I have some things on my mind, as most mothers do: how can we ensure that we will always be able to provide for our children, and when they are grown, ourselves?  As I have mentioned before, both my husband and I work full-time.   We don’t roll around in extra dough in our spare time, we are not obsessed with material objects and don’t have any expensive habits (read: we both work because we have to).  That said, we are blessed to have good, rewarding careers in healthcare.  We are compensated fairly, receive very good benefits and are treated respectfully.  Can it get any better?

As my 40th birthday looms over the horizon, the ticking clock gets louder and louder.    I’m hoping that my husband and I can retire at age 60, this way we are completely free to roam the universe, explore new hobbies and spend plenty of quality time with our grandchildren.    Since, as muslims, we are forbidden to receive (or pay) interest, wealth building for retirement seems pretty impossible.   Most of my female colleagues who are either single or nearing retirement age are constantly discussing their financial portfolios, and basically their future wealth is based on interest.  This just is not an option for us.  We could just leave it all in God’s hands  or we can start  searching for a halal solution now, and do something about it.  I choose the latter.

First and foremost I am a mother of two really stellar kids.    I yearn to work part-time or not at all, but this happening is just as likely as a pig in my frying pan.    The challenge when leasing a residence is saving a mammoth down payment for the controversial sharia complaint mortgage while still living and meeting all the basic needs of a family with children.  How could I not work?  We would be leasing for-ev-er.  So I work.  We work.  Very hard.  Once we get the house, we need to pay it off, so I will continue to work.  Very Hard.  Then inshaAllah our kids will go to college on our dime (I believe that education is one of the best investments).  By the time said house is paid in full, I may have 10 years left in the workforce.  Even if we lived only on my husbands salary and I saved every penny of my salary for that 10 year period, it would not be enough to sustain a retired couple of two, healthcare, property taxes and other expenditures of daily living including spoiling our grandchildren!

Where does that leave us?  In a spare room at my son or daughter’s house?  I don’t want to do this to them.  When they are adults, I want them to be financially stable, and have thriving personal lives.  I do not think that would be possible with my husband and I taking up residence under the same roof.  Perhaps my views are a result of my culture; but I find it very difficult  to believe that a healthy and loving marriage can stay happy  with parents living in the house!  I love my mother with my heart and soul and  as long as I am on this planet I will always be here for her, and she will never be alone.  Would I take her in if she needed us?  Of course, but I would much rather have a two family house so she could have her own apartment with all the necessities. 

My question is, how do muslims do it?  There any many single income muslim families here that own their properties, and I cannot figure out how they manage the financial burden of it all. 

I recently contacted the investment company that manages retirement funds for my employer.  They have socially responsible funds, i.e. stocks and investments that are not fueled by tobacco or alcohol; this isn’t enough.  I explained my religious observances and they claim I am not alone, and have other muslim clients who invest in the stock market without collecting interest.   I hear the word “stock market” and a hundred red flags go up in my mind.  I have no desire to risk loosing what I work so hard for.  Wouldn’t that be akin to gambling?

If it isn’t too personal, if any muslims are reading this, what is your strategy?  Can you recommend any resources where we could gain sound, halal compliant advice?    I am really curious.