Early FI and what it takes to get there is not for everybody… and that’s fine!
It has been a year since Dan Sheeks started SheeksFreaks, an online community dedicated to helping young people live their best lives by making smart money decisions.
In this episode, he returns to the podcast to talk about early FIRE and how even teenagers can become millionaires—in just a few years! He also gives a preview of his upcoming book (and workbook!), shares his FI equation, and offers advice to listeners who are just getting into FI and real estate.
Listen to the Podcast here
Become A Sheeksfreak And Achieve Early FI With Dan Sheeks
Welcome to the show. I’m here with my cohost, Zeona McIntyre. What’s up, Zee Money?
I feel pumped. This episode is so fun. I feel inspired and fired up about it. Craig, what’s new in your life?
I’ve got a guy in my house, and he is putting together a table for me. I greatly appreciate him and TaskRabbit for doing those wonderful things. That is the last thing that I need to furnish my Airbnb. We are almost there.
I want to audit this BNB. You send me that link and all that stuff. I can give you some tips.
Once it’s up, I will 100% send it to you. Fun things are growing with the FI team, the show and all around. What’s up with you?
I had the best meeting with my lender. I want to say to people that your real estate team is so important. Get that agent that you feel is on your side and can give you lots of advice like Craig or I, and get that lender that is going to dial it in for you. I feel so inspired about what I can do at the end of 2021 and then my next three properties I want to buy this 2022. I’m feeling fired up about what is to come.
Speaking on being fired up, Dan Sheeks is back, and he is talking to us all about early fire and how a teenager can become a millionaire in a few years before they can drink. We put Dan on and let him tell us all about it.
Dan Sheeks, welcome back to the show. You are our first repeat guest. How does it make you feel, Dan?
It makes me feel extra special, which I don’t know if that’s justified, but I’ll take it. That is a win for me.
You are extra special. You hold a special place in our hearts. The reason is that you are doing some amazing things for the young community. Something that everyone has talked about and says there should be school reform and should learn this stuff in school and all that. You were not the first person that I knew who was taking action to do it. That’s why we brought you back on. In 2020, you were starting it out, and that’s about what I think we had you on here. Now, you’re crushing it. Dan, tell us a little bit about what you are doing and what inspired you to help young kids.
Thanks for having me back. I appreciate being here. To help young kids, that’s my jam. I have been a high school teacher for many years, which is crazy. Working with teenagers and young people is something I have always been passionate about. I have built my career on that. When I say young people, for me, that’s 15 to 25. That’s my niche, Gen Z.
When I got introduced to the early FI movements in real estate investing and everything that goes under those umbrellas, it was a natural instinct to say, “How can I take this knowledge I’m learning and how can I help young people learn about this?” I was already teaching Personal Finance in high school. This is one of the classes I teach. The basics were there, but as we all know, FI is a higher-level concept. It’s not as widely known and accepted, but it’s a proven concept. I’ve started changing my mission a little bit to reach young people with those messages.
I am curious about this Personal Finance class. How does that differ from FI? What are the strategies? Are you teaching them to balance a checkbook or are you getting into some of the meaty and nerdy things?
The Personal Finance class that I teach is an elective class. Unfortunately, I wish it was required for every kid to take that. That’s a whole another episode about why it’s not. We talk about basics, financial planning, setting financial goals, credit cards, credit scores, and tracking your expenses. We don’t get into checkbooks too much because I don’t know that people write checks anymore.
Are you balancing a checkbook?
I remember that there was a life class. It sounds like a Home Economy at this point. They had taught us about that and how to rent an apartment. There was weird stuff. I’m thinking high school.
I spend five minutes and give them a sheet of paper with a blank check on it. We fill it out together and that’s about the extent of it. They think it is cool because they were like, “This is this ancient dinosaur that I see my parents do once a year.” It just teaches the basics. We go into loans, credits, a little bit of insurance, and stuff like that.
When you discovered this financial independence, it sounds like after you started teaching that Personal Finance class. How did you tweak the curriculum? What differences did you put in that?
