Author Topic: FI/RE for Muslims? (Zakat / Zakah)  (Read 8967 times)

Triplicate

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FI/RE for Muslims? (Zakat / Zakah)
« on: April 01, 2016, 06:12:25 AM »
New Mustacher here -- the scales have finally fallen from my consumerist eyes -- and I love how this community is so active and great at sharing! I hope to contribute soon to the discussion.

I want to keep this a thread about planning for early retirement, I'm just using the subject line for others who might be googling with this same question.

So -- one of the five obligations on Muslims is the payment of Zakat, or charity, calculated as roughly 2.5% of total assets. An asset being defined as anything you can get your hands on and liquidate, if it's not already in cold hard cash. For instance, a 401K minus any penalty minus any tax. For stocks, the assets minus capital gains tax. Minus anything you owe to others. You can see it gets a little complicated but can be calculated.

Zakah is an obligation, but turns out it's a real badassity, especially given financial independence -- due to the incredible amount of assets stached away, by the time I pass away I will have the potential to contribute amazing wads of cash to folks who have less than me. Not only that, but I could leave an endowment in my wake. So I'm definitely looking forward to paying it over the coming years.

But I'm left in a bit of a quandary as to planning. If I share 2.5% each year, that leaves 1.5% for living expenses assuming a 4% Safe Withdraw Rate. I'd like for my SWR to be closer to 6.5% but I realize the dividends and appreciation of stocks might not support this luxurious SWR. So 25x is definitely a little too low for me and others contributing to charity at this rate. Looks like I'll need to set my SWR at a lower value and raise my asset stache. (Of course, charity will decrease my tax burden, so there's that to throw into the equation but lets assume little or no income tax).

Is it a matter of setting my "number" higher, like 35-40x (given 25x for 4%, 6.5% is a 1.625 increase from 25, so 41)? What do you think or advise?

Thanks in advance! Looking forward to this new life.

pbkmaine

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Re: FI/RE for Muslims? (Zakat / Zakah)
« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2016, 06:29:02 AM »
I would be allocating to charity 2.5% of the money I withdrew each year, not 2.5% of the whole amount.

Paul der Krake

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Re: FI/RE for Muslims? (Zakat / Zakah)
« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2016, 06:32:12 AM »
What do other wealthy Muslims do? What about those who hold their entire wealth in their primary residence?

2.5% of assets every year is a very high burden indeed.

Lucky Girl

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Re: FI/RE for Muslims? (Zakat / Zakah)
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2016, 06:33:30 AM »
I am going to say I'm not sure I fully understand, but appreciate what you are looking for.  Some Christians have a rule of a 10% tithe which seems similar, but sounds like there are significant differences.  For the tithe, you typically give 10% of your income in each year.  You seem to be saying the 2.5% Zakat is calculated on all assets, and given every year?  That is a significant portion of your wealth. 

That is wonderful for charitable works, and I appreciate your attitude which is so positive about it!  It seems like if you want to keep your standard of living constant, you will need to increase your stache to account for the additional withdrawal.  The tricky part is that the more you save, the higher the 2.5% becomes!  I am not sure how to calculate it and don't have time to try to figure it out right now, but I think you are correct to assume you will need much more than 25x your living expenses.

ooeei

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Re: FI/RE for Muslims? (Zakat / Zakah)
« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2016, 06:53:23 AM »
If you assume the 4% rule works, and that you're paying a 2.5% zakat fee every year, you're able to spend 1.5% of your stash every year.  That means you will need 67x your living expenses to hit FI, because your living expenses are 1.5% of your stash.  This is a bit less than triple what you'd need without the zakat.  100/1.5 = 66.667

So based on this, someone who spends all of their money and has no assets doesn't even need to pay to charity, correct?  Seems like a very strange incentive, basically discouraging people from saving their money.  In this scenario you're giving almost twice as much to charity as you're using for yourself.  While admirable in many ways, that's going to significantly increase the amount of time it takes you to reach FI, and as I said earlier is an incentive to spend money on yourself in the present rather than save it.  In today's low interest rate environment putting money in a savings account with zakat actually loses you 1.5%/year. 

