Hey there, I’m Jake — an engineer, personal finance nerd, and flannel shirt enthusiast. I’ve been self-educating about personal finance for over a decade now, and have been involved in the FIRE (Financial Independence/Retire Early) movement since 2012.
I was inspired to start Frugal Flannel in 2019 after reaching a milestone of $100k USD net worth at age 25. Despite graduating college with a negative net worth thanks mostly to $30k in student loan debt, I was still able to reach a $100k net worth in just under 4 years. I built wealth without making a crazy salary — I actually didn’t even make six figures until I had passed a net worth of $250k in 2021. I wasn’t gifted money, didn’t get an inheritance, and didn’t cash in big on the cryptocurrency boom to get here. All the money I’ve saved has been from my own paychecks and an effort to live below my means in order to reach my goal of retiring by age 40.
Financial independence is the concept of no longer needing a traditional job to provide for your living expenses. Most commonly, people consider themselves as generating enough passive income to be financially independent once they have amassed 25x their annual expenses in their investment portfolio. Income from other sources such as real estate and hobby businesses, while not passive, arguably also contribute towards this status.
Once reaching financial independence, one has the option to retire early such that they can reclaim the 40+ hours per week they spent at their job, and instead spend it doing quite literally whatever they desire. It’s worth noting that many who love their jobs and don’t intend to retire early still pursue financial independence for the security and flexibility that it brings. At its core, the FIRE movement is about achieving complete freedom over how you spend your time — the freedom to pursue hobbies, the freedom to get that lower-paying yet fulfilling dream job, the freedom to spend more time with family and friends, or even the freedom to do nothing.
My intent with this blog is to freely share quality information that others can use to begin or improve their journey towards financial independence. It’s also going to serve as a sort of “living diary” of my personal journey, because my intent is to be as financially transparent as practical. To that end I intend to regularly share data on my net worth, income, and expenses which I feel is absolutely essential for a content creator in this space to prove that they “walk the walk.”
I want to make it clear that the principles of financial independence are valid for everyone, regardless of your income. In the past few years I think a lot of content created around FIRE has shifted from the root principles, towards incredibly high earners with incomes that many of us can never hope to achieve. Obviously everyone wants to earn more money, but that’s a long-term goal and for many of us is limited by our chosen career paths.
The original basis of this movement was that expenses, not income, is the most important variable in achieving financial independence. In my opinion this helped foster an incredibly inclusive spirit where everyone felt like they deserved and were in control of creating a better financial situation for themselves. It also tied FIRE at the hip with a philosophy of frugality and anti-consumption — which creates a positive feedback loop helping you to lower your expenses even further. I’d hate to see us get away from those roots.
Essentially, I’ve decided to create the type of content that I want to see. I hope that the information I share on this blog helps you to create the life that you deserve!