I started bringing the early FI concepts and strategies into my Marketing classes. I would take one day every couple of weeks and start talking about that because those students are also very business-focused and motivated young people. In the Personal Finance class, we get through all the curriculum we need to get through and we spent that last month talking about early FI strategies, FI equation, passive income, and stuff like that. I need to give a shout-out. I have to do this. Craig has been awesome and comes into my classroom on a regular basis to talk to my students about all of his experiences and lessons. Thank you, Craig. Scott Trench has come in as well. Both of you are awesome, and I very much appreciate it.
Dan was my invite. You need to show up for the ladies.
Zeona, you’re next. I will call you and you can come in because we need some females.
How do you go from your classroom to choosing your freaks? When you run this cool mastermind, do you sometimes cherry-pick some people you know or is this a word of mouth thing? How does that evolve?
The SheeksFreaks Mastermind is for those young people who are super motivated and all-in on this early FI pathway. If I’m teaching a personal finance class and there are 30 kids in there, I would say maybe only 2, 3, or 4 of them would be that student. It’s a small percentage. 15% to 20% of young people are motivated to come into the SheeksFreaks Mastermind because, in there, I bring together young people from across the country who are 15 to 25. They are all super motivated about these strategies. They come together and light each other on fire. It’s fun to watch.
I love the community you are creating. I have met a couple of those kids and it’s incredible. If you are young and in that 15 to 25 range, I highly recommend checking out the SheeksFreaks. You’re walking on a tight rope and meddling business with a public school. How do you walk that line? How do you tell a kid to join your mastermind? You are getting paid to these kids, not monetizing off them.
Not so long ago, the SheeksFreaks Mastermind was completely free for everybody, no matter what. We upgraded to a brand new platform, which is ten times better than where we were. There is still a free membership in the SheeksFreaks group. I now call it the SheeksFreaks community rather than a mastermind. There always will be a free membership level. There is also a paid membership level with some more features added in.
When I talked to my students about the financial independence routes, I mentioned that I have a community that they can join. This 2021, 5 or 6 of them have joined all in the free community. That’s fine. I don’t want to push anything to them that is going to put money in my pockets. I mentioned it, and there’s no pressure at all.
I would love to talk about your book. You’re working with BiggerPockets. You are putting out a book and it’s so exciting to have it here. I have not started it yet, but every time I see it, it makes me super happy. Why the book and what are you hoping to accomplish through this book?
The book idea came when Craig and Scott were in my room together. One of them asked the question to the class. They say, “When we come back, what do you want us to talk about?” One of the kids answers. The kid said, “I get it, I like it, and I want to do it. I want someone to tell me what to do, when to do it, and how to do it.” That evolved for me into, “I should create a checklist for my students who want to pursue this pathway.” That checklist drew into a workbook.
When I started writing the workbook, I quickly realized I couldn’t give them the workbook until they knew the basics of the FI pathway and why that option is so different and amazing. The book became the first piece. The book First To A Million is specifically for teenagers but also for anybody who’s new to the FI pathway. I don’t care if you are 20, 30 or 40. The book would be super useful and lays the foundation. The workbook does that. It tells them what to do, when to do it, and how to do it.
Anyone can read it. Are you meant to read the book and use the workbook on the side? How do they go hand-in-hand?Student loan debt is the number one killer of dreams of any teenager. Click To Tweet
The teenager reads the book. If they like what they’re reading, they will be like, “I need to do this. This is the path I want to take.” Early financial independence and what it takes to get there is not for everybody. That’s fine but if the reader says, “I want to do this, do some of it, and do all of it anywhere in between.” The workbook becomes their guide for the next five years. The workbook is broken into four-month increments over a five-year period. It gives them a task list to complete every four months. We call them Freak Phases. Every freak phase does these ten things, the next freak phase does these twelve things, and so on.
Let’s dive into the book and spill some of the guts. Give us a little sneak peek. What are some of the things in the book people can expect? I see here the FI Foundation and Keys to FI. You mentioned the FI Equation. That was one of the first things that you taught your class. What is the FI Equation?