How does this work with something like social security?  I guess it's considered income, even though it's basically an annuity you paid into.  What would happen if you bought an annuity with your stash, is the bulk amount still subject to zakat?  Is old age bankruptcy a significant problem in muslim societies? 

I guess maybe inflation would play a role here.  If inflation is 8% or something crazy high (and savings accounts and bonds pay accordingly), zakat is not a very big deal.  If inflation is 1.5%, zakat hits you hard.

I googled zakat and saw that you only pay above a certain threshold, called nisab.  Any idea what amount nisab is?

Le Dérisoire

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Re: FI/RE for Muslims? (Zakat / Zakah)
« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2016, 06:55:58 AM »
I think you should try some different scenarios in http://www.firecalc.com/. Try adding the equivalent of 2.5% of your assets to your annual spending. Note that firecalc increases your spending with inflation over the years, but if my understanding is correct, Zakat should diminish over the years as your assets are spent. You will probably want to mess with the firecalc options (see the tabs on top).

Do you have to pay Zakat on real estate assets, since they are not really liquid? If not, you could consider buying some real estate instead of stocks and bonds. Don’t know if that would be cheating!

ooeei

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Re: FI/RE for Muslims? (Zakat / Zakah)
« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2016, 07:02:47 AM »
Based on this: http://www.islamic-relief.org.uk/about-us/what-we-do/zakat/zakat-faqs/

Quote
Here’s what should be included in your Assets:
Cash in the bank and at home
Cash saved for any special purposes e.g. wedding, hajj, car purchase, etc.
The value of Gold and Silver you own
The value of Shares at their market price
Money owed to you, which is highly likely to be repaid.
If you own a business, the balance sheet value of the Stock you possess.
If you own properties, any rental income that’s been saved.

You do not have to count the value of your home or land as part of your assets. Also, you don’t have to include person items, such as a car, clothing, home appliances, etc. as part of your assets.

If you own investment properties [Buy To Let], then any saved rental income will be a part of your assets. The equity value of your investment property portfolio is not included as part of your assets in the Zakat calculation.

If any investment property is due to be sold around your Zakat due date, then the anticipated profit is to be included as part of your assets.

It seems like owning rental properties would be the best way to go for achieving FI quickest.  The equity in rental properties is not included, the only thing taxed is what you save of the rental income for the year (your living expenses reduce your "zakatable" income) and the profit you get when you sell.  Buying your own home rather than renting is another thing that works out better for you, as the equity doesn't count toward your zakat.

Yet if you own a business, the value of the business counts toward your zakat value.  Strange rules indeed.

I'm not sure that minimizing your zakat liability is what you're aiming for, but investing in real estate seems to be the best way to do it according to that site.  Something to keep in mind.  It encourages real estate ownership, and discourages business ownership.

Butterfingers

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Re: FI/RE for Muslims? (Zakat / Zakah)
« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2016, 07:14:05 AM »
I'm not a Muslim, but as I understand it zakat has multiple functions. While it benefits your fellow humans, it's also a moral purification for the giver. Like the Islamic prohibition on usury, it's designed to prevent people becoming too acquisitive and unbalancing society.

There are disagreements over the extent to which zakat is due on shares. See, for example, this fatwa, which states that the revenue from shares is liable to zakat, but the shares themselves are not, provided that the intended use of the shares is "utilising their income". If you accept the authority of that argument, then you would contribute 2.5% of the revenue you draw down to live off, which should be easily manageable. Let's call this Scenario A.

If you reject the authority of that fatwa and wish to pay zakat on your total assets, then yes, you will need a higher stash. Take a SWR of 4%, divided into 2.5% zakat and 1.5% for your living expenses. This is Scenario B.

As an illustration, if you want $30,000 a year to live off (assuming 4% SWR):
Scenario A: ($30,000 income + $750 zakat) x 25 = $768,750 stash
Scenario B: $2,000,000 stash gives you $80,000 a year, with $50,000 zakat and $30,000 to live off

OK, the above examples are greatly simplified, but you get the picture.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: FI/RE for Muslims? (Zakat / Zakah)
« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2016, 07:41:29 AM »
It would seem that this would also affect your time to FI because it would cause your assets to grow more slowly as well, depending on your interpretation.

