NGPF Podcast: Tim Talks To Mike Sheffer, Director of Education at FoolProof

Mar 22, 2019

One of the leading online personal finance curriculum, FoolProof currently reaches hundreds of thousands of middle and high school students across the United States. As Director of Education since the early days, Mike shares with us why he is so passionate about financial education, FoolProof's origin story (spoiler alert: a leading news anchor played a big role), and its evolution over the years. He also describes he philosophy that underpins the curriculum and how it educates students to be skeptical consumers so they can avoid common financial pitfalls. Enjoy!


  • 0:00~1:00 Introduction
  • 1:00~4:08 Mike’s role at FoolProof
  • 4:08~7:09 Early money lessons
  • 7:09~9:00 Coaching high school basketball
  • 9:00~14:03 Walter Cronkite and FoolProof
  • 14:03~21:53 A glimpse into the modules
  • 21:53~24:54 How FoolProof fits into your class
  • 24:54~25:27 A word from NGPF
  • 25:27~28:10 Teacher workshops and newsletters
  • 28:10~32:33 Implementing teacher feedback
  • 32:33~34:06 Translating the curriculum to Spanish
  • 34:06~40:08 The future for FoolProof
  • 40:08~43:14 How FoolProof grew into what it is today
  • 43:14~49:38 Movement towards personal finance as a requirement
  • 49:38~51:10 Conclusion



  • “FoolProof started with my school in Corning, New York, one module, one class, and one credit union and now over a thousand teachers are using it in over 6,500 schools. FoolProof in high school is really important for me because that’s where it all started so we are always looking to improve.”

  • “I want a 20-week class minimum, I want a graduation requirement, I want a regents exam on it. Let’s make it mandatory but here’s the deal: we have to make it mandatory but we have to put some weight behind it. We will have better off communities, societies, nations, and a world with people having a better understanding of how it all works and how they relate to it.”

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 has been working part-time at NGPF since 2014, interning through high school and college. With his knowledge growing alongside NGPF, after graduating from college in 2020, he joined the team to work full time with a focus on teacher onboarding. He is also the editor of the NGPF podcast and makes sure it is accessible to teachers on iTunes, Stitcher, and Google Play Music. During his free time, he likes to try out coffees from different roasters across the world and try out new brewing methods, even though personal finance gurus tend to caution against buying a cup of joe.