Everyone has a slightly different take on that, but it all boils down to the same thing. My FI Equation is passive income plus sustainable asset withdrawal, which would be the 4% rule, and index loan investing is greater than your living expenses. That’s passive income and sustainable asset withdrawal greater than living expenses.
When you meet that equation, you don’t have to work anymore, potentially for the rest of your life, unless you want your lifestyle to increase, which most people do. They get married to have kids. It’s not like you stop working forever. I tell my kids, “If you can reach FI, you’re not going to play video games for the rest of your life and sit around watching Netflix. You’re probably going to still be creative and make a contribution. You’re going to get to do it on your terms how you want and when you want.”
This segue into a question I had written down. Why does someone want to work towards this early financial independence? The thing I didn’t realize and a lot of people end up running into in the FI community is after you reach FI, you have your head down, you’re in this tunnel, then what? If you do that even earlier, you have so much more life to figure out how to make yourself happy without excuses. It’s not always the best thing for people. I’m curious what you think are some of those FIs.
When someone reaches FI, it doesn’t mean you have to quit your job. I teach public school, and I’m doing it because I love my job. I won’t do it forever, but for now, it makes me happy. It’s very rewarding. You can continue to work whatever job you want. You can work 2 or 3 jobs after FI. It’s up to you and you have the option. That pathway is not for everybody. I get asked a lot because I work with young people, and we all say, “We wish we would have known all this stuff when we were young.”
People ask me, “How do you make a sixteen-year-old want to learn about money, finance, and early financial independence.” My answer is you can’t make them all do that, just like you can’t make all adults want to learn about money. Teenagers are special. You can’t make them want to learn about Science and Math. You can’t make them want to clean their room. Teenagers are going to do what they want to do.
I wanted to provide more information about the options available to them because, in the end, it’s their choice. Do they want to work until they’re 65? If so, go for it. There’s nothing wrong with that. That is a very proven method that works well for many people. If you want early financial independence, here’s what you can do to achieve it.
If someone reads your book or comes to your SheeksFreaks group, what is the first step for someone that, “They’re in and they want to learn about financial independence.” In my head, the first step is you need to figure out where you are and what’s your passive income and your expenses. Is there something that we’re missing or do you tell your kids something?
The first step is a read First To A Million. That’s where you should start. If you’re interested and piqued by a podcast, YouTube video, blog site and a friend telling you about it, grab the book and read it. It is meant for a teenager to say, “I’ve read the book. I know what it is. I know what this pathway is all about. I’m going to pursue it, or I’m not.” There’s no right answer. That would be step one. Read the book.
If they are interested in going down that route, step two would be to get the workbook and start working through the Freak Phases one by one. That’s why that checklist is there. I made it as easy as I could to guide them. The checklist is not like you have to do everything in this order at this time. It is flexible. If they do even 50% of what is in the workbook, they will be miles ahead of everyone else who’s living that traditional American Dream path.
Is this workbook coming out right at the same time or is this something that is going to be the next release?
The workbook and the book are both available right now on BiggerPockets.com. If you buy them together, you get a nice little discount.
Someone can pick up and read the book. Someone once said that when you read a book, you retain about 10% of the information in it. You got to read the book ten times to receive everything. Most people probably aren’t going to do that. If you have the book and you go through the workbook, let’s say you have 50%, does that take the first 50% or can they go on order? Is there an order to your book or do they pick and choose the things they like and that will get them individual things that will differ incrementally closer to financial independence?
I suggest reading the book cover-to-cover. Once you get into the workbook, as things start to come up for you as that teenager gets older, the workbook sends them back to the book and says, “You should probably reread chapter seven because that’s what this task is all about or you should research this a little bit more.” In the workbook, every Freak Phase has another book to read. There is a task or a reading list. Every Freak Phase needs to read another book every four months.
I bet Craig’s books are in there.
There is a book there called the House Hacking Strategy by some guy named Craig.
I hear that one is good.
There are two ways to do this financial independence thing. You can teach people about money, index funds and being smart in that way, or you can say, “Here’s this bonus step. You could do real estate too. That might be a faster path.” In this book, are you saying anything about real estate or are you keeping it to the money basics?
