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Why I became a financial advisor

Why I became a financial advisor

Ehab Alalfey, Azzad Investment Advisor I have been around the wealth management industry for as long as I can remember. I recall helping my father, an immigrant to this country, with his work as a junior advisor at a practice in Maryland when he was just getting started. I would help him when I was a young teenager, going to the office on the weekends to file documents, mail out birthday cards, or whatever else was needed. English was not his first language. His colleagues would often poke fun, underestimating him and assuming that he wouldn’t do well. When times were tough for his employer, there was even a bet in the office that my father would be the first employee fired. He ended up being the best performer two years in a row and was a standout at the firm. His skill and expertise ultimately led him to start his own practice. I did not appreciate it at the time, but his work ethic stood out and has stuck with me to this day. After graduating high school, I started working for my father’s firm while going to college. In between classes and studying, I was able to pass

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Why I became a financial advisor

by Fatima Iqbal, CFP® I’ve always been a planner. My earliest memory of creating a plan was coming home from school in the 2nd grade after a fire escape drill. My family had moved into a new house and I sketched out an escape plan on a sheet of paper, carefully assessing possible emergency scenarios and drawing out primary and back up routes. Some of my escape routes were undoubtedly ambitious (could my little legs really jump out the window?), but having the map taped on the back of the bedroom door meant we were prepared no matter the danger.   In college, I studied Applied Economics and Management and then completed a Masters in Finance. While many of my peers vied for prestigious jobs at top Wall Street firms, I was cautious of careers that would likely entangle me in riba and financial practices that didn’t meet my values. At that time, the finance world was starting to take note of social entrepreneurship and the idea that doing good could also align with a profitable bottom line. Socially responsible investing and divestment campaigns were changing the perception of what money could accomplish. My desire to align finance, my values, and the opportunity to do good came to

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Azzad clients get more than investments

We’ve been talking at the office recently about how to explain to our clients the full range of what we at Azzad can do for them. I’ve found that sometimes it’s easier to do this with a quick story, so I’d like to share with you a few snapshots of the types of clients we’ve helped over the years. Mustafa and Rose, both physicians, were working long hours, barely keeping up with their expenses, paying a lot in taxes, feeling that they’d outgrown their CPA, and regretting that they couldn’t give as much in charity as they wished. When they became Azzad clients, we worked with them to create a long-term financial plan and helped them reduce their taxes with planned charitable giving, which also allowed them to donate more. Faizan had a financial advisor at Merrill Lynch who told him they could keep his investments halal. At his request, we screened his Merrill portfolio for Shariah compliance; not only did his investments include income from alcohol and conventional banks (interest), but his advisor there was investing him in products that didn’t align with his risk tolerance and time horizon. After learning this, he chose to transfer his money to

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What to look for in a financial advisor

With all the different financial planners, advisors, and services available today, finding and choosing a trusted professional who can help you meet your financial goals can be confusing. If you’re looking for broad-based financial advice, consider hiring a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, or CFP®, which is considered the highest standard in the industry. CFPs must act as fiduciaries, putting their client’s best interest above their own. They are legally obligated to make investment decisions that are your best interest, not their own. To get the CFP credential, one must have a college degree and be educated in a wide range of personal finance subjects, pass a rigorous certification exam, have three years of professional experience, meet continuing education requirements and abide by a code of ethics. CFPs are taught to look at the big picture view of your finances, talking you through your goals, as well as advising you on the details of your financial life. CFPs sometimes work with a financial firm called a Registered Investment Adviser (RIA), which is the case here at Azzad. Azzad is a Registered Investment Advisor with a CFP on staff. To learn more about Azzad or any other RIA, head over to investor.gov where

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Financial planning in a nutshell

You may have noticed that Azzad is regularly named to top rankings of financial advisors, lists like the CNBC FA 100 and the Financial Advisor Magazine RIA Ranking. They are an important recognition of our work on behalf of clients. More important than that, however, is the peace of mind and confidence our clients experience when they work with us. As a wealth management firm, we pride ourselves on taking the time to understand the unique needs of each client and crafting responsible, appropriate financial solutions. The way we do that is through the financial planning process. We’ve gotten some questions about it, so here’s a walk-through of our five-step program: Your 5-Step Financial Plan Just starting out? Use this checklist to help you review cash flow, tax, and other issues. 1) Identify goals: We start with listening and learning what is important to you and identifying and prioritizing your financial goals. At what age would you like to retire? Do you want to buy a home? 2) Collect financial data: We gather and organize your financial information such as assets, income, and expenses. Figuring out your net worth (assets minus liabilities) get incorporated into your plan. 3) Put it all together: We

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Financial Advisor Magazine names Azzad in 2019 RIA Survey and Ranking

FALLS CHURCH, Virginia (July 18, 2019) – Azzad Asset Management has been named in Financial Advisor magazine’s 2019 RIA Ranking. The report is an annual survey that ranks registered investment advisors (RIAs) based on percentage growth in assets from the previous calendar year and is the premier industry ranking of independent RIA growth. FA’s RIA Ranking is an independent listing produced by Financial Advisor magazine. Firms must be registered investment advisors and provide financial planning and/or related services to individual clients. All firms must be either independently owned or a freestanding subsidiary of another business and have at least $100 million in assets under management as of December 31, 2018. Neither the RIA firms nor their employees pay a fee to Financial Advisor to be included in the listing. Data is provided by each firm, mostly from numbers and information published on forms they submit to the SEC. Each advisor is then ranked alongside their participating peers. The full listing is available for viewing at: https://www.fa-mag.com/news/ria-survey—ranking-2019-45701.html Financial Advisor Magazine Top Registered Investment Advisor – 2019 Survey Methodology  To be eligible for the ranking, firms must be independent registered investment advisors and file their own ADV statement with the SEC and provide financial planning

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Fatima Iqbal: Reflecting on 10 years with Azzad

Ten years ago, Fatima Iqbal joined Azzad as a financial advisor and the company’s first CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™. She joined while the Global Financial Crisis was unfolding, just a few weeks before Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy and a couple of months before President Bush signed into law the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, which included the $700 billion asset purchase program to bail out financial institutions. Markets bottomed out on March 6, 2009, but immediately began to bounce back, beginning the historically long bull market that we’re enjoying today. In 2010, the economy started adding jobs on a consistent basis. In fact, the U.S. hasn’t had a single month of job losses since October 2010 — the longest stretch of job gains on record, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. As we look back on the last 10 years, we asked Fatima to share her reflections on how Azzad responded to the financial crisis and how the company developed new products to meet the needs of American Muslim investors. I joined Azzad at the end of July 2008.  At that time, the markets were volatile and investors were on edge. Some may think it was the worst time

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