I'm curious if contributions need to be in money. Like, if you own rental property that you give full-time use of to refugees, does the expected income from renting it at market rate count towards your obligation? If it were a decent rental property using the 1% rule, that would be a 12% annual contribution from that asset, and conceivably with very good picking you could still grow your assets through appreciation.

NoStacheOhio

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Re: FI/RE for Muslims? (Zakat / Zakah)
« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2016, 08:04:19 AM »
I'm not a Muslim, but as I understand it zakat has multiple functions. While it benefits your fellow humans, it's also a moral purification for the giver. Like the Islamic prohibition on usury, it's designed to prevent people becoming too acquisitive and unbalancing society.

There are disagreements over the extent to which zakat is due on shares. See, for example, this fatwa, which states that the revenue from shares is liable to zakat, but the shares themselves are not, provided that the intended use of the shares is "utilising their income". If you accept the authority of that argument, then you would contribute 2.5% of the revenue you draw down to live off, which should be easily manageable. Let's call this Scenario A.

If you reject the authority of that fatwa and wish to pay zakat on your total assets, then yes, you will need a higher stash. Take a SWR of 4%, divided into 2.5% zakat and 1.5% for your living expenses. This is Scenario B.

As an illustration, if you want $30,000 a year to live off (assuming 4% SWR):
Scenario A: ($30,000 income + $750 zakat) x 25 = $768,750 stash
Scenario B: $2,000,000 stash gives you $80,000 a year, with $50,000 zakat and $30,000 to live off

OK, the above examples are greatly simplified, but you get the picture.

To my mind, these two things seem to be conflicting. The fatwa makes a lot of sense there. I think there's also an estate planning aspect to consider. Holding the shares during your lifetime to provide income to live on (and give to charity), while planning to give a larger portion upon your passing would seem to fulfill the spirit of the concept, while preventing bankruptcy.

Ynari

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Re: FI/RE for Muslims? (Zakat / Zakah)
« Reply #10 on: April 01, 2016, 08:52:37 AM »
Lots of different perspectives in this thread, and it's interesting how many ways you can define something.  I think, taking the assumption of paying 2.5% of net worth, I would choose non-fixed % withdrawal rate, and have plans for reducing expenditures/making more income in lean years. This ups the average withdrawal but opens you up to more variability.

That is, instead of taking the inflation-adjusted 4% of the starting amount, I would take out a certain % of the actual value each year.

I just ran a sim on http://www.cfiresim.com with "Spending Plan" as "% of portfolio", with 5% non-fixed as the regular amount, 4% (inflation adjusted) of starting amount as the floor, and 6.5% of the starting amount as the ceiling, and got 94.83% success rate.

This has some negative sides, but the success rate is close to that of the 4% rule, and the average withdrawal is around 50k-51k for a $1mil portfolio, as opposed to 40k. You would have to plan for a 2.5% expenditure rate, that may occasionally drop down to 1.5% or go up to 4%, instead of planning for a straight 1.5% rate.

Not everyone likes variable withdrawals, but if it's something you can handle emotionally and realistically, it might be worth some consideration for the higher return. It also means you have to still plan for that 1.5% rate ('bare bones' budget), even if it'll probably only affect you for a few years if it ever does.

Triplicate

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Re: FI/RE for Muslims? (Zakat / Zakah)
« Reply #11 on: April 01, 2016, 11:01:03 PM »
Great discussions!

@ooeei helped me understand that my "number" (ratio of total investments to annual expenses) is 1/SWR where the SWR does not include the 2.5% for Zakat. Okay, that makes sense now and the universe is back in balance. Whew. 67x is indeed a high number, but to be honest, I think anyone who can achieve FI is not the type who will be sucking 100% off the dividends, I think they'll still be earning money, just earning it from things they WANT to spend their time on (which is a precious asset). [edit: meaning, I don't need 67x, unless I want to be superduper conservative.]

@freezenow has an answer I like -- the variable SWR. Again, supplementing dividends with income as an FIer shouldn't be difficult.