It’s both. Back to that FI Equation, as I define it as passive income plus sustainable asset withdrawal, I talk a lot about real estate. If they follow the workbook and those Freak Phases, they will be buying their first rental property by around age 20 to21 right in there. It gets them to that first real estate purchase very early. I call it REI before Mai Tai. They are buying real estate investing before they can even drink a Mai Tai.
I was joking with some of your kids that they could be retired before they can drink.
It is possible. I have kids who are 19 to 20, soon to be who owns real estate, who are house hacking, and they are not able to have a drink to celebrate.
The beauty of that is if you’re so young, you have almost no expenses. You could be financially independent by one house. It’s something that, as your expenses in life grow, you can add on another house if you need to.
It lays out that strategy that Craig did well, which is one house hacks a year for 3 or 4 years. I cheated the system when I picked my niche of young people because in working with teenagers and writing this book, I skipped all the chapters and every other finance book that talked about, “Here’s how to repair your credit and how to pay off all your consumer debt. You need to do that first.”
My audiences, the teenagers, are a clean slate. They haven’t made those mistakes yet, run their credit score into the ground, missed any payments on any bills, engaged in lifestyle inflation, and learned how to spend a lot of money. It’s so easy to train them to do things right from the get-go than a 30-year-old who has already made tons of mistakes.
They don’t have student loan debt.
That’s something that I want to get into and talk about college. Before we get there, I asked the question about index funds and real estate. Do you have a preference? Do you think real estate or index fund is a better route? It seems like you have done extensive research into both.
I do both index fund investing, real estate investing, and some other things. Those are my two main. My main investment strategies in the book, First To A Million, lay those two out. It makes it very clear to the young person. These are the two proven methods. You can go out and do some crypto, buy some gold, or stuff like that. That is not going to be bad but I would start here. A teenager legally isn’t able to invest until they are eighteen anyway, so they have some time to do some research and get some exposure. I steer them to that path of starting with real estate and index funds. As you learn more, you can branch out and test some other strategies.
Would it be safe to say that you funnel money into index funds? Once your index fund gets to be a certain dollar amount and enough for a downpayment, you can then take that and put it into real estate. The real estate starts getting a little bit more passive income and your index fund grows more. Is that what you suggest?
I explained both of those index fund investing and real estate strategies, and I let them come up with their investment. I call it the Investing Ratio. If they want to be 50% real estate and 50% index funds, great. If they want to be 75% and 25% either way, great. I let them choose and tell them, “It’s not set in stone. You can go back and change that.” Let’s say they’re 25% index funds and 75% real estate. What I tell them is to invest that 25% into index funds on a monthly basis. Get that brokerage account set up as soon as you can.It is all right for you to finish college a little longer than anyone else as long as you will graduate without student loan debts. Click To Tweet
The 75% of the money you’re saving, that’s going to go towards real estate investing. Put it into an online savings account bank and let it sit there because if it does go into an index fund and things don’t go well, you might not buy that real estate for an extra 6, 12 or 18 months, depending on the market. I would tell them to keep it safe. If you are buying a house hack anyway, we’re not talking about tens of thousands of dollars. We’re talking about a 3% or 5% down payment, which they can say that over 2 or 3 years if they’re doing things right.
This was interesting, but you are in this weird situation with someone so young where it’s not even advantageous to have them use retirement accounts. Do you advise them to use brokerage accounts in the same funds, or do they still do some tax advantage accounts like a Roth IRA because those are tax advantages, and they have got all these other hidden benefits?
There were two topics in this book that were tough. The toughest chapter to write was College or No College. That was by far the toughest. I laid out the pros and cons of that choice. There’s another chapter that says, “If you are going to go to college, here is the freakish way to do it.” The second toughest one was, “How do I tell young people about retirement accounts?” I landed on this. The book that I have is not for every teenager.
