A word from NGPF 
  • 27:22~30:08 Buying houses to rent out
  • 30:08~36:13 Who the book is meant for
  • 36:13~40:31 Saving and the 4% rule
  • 40:31~42:31 Health insurance and retiring early
  • 42:31~43:17 Favorite personal finance activities
  • 43:17~44:19 Conclusion



  • "If you pay yourself first [and save] 20, 30, 40% of your income, and you make that a habit now: you cannot not reach early financial independence, it is a mathematical certainty."


Want to bring podcasts to your students? Check out Podcasts in the Classroom which curates a series of short podcast excerpts on a given topic. 

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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