@Butterfingers, I'm sure you're right, and there are several more benefits to giving. As for fatwas, it's important to get a valid statistical sample of the many that are out there and then base a personal decision on knowledge and the heart with pureness of intention. <3

@Lucky Girl: Thanks <3 I've been trying to calculate this out and it hurts my head (and I'm an engineer with DiffEq Fu). I'm planning to talk with a financial wiz at work about this, to try and get an economic model for it. I'll definitely share if I'm successful.

Back to @ooeei: About owning rental properties, I spoke with a good friend I trust has comprehensive knowledge about this subject. Not sure how exactly this might relate, but he said there's the situation of a family who's cash poor but land rich. So how do they pay Zakat? If the land is something they live on and/or make income from, no problem, it's not "Zakatable." But if it's land they intend to sell someday in the future, then their Zakat is paid when they sell the property but they have to pay Zakat from each year they held the land. Say it increase in value from 100 to 500 over five years, they owe Zakat for each of those five years. It can be complicated: do you use a linear rate of increase or something else? So, for the rental property, it very well could be that if the intention is to live on it someday, say as a retirement home, then the person may not owe Zakat on it but if it's purely for rental income then it's an asset and probably Zakatable. A person could go this route to "back load" the Zakat, if that's what they want to do. I'm not 100% confident on all this yet. One more example: if the intention is to live on it but you never do and eventually, with a sad heart, you have to sell it to pay for a medical treatment. Probably you owe Zakat only on whatever is left over after paying your medical bills, not an amount for each year it was held. Staching your assets into that property was not your primary intention.

@Le Dérisoire: That's a good point. If a person has to eat their principle (investment) into old age then yes, the Zakat amount will decrease each year. I'm hoping I can live on the dividends and my investment grows and continues to grow after I'm gone (or it helps my family with education or medical expenses). But real estate as a shelter apparently doesn't help, from what I've been told so far. Hmmm, new question: after I'm gone and I've left this endowment, do I still have to pay Zakat each year? hahaha.

I can appreciate that paying 2.5% on total assets each year can seem a burden. There are so many ways to look at it and I think that's one of the points of it being an obligation, no avoiding it. What does it bring up in each person as they calculate and pay this money? What is their motivation or intent? What are the benefits or intangibles? It's fascinating (to me) to think about and to be frank, and I'm not trying to show off any badassity or anything, but I'm looking forward to having this burden because it means I can afford it and hopefully it'll help.

Thanks so much for all the excellent input!!

[edit/addendum] @ooeei: Sorry, I missed your questions. Good questions BTW. Social Security is interesting, I know is kind of like a 401K, but since you can't get your hands on it all (try asking the gubmint fer all yer contributions), it's not Zakatable as an asset. If you stache away your SSI payments away each year, then yes, that part is. As for an incentive to spend everything you have and not hold any money, that's perfectly valid. That means you are putting your money into circulation, which is fine. Maybe not wise, but acceptable. The objective is to dissuade people from hoarding their money and not making it available to others to help them (investing in a business or paying someone for the labors, for examples). Whatever floats a person's boat, just don't hoard it and take it out of circulation, give a little back and let it work. Oh, and Nisab isn't applicable here, since we're assuming FI. It's not an amount that's deducted from the assets, just a threshold above which Zakat is obligatory.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2016, 11:20:38 PM by Triplicate »

tobitonic

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Re: FI/RE for Muslims? (Zakat / Zakah)
« Reply #12 on: April 02, 2016, 07:00:35 AM »
I think I'd go with 2.5% of spending, FIRE or not; that allows you to keep that minimum threshold throughout your life.

Triplicate

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Re: FI/RE for Muslims? (Zakat / Zakah)
« Reply #13 on: April 02, 2016, 12:21:54 PM »
Donating to charity based on any formula is good in my view. There's no wiggle room in my case but it's all cool. [edited to remove anything I can think of that's offensive]
« Last Edit: April 03, 2016, 11:49:29 AM by Triplicate »

Paul der Krake

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Re: FI/RE for Muslims? (Zakat / Zakah)
« Reply #14 on: April 02, 2016, 12:43:24 PM »
Donating a little to charity from income is better than not donating at all. But for Muslims there's really no option, it's 2.5% of assets that can be liquidated minus money owed (such as debt and taxes), roughly speaking.
If you want, you and I can enter a contract in which I draw your portrait in MS Paint, for which you will pay me the total amount of your net worth, plus a $50 deposit payable immediately. There will be a clause in which you can delay payment for a month every month, and another clause that makes the debt void upon death.