A very small percentage like 10% or 15% would even open the cover and fewer would finish the book. We are talking about an exceptional outlier group of teens who are full steam ahead, all in on entrepreneurship and investing early FI. For that specific set of students or teenagers, it is in their best interests to forego retirement accounts for the time being. My book and workbook take them through about age 20 and 21. Forego the 401(k), Roth IRA, and go all-in on index funds through a brokerage account and real estate.
If down the road you’re 24, 25, 26, or 30 and you decide that your strategies have changed, you can start those retirement accounts. The average person starts investing for retirement at age 30. Even if they started at 22, 24, or 25, they are still ahead of the average Joe. For most teenagers who are not going to pursue early FI, I would suggest a Roth IRA as soon as you can. For this elite group who is a hustler grinder and they are going all in, forego that for now and put it into index funds and real estate.
I max Roth. This is where my pushback would be. I would still say max out your Roth and your HSA because of the triple tax advantages of tax-free growth, but we’re all different. I love you still. I do a Roth and an HSA. I do the self-employment IRA because of taxes for us. Not everybody believes in that stuff, and I get it. I am so much more invested in real estate than I am in index funds, but it is a truly passive thing. I don’t want to completely ignore it.
I’m not anti-Roth IRA. For 80% of teenagers, that’s a great idea but for the ones who read my book, it probably isn’t out of the gate.
I lean more towards what Dan was saying where you can double down on yourself. You don’t have to lock that money up for a certain amount of time. There is a reason why the government and everyone push these 401(k)s and everything. You are not paying taxes, but you are giving them a loan for 40 plus years. To me, I would rather keep that and make a much higher return. That’s my two cents. Let’s talk about college. You got a lot going on. You had a baby. What do you suggest your little son does? Is he going to college?
He’s months old, so the changes that will happen in the next eighteen years, who knows?
Let’s say he’s eighteen now.
If I had a child now that’s finishing up high school, I would not make them go to college. There are some parents who say, “I don’t care what you are doing. You are going to college.” That is wrong because every student and teenager is different. Their goals and aspirations are different. Oftentimes, the vast majority of teenagers have no idea what they want to do. I’m a great example. I went to school, got a Business degree, graduated, traveled for a few years, and decided I wanted to be a teacher. That was a completely different profession than what I originally was forced into saying what I wanted to do.
Some young people know by the time they were eight years old, “I’m going to be a nurse. I’m going to be an engineer.” If you know that, go to college and pursue your dreams. If that teenager is not sure, they want to do something that doesn’t require the degree, or maybe two years of school and not four, allow them to do that. College is always there. It’s not like you have to go from 18 to 21.
I love having college as an option. People oftentimes are like, “It’s free. I got a full-ride scholarship.” You should go and do that. To this point in time, I spent more time in college than I had to invest in real estate. To see what you can do in 4 or 5 years investing in real estate starting at age eighteen is tremendous compared to the hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt and time potentially wasted going to college.
If you go in the entrepreneurial route, college may not be the best route. There is so much information out there like YouTube, podcasts, and webinars. You have got tons of information to go out and start your own thing. If your dreams, goals, and life mission is to become a doctor, lawyer, or engineer, you got to go to school for those things.
My silly-diddy with college was I went to fashion school. It’s called FIDM, Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising at LA. I am generally pretty fashionable, but I never worked in that career at all. I decided that I would leave there. I was a tour guide around the US and did all kinds of fun stuff. Eventually, I figured out that I wanted to do real estate stuff later in life.
Sometimes, it is great to have that leads up. If you are going to say instead of college right away or I still want to do it in four years, let me try my own school of hard knocks college and do that. Travel and try to do financial independence and do some real estate investing. That is a cool way to go too. The college will always be there if you want to do it later.
There is a compromise between what you said, like a four-year hiatus. The gap year is becoming more and more popular where a high school graduate would take one year off and no school. Maybe they would get a job or explore a career, but oftentimes, they are traveling and doing service work somewhere. They are trying to learn who they are. I’m a big fan of a gap. I write about that in the book as one of the options to take a year.
A year is not that long. You are not wasting that much time. I would not say you are wasting time at all. Craig, to your point, if you go to college and get a four-year degree and you never get a job with that degree, you wasted a lot of money and four years of your time, but a gap year can help eliminate some of that risk.
