Investroo: Invest Without Compromising Your Values

If you’d like to invest in the stock market but feel overwhelmed by the task of sifting through myriad stocks to find one that’s ethically- or Islamically-acceptable, fear not. A new tool is on its way — Investroo.

What is it? Investroo is not another online brokerage like TD Ameritrade or E*Trade. Rather, it’s a mobile application that provides investors with an interface through which to browse ethically-sound stocks on U.S.-based exchanges.

Investroo does the legwork of screening out companies in certain industries (i.e. alcohol, casinos, weapons) and based on financial data (i.e. highly-leveraged firms). The launch version of the app will only display compliant stocks, although a future version will allow users to subscribe to a non-compliant stock and be alerted if/when that stock becomes compliant.

The app will categorize stocks by sector and by social theme, making it easy to find a stock you’d like to invest in. And because it’s app-based, you can invest anytime, anyplace. Trades are expected to be just 99 cents each.

What’s more, the app will enable investors to purchase fractional shares. So if you want to buy stock in, say, a tech company whose stock price is over $100 per share, no worries. Investroo will allow you to purchase a fraction of a share for as little as $5.

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If you’re not quite ready to throw cold, hard cash into the stock market, the app will even feature a simulated trading environment in which you can practice and build a virtual portfolio. Look for Investroo to launch this fall. Sign up for updates at investroo.com.

To learn more about investing in the stock market, check out my e-book The Stock Market Made Simple on Amazon.

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What’s Health Got To Do With Wealth?

It’s a fair question. To me, it boils down to two things:

  1. Staying healthy can help one be more productive in his/her work, with the energy to keep going and the mental sharpness to come up with ideas/solutions.
  2. Having good health allows one to enjoy his/her wealth and all of life’s activities.

If you happen to spend a lot of time sitting in front of a computer for work, whether at home or at an office, below are some tips you can apply right away.

  • Stand up at least once an hour. Stretch your arms and legs, and take a deep breath.
  • Move your eyes away from the computer screen every now and then. Look at something at a further distance than your monitor to let your eye muscles work.
  • Set up your computer/desk/chair ergonomically. Maintain good posture by sitting up straight, keeping your feet flat, and looking straight ahead at the monitor instead of tilting your neck up or down.
  • Try to eat a healthy lunch to avoid the afternoon slump. Keep healthy snacks as well, such as nuts and berries.
  • Drink water instead of sugary drinks. Limit your caffeine intake; green tea will provide a less harsh dose of caffeine than coffee.
  • Take a walk after lunch, preferably outside if weather permits, as you get fresh air and sunlight for Vitamin D production.
  • Use the stairs instead of the elevator for a good leg workout.
  • Park further away to increase your walk to/from the office.
  • If you need to speak with a coworker, walk over to his/her desk instead of e-mailing/calling.
  • While not necessarily related to physical health, avoid negativity and gossip. Positive energy.
  • Maintain good hygiene to avoid the cold/flu. Wash your hands and occasionally clean clean desk.

Give it a shot. Hopefully these tips will help increase your productivity, energy, and quality of life.

Muslim Investor – eBook Series Launched

I’m excited to announce that I just launched a series of bite-sized eBooks. Currently there are three books available:

  • The Stock Market Made Simple: This is the perfect primer for anyone who wants to learn the basics of the stock market and how to get started, not to mention how to analyze stocks and identify halal investments.
  • Let’s Make Some Money: This has ideas for making money on the side and launching a business, such as Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA).
  • Planning for Retirement: This is a guide to retirement planning. It has info on 401(k)s, IRAs, Traditional vs. Roth, etc.

The best part is that each one is only 99 cents and available for immediate download in Kindle format. If you don’t have a Kindle, no problem. Amazon has a free Kindle reading app for many devices.

Check out the series on Amazon.

Charity Does Not Decrease Wealth

In Islam, we believe the charity does not decrease one’s wealth. We also believe that it’s our duty to help our fellow human beings out of the blessings God has bestowed on us. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) stated:

“Charity does not in any way decrease the wealth and the servant who forgives, Allah adds to his respect; and the one who shows humility, Allah elevates him in the estimation (of the people).” (Sahih Muslim)

Hence, I’m proud to announce that half of all royalties from the sale of my book will be donated in charity, insha’Allah.

Conventional Bonds vs. Islamic Bonds (Sukuk)

Conventional bonds include corporate bonds sold by corporations and Treasury bonds sold by the government. These are considered debt investments.

Basically, the investor is making a loan to a corporation or the government. The investor will receive a principal payment after the bond matures, or expires, but will also receive regular interest payments during the life of the bond. Because of these interest payments, or coupon payments, conventional bonds are not considered halal, or permissible, investments according to Islam.

There is another option for Muslims, though, called sukuk. Sukuk are sometimes called Islamic bonds. Sukuk are typically sold by foreign governments or companies. As with conventional bonds, these governments and companies sell sukuk to raise capital, promising to pay back the principal amount, but they also pay out small distributions during the life of the sukuk. These aren’t fixed or guaranteed amounts, so technically it’s not an interest payment.

Sukuk are completely asset-backed, and those assets are being used to generate the income that allows for the distribution payments. Additionally, there is shared risk between the entity selling the sukuk and the investor.

Sukuk are considered a capital preservation investment. Sukuk provide a great way to diversify one’s portfolio so you have money invested in something other than the stock market. They won’t have high returns, but are relatively safe and definitely a better option than letting your money sit in the bank and lose value because of inflation. If you are setting aside money for a down payment on something or a college education, sukuk might be the right choice for you.

To learn more about sukuk and how to invest in them, check out my book, Open the Door to a Wealthier Life, available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle format. Thanks for reading.