Triplicate

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Re: FI/RE for Muslims? (Zakat / Zakah)
« Reply #15 on: April 03, 2016, 11:42:54 AM »
@Paul, I'd have to see some samples of your work first. Might be worth it. PM me.

lostamonkey

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Re: FI/RE for Muslims? (Zakat / Zakah)
« Reply #16 on: April 03, 2016, 12:30:43 PM »
Could you just use all your money to buy non-liquifiable annuities. These would not be "zakatable."

mountains_o_mustaches

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Re: FI/RE for Muslims? (Zakat / Zakah)
« Reply #17 on: April 03, 2016, 02:15:35 PM »
This is a really interesting topic. It might be helpful to talk w/ a religious leader or post on a muslim forum as well about your conundrum because they will give advice from another perspective than what you will get here.  One of my thoughts is that you will be giving 2.5% of your assets, just spread out over time rather than in one lump sum, if you do 2.5% of withdrawal/spending.  By keeping your $$ invested, it actually makes more money so you have more to give over your lifetime.  Just a thought.  I'm not a religious scholar, so I don't know if that logic makes any difference.  I'll be interested to hear how you resolve this!

marty998

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Re: FI/RE for Muslims? (Zakat / Zakah)
« Reply #18 on: April 03, 2016, 03:24:27 PM »
Could you just use all your money to buy non-liquifiable annuities. These would not be "zakatable."

The OP doesn't mind paying it... so is not looking to avoid it all together...

lostamonkey

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Re: FI/RE for Muslims? (Zakat / Zakah)
« Reply #19 on: April 03, 2016, 08:21:08 PM »
Could you just use all your money to buy non-liquifiable annuities. These would not be "zakatable."

The OP doesn't mind paying it... so is not looking to avoid it all together...

I don't mind paying taxes, they provide useful government services, but I still try to optimize and minimize my tax liability whenever possible.

Triplicate

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Re: FI/RE for Muslims? (Zakat / Zakah)
« Reply #20 on: April 04, 2016, 10:58:31 AM »
Indeed, it's very interesting poring over the religious views on this topic. Apparently, it depends on how your money is invested, whether that's real estate, stocks, or mutual funds. If real estate, whether it's your home, your farm or rental property. And I'm likely wrong about what I said about rental property -- I read somewhere that it's 2.5% of the income and not 2.5% of the value of the property. For dealing with mutual funds, like the Amana fund where I plan to sock the money away, this page has good info: http://www.hidaya.org/publications/zakat-information/mutual-funds

I just want to keep things simple, not manage rental property, invest in the Amana fund, and hold only personal property. I don't mind paying but it's nice to know I can minimize it if needed. My conservative "number" is 67x, thanks to @ooeei -- a whooping figure, but supplemental income like a sweet teaching gig or marketing a line of wind powered turtle neck sweaters will hopefully allow me to withdraw at a minimum rate.

Many thanks!!

nobody123

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Re: FI/RE for Muslims? (Zakat / Zakah)
« Reply #21 on: April 04, 2016, 11:26:56 AM »
I don't know the religious aspect of it, but could you put all of your assets into a living trust when you FIRE and use that to throttle your "available" assets & income to a manageable level?  Since the trust technically "owns" the assets, you would only have to pay the 2.5% on what it distributes to you.

As an aside, is it common for folks of your faith to actively manage their assets to minimize the amount of the giving or alter the timing of when the money is due?  Will family / friends look poorly upon you for doing so?  I would guess that a long-lived custom that has to be adjusted to the realities of modern times would allow for some wiggle-room, as long as the spirit of the obligation is maintained.  Just curious.