America is the only country where a gap year is weird. Every other country in the world that I have interacted with is people traveling on their gap year. There was something to it. What people have concerned with is they go on a gap year and become a waiter or waitress. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but it is not like you went to college for four years to have a career and not to become a waiter or waitress. Do you find that, in a year off, it makes people lazy or it does help people find each other?
There is enough pressure on them to take a gap year. A lot of members in my SheeksFreaks Community are doing a gap year. Most of them, if not all of them, are using it to say, “I’m going to take a year and go all-in on this real estate stuff. I’m going to be a bird dogger. I’m going to be a wholesaler. I’m going to get my agent license and see what I can do with that. I’m going to start house hacking.” They are going to try the real estate thing out for a year. After that, they would sit down and decide, “Am I doing well? Am I enjoying it? Do I see this going somewhere? Is this not what I want to do and maybe go to college?” Starting college a year later than normal has no disadvantage to that.
You mentioned in the book a freakish way to go to college. What is that?
It is whatever it takes to graduate from college with zero student loan debt. Maybe that’s a community college for a couple of years or going to college only part-time so you can work full-time. It might take you a little longer, but you don’t have the student loan debt, which has been crippling for some for decades. Maybe it is hustling as many scholarships and grants as you can and applying for ten times more scholarships than the average student.
It’s maybe living at home for the first couple of years so you don’t have the housing and food expense of living on campus. In the book, I talked about a lot of different tactics to help that students graduate without any student loan debt because that is the number one killer of FI dreams right there. It prolongs it.
One thing that I liked about college was I thought the academics and the teachers were mostly crap. However, one thing that I got a lot out of was the interaction in meeting different people, learning how to talk to someone you don’t know, and gaining that confidence. How would you recommend someone who did not go to college build that social muscle to talk to someone you don’t know and be open to different cultures and experiences? When you grow up in the same place, all you know is Denver, Colorado or Leicester, Massachusetts, or wherever you are from.
In the book, I laid out the pros and cons of both options. I don’t want anyone to think that in the book, I said, “Don’t go to college.” That is not what I say. There are a lot of advantages to going to school and to college. What you are mentioning is one of them like networking, learning how to work together in teams, navigate certain obstacles, and jump through hoops the right way sometimes. If you are not going to do that and the workbook in the different Freak Phases, one of their tasks is that every phase is to do some different types of networking things.
That can be set up a day to shadow somebody that does what you want to do. Maybe that is a real estate investor, real estate agent, or entrepreneur. Go to local meetups like checklist items. Get that done and interview somebody. Meet someone for coffee or lunch, take them out, have a list of interview questions, and ask them those questions. They are doing this once a month, if not once, every four months to build those skills. In the SheeksFreaks Community, they interact all the time. We have weekly Zoom calls, which you both have been guests on. Thank you, by the way. They had that camaraderie in the group as well.
The other thing I would like to plug in is travel in general. It is such a social lubricant with this idea of being in a foreign country and having to use their survival skills. You might be traveling by yourself or not speak the language, so when you find people, it naturally makes you a little more extroverted than you might have normally been. That does build this social connection that you do not need to be in school for. It can cost a lot less.
If you are working through the workbook, it does give them homework in four-month increments.
I want to map out that you have some case studies in here. How is the book laid out in each section? Are you giving some how-to’s and giving some examples of people’s stories that have done that? What does it all like?
There are six parts to the book. Each part has a few chapters. At the end of each part, there is a case study. The case studies build on each other. The first case study is one of the guys in my group. His name is Jabar. He was nineteen when he answered the questions in the case study. The last one is Craig. At that time, he was financially independent and had 3 or 4 house hacks when he filled out that case study.Every teenager is different. Their goals and aspirations are different. And oftentimes, the vast majority of teenagers have no idea what they want to do. Click To Tweet
It is another way to show the young person that, “This is doable. It is not some old guy writing about it in a book and there are people doing it.” If your readers buy the book on BiggerPockets websites, they will get bonus content. One of those pieces is several more featured free case studies. There are six in the book and there are another 10 or 15 in the bonus content. They can read about all these young people who are crushing it with early FI strategies, proving over and over that this is a repeatable process if you want it to be.
Dan, we are about to head into the final part of our show. Are there any other parting words of wisdom you would like to share amongst the readers?
Let’s do those questions.
What is something that you are reading now? You had plugged your book, but I want to know something else.
I am reading a book. It’s a short read called Tribe Of Millionaires. Craig probably knows the book. It is a compilation of different people’s stories about their pathway to becoming millionaires.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
Don’t be afraid to fail and fall on your face and have everyone laugh at you because whenever we start something that we have never done before, you are going to suck at it, and it is okay to suck. My first blog post and Instagram post were awful. The first day I was in my classroom as a teacher, I’m sure I was pretty awful, but you have to start somewhere. Don’t be afraid to fail.
I realize he has been on the show before and has already answered these questions. We should come up with something new, Craig.
He got new answers. It’s new.
I had no idea what I said last time. We will go with it.
Question number three. What is your why? I imagine that baby has something to do with it.
I started my own journey to FI and started writing the book and the workbook before my son, Callum, was even a thought in our mind. He was hope. Now, that is a big part of it. My biggest why is I have always wanted to help young people live their best life. That is why I became a teacher. I found that when I’m physically in my classroom at school, I can touch and mentor 30 kids at a time in my classroom, but online with my group. That number can be whatever it wants to be. There is a larger potential to help young people make better money decisions and live their best lives.
This was the one I made up, but it is a funny one. I’m curious because you have almost twenty years of teaching a room full of teenagers. I know teenagers can be funny. What is the funniest thing that a teenager has done in your classroom? It does not have to be appropriate. Those are usually the funnier things. Was there anything that happened that you can think of?
I could probably write another book on that. The one that pops in my head, I don’t know if it is that funny, but it was funny to me. Years ago, I had this thing called a Warmup that the kids do every morning. I put about five questions on a slide on the projector in the front of the class. They would get a little piece of paper and write out answers to these questions like a review from what we did the day before. We go over the questions, but it is one PowerPoint slide up there.
One day, there is a dance called Snowball at my school where they reverse it. The girls asked out the guys. After class, one day, this girl comes up. Her name was Danny. She was this cute little cheerleader, but she is probably 5’1. She was a short cheerleader. She said, “Sheeks, I want you to do me a favor. I want to ask out Trey to the Snowball Dance, but I want to do it in a fun way.”
They get into this competition for all the students in the school who has the most creative, crazy, and fun way to ask their date to a dance. It’s this thing. She said, “I want to do it in front of the whole class. This is what I want you to do. I want you to put slide two on your Warmup tomorrow. The only question on that slide is, ‘Trey, will you go to a Snowball Dance with me?’” I was like, “I’ll do that.”
The next day comes. I put it on there, and we finished the Warmup. I said, “We have one more question.” I throw up slide two, and it says, “Trey, will you go to homecoming with me?” Trey is a varsity basketball player on the team. They were both seniors at that time. He is probably 6’8. He’s a massive big dude and she’s 5’1. I would never picture these people together. They had some flirtatious thing. He said yes. He turned beet red. The whole class laughed at him. What sticks out in my mind is something that the vision of them standing next to each other is a three-foot difference almost.
Did you put her name on the slide?
She didn’t want me to.
Did he think that you were asking him?
It is so much of a thing to do it in such an imaginative way that he knew right away like, “Someone put Sheeks up to this.” He had to guess who it was that was asking him. She was pretty embarrassed herself, even though it was her idea. It was funny. We had a blast and it was a fun day.
Dan, where can people find out more about you? Tell them where they can get the book.
If anybody wants to shoot me an email, it’s Dan@SheeksFreaks.com. The book and the workbook are available on BiggerPockets. If you buy them together, you get a discount. If you buy them on BiggerPockets, you get the bonus content, which is the extra featured free case studies. There are some financial spreadsheets that are for teenagers.
If they go to SheeksFreaks.com, there is a link right there in front of them where they can join the community. There is a free version that has tons of value. There is also the paid version. For anyone reading, if they put in the coupon code FITEAM, they will get a nice discount on the paid membership to the community if they want to do that. This is a great stocking stuffer or holiday gift for any of your guests. If you know a bunch of teenagers, this is the perfect gift. Get them the book and change their life.
It is the first thing and I’m like, “I’m going to give this to everyone for Christmas.” I love having a good book for a Christmas gift.
Dan, it was a pleasure to have you on the show again. Congratulations on the book. I can’t wait to see what spurts of it when it is officially launched out there to the world.
As of December 6, 2021, they are on the website, ready to go.
Congratulations again, Dan. Thanks for coming to the show. I’m sure we will talk soon.
Thanks for having me, and keep doing what you guys are doing. This show is amazing. You are crushing it and I love what you do.
That was Dan Sheeks, Zee Money. What do you think of Dan?
I love that episode. I like our format, but it was so fun to be so inspired. You and I were climbing over each other for the next question. It was so good. I feel amped.
What he is doing is what 99.99% of the country wanted to do, but no one did, and Dan is doing it. He is seriously changing the lives of teenagers across the nation and teaching them about financial independence. In that way, these kids can be pursuing their dreams in their early twenties. What happens when people pursue their dreams in the earliest twenties is they start building businesses, giving back, and doing good things. This is the route that’s going to cause a lot of good in this world. I’m excited about it.
That is why I asked that question about why someone would want to do this so early. It is almost that utopian idea of what it would be like if this world were people inspired and doing exactly what they were meant to do and meant to create. We could be so much further along. I’m feeling excited that it could be the next generation.
These Gen Zs have it made. I feel so old talking about the generation under me now, but we still love you, Gen Zs.
Go out and get his book. It is now out. Get the workbook, too, and make it a Christmas gift. You could be changing lives.
It doesn’t have to be for you. If you know a teenager or somebody who has a teenager, maybe it is a nephew, niece, friend, friend’s kid, or something. This $15 book will change someone’s life. I would pay $15 to change someone’s life. We got to get back out there, changing lives of our own. Zee, I will see you next time.
If you love the show, please leave us a comment, like us, and share it with your friends because that is how we help people change the world. We are all doing it together as a community, and we need your help. Thank you.
- Dan Sheeks
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About Dan Sheeks
Dan Sheeks is the newest BiggerPockets Publishing author, with his forthcoming book, First to a Million: A Teenager’s Guide to Achieving Early Financial Freedom. The book introduces teenagers to the strategies, concepts, and the mindset needed to achieve early financial freedom.
Dan is a high school Business/Marketing teacher, real estate investor, and personal finance advocate in Denver, Colorado. He and his wife have a variety of real estate investments including multifamily, single-family, Airbnb, and out-of-state BRRRRs (buy, rehab, rent, refinance, repeat).
Dan launched SheeksFreaks in late 2019, which is an online community dedicated to helping young people learn money management skills, start investing in real estate, and pursue early financial independence. The SheeksFreaks community aims to help those between 15- and 25-years old use specific methods of saving, earning extra income, and investing to set them on a track to purchase real estate investment properties in their early 20s and achieve financial independence at a young age.
Working with teenagers, personal finance advocacy, real estate investing, and the FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) movement are Dan’s four passions. He volunteers in the MoneyWi$er initiative out of the Colorado Attorney General’s Office with a few other hand-picked experts from around the state. The program strives to advance Financial Literacy in Colorado secondary education.
In his 15+ years of teaching high school, he has taught a variety of business subjects including financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and marketing. Embedded in his classes is the co-curricular DECA club, in which students travel, compete, acquire leadership skills, do community service, and have fun! His students have competed at the national level with much success over the years.
During this time, Dan has also taken his high school students into local middle and elementary schools where his students have taught the importance of personal finance to younger children.
Dan aims to help teens use specific methods of saving, earning extra income, and frugality to set them on a track to purchase real estate investment properties in their early 20s and achieve financial independence at a young age.