Scandium

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Re: FI/RE for Muslims? (Zakat / Zakah)
« Reply #22 on: April 05, 2016, 08:06:06 AM »
If you assume the 4% rule works, and that you're paying a 2.5% zakat fee every year, you're able to spend 1.5% of your stash every year.  That means you will need 67x your living expenses to hit FI, because your living expenses are 1.5% of your stash.  This is a bit less than triple what you'd need without the zakat.  100/1.5 = 66.667

So OP will need to get 67x yearly spending, and will have an extra  ER of 2.5%, on top of fund fees, every year while accumulating it? Ouch! That will take some time and discipline to achieve.

Butterfingers

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Re: FI/RE for Muslims? (Zakat / Zakah)
« Reply #23 on: April 05, 2016, 08:31:17 AM »
My conservative "number" is 67x, thanks to @ooeei -- a whooping figure, but supplemental income like a sweet teaching gig or marketing a line of wind powered turtle neck sweaters will hopefully allow me to withdraw at a minimum rate.
I want in on the sweaters. Let me know if you need an early investor.

67x would put FIRE out of range for most people, unless you're talking about Jacob-from-ERE levels of spending coupled with a hefty income.

On the other hand, there's this:

Quote
What are the important principles in identifying assets subject to Zakat?
 
Gold, silver, cash, and other items specified below are subject to Zakat. Any other asset will only become subject to Zakat if it was acquired or purchased with the clear intention to resell. For example: A person buys a house which is normally exempt from Zakat, with the intention of reselling the house at a profit, then the market value of the property, calculated as at the end of the relevant Zakat year, will be subject to Zakat.

On the other hand, if the immovable property was purchased as an investment (to hold as capital) and not to resell, then the value of the asset is exempt from Zakat. A subsequent change of intention in the case where the owner, who had originally purchased the immovable property for investment (to hold as capital), now decides or intends to sell it for profit will not alter the character of the asset for Zakat purposes and the asset remains exempt from Zakat.

I've highlighted the sentence I think is important. I think this means if you're holding Amana funds and intending to limit your withdrawals to the growth in value (whether dividends or rising stock prices), leaving the capital untouched, then the capital would not be zakatable.

seattlecyclone

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Re: FI/RE for Muslims? (Zakat / Zakah)
« Reply #24 on: April 05, 2016, 09:15:04 AM »
Interesting topic. To be honest this is the first time I've heard of the concept of Zakah. It seems like a very noble principle. Good for you trying your best to follow it.

From the previous posts there seems to be some ambiguity about what assets are subject to this obligation, and if there are ways to do certain things (purchasing annuities, signing away your net worth to a non-Muslim, etc.) to get around the obligation. I'll assume for the sake of this post that none of that applies, that you will have to pay the 2.5% on the full value of everything, after taxes.

The "after taxes" bit makes a big difference here due to the progressive nature of the US tax code.

Suppose that when you retire you have $1 million in a 401(k) and no other assets. If I'm understanding correctly you would pay 2.5% of the value left over after withdrawing the entire sum and paying the taxes. If you liquidate a $1 million 401(k) all in one year, and you're not 59½ yet, you'll pay a lot of tax on it! For federal tax alone it will be roughly 35% in regular taxes and 10% early withdrawal penalty, leaving you with something like $550k left over. 2.5% of this number would be $13,750. This would be just 1.375% of your pre-tax net worth, not 2.5%.

Other asset types are taxed differently. With a Roth account you'll pay less tax if you withdraw the entire sum, so you may benefit a bit less from the Roth pipeline than some of us would. This changes all sorts of early retirement math in subtle ways.

Triplicate

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Re: FI/RE for Muslims? (Zakat / Zakah)
« Reply #25 on: April 09, 2016, 12:51:15 AM »
More good food for thought, thanks.

Intention is definitely a key aspect -- if the intention is purely to minimize Zakat then that may not be the noblest of intentions. If the intention is to not touch the principle so that you leave a perpetual trust to help people, then that is a noble intention. But there is still the suspect ulterior motive of minimizing Zakat payments. Is it a benefit of the intention or a gaming of the system? You can take the conservative approach (pay Zakat on the total assets) since there's very little doubt about it or be liberal and pay Zakat on whatever cash you can get your hands on, minus taxes on the gains, and leave out the "trust" principle and takes your chances. It can turn into a head twisting philosophical conundrum for sure.

Fortunately, I'm in a position at 54 years old to do this, it's within reach and I can retire 5+ years earlier than my father retired. I call that a win. I just wish the Internets had been around when I was in my 20s to school me in this crazy method. Would have added years to my life. XD

Regarding the 67x, I feel that's a very conservative number and it's likely someone could retire on 30-40x if they know they'll be making an income in retirement, doing what they want to do, and living modestly (like a good mustachian). Even at an SWR of 5-6% (counting 2.5% Zakah) you're still beating or keeping up with stocks at 6-7% (stocks are the only thing Muslims can invest in, no bonds or interest-bearing accounts). The Amana Fund (social equity, Islamically legal investments) has performed well with safe returns.

Good luck to everyone here! Looking forward to joining into the other conversations as time permits!

libertarian4321

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Re: FI/RE for Muslims? (Zakat / Zakah)
« Reply #26 on: April 21, 2016, 10:31:11 AM »
Quote
But there is still the suspect ulterior motive of minimizing Zakat payments. Is it a benefit of the intention or a gaming of the system?

Why not just give up the arbitrary rules and need to game the ridiculous system altogether?

Why not dump the "Muslim" thing and become a man (or woman) of reason rather than of faith?

That way, you can use your own intellect to decide when and how to spend your charitable dollars, rather than following the petty rules set forth in some primitive book, or in this case pronounced by some body of religious "leaders," since various groups of Muslims argue/quibble/fight about the requirements of "Zakat," just as all religions and sub sects of religions fight about every ridiculous little thing.

Note:  This is not an "anti-Muslim" comment, I feel the same way about many versions of Christianity and the other 76,497 religions claiming to be the "one true religion."

The freedom to be able to think for yourself and act as you see fit is a wonderful thing.  It frees the mind and soul, much like financial independence.  Why constrain yourself with religious nonsense?

Give what your intellect tells you to give, to whom you choose to give it, when you choose to give it.  Do it of your own free will, not to satisfy some set of foolish rules set up by some religion.  Let your ability to reason be your guide. 

You don't need religion (any of them) to think for you.

I give a lot of money now, I gave a lot less when I was younger (and had far less money).  I didn't let myself be ruled by rules cast down by some ruling committee (and that's what religion essentially comes down to- all of them), I did what I thought was best, because I'm far better able to make that call than any government or religion can.

I know this opinion won't be popular, but what the Hell, I thought I'd toss it out there.  At least I won't be burned at the stake for suggesting it, as would have happened not all that long ago (or will still happen today in many countries still dominated by religious nonsense).

Le Dérisoire

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Re: FI/RE for Muslims? (Zakat / Zakah)
« Reply #27 on: April 21, 2016, 11:09:05 AM »

The freedom to be able to think for yourself and act as you see fit is a wonderful thing.  It frees the mind and soul, much like financial independence.  Why constrain yourself with religious nonsense?

Being free also means that you can choose to follow a sets of rules.

If I want to bake a cake, I am free to invent a recipe and improvise. I am also free to choose a recipe on the internet and follow it. Because I have very little knowledge in bakery, I prefer following a recipe by the book, so I can be sure that I will successfully bake a good cake.

A religion is simply a recipe for morality or ethics. You might think that humans are born with an infallible sense of morality and that there is no need for a recipe, but many would disagree. If I want to be successful at living a moral life, my freedom allows me to either follow my own innate moral compass (if such a thing exists), or follow a religion (or a philosophy, or the moral education I recieved from others) that prescribes how to do that. Both choices are the expression of my freedom.

GuitarStv

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Re: FI/RE for Muslims? (Zakat / Zakah)
« Reply #28 on: April 21, 2016, 11:18:15 AM »
Do the rules of this charitable giving require that it's money that is donated?  What if in place you just donated your time and effort at similar rates to what you're being paid now?

bridget

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Re: FI/RE for Muslims? (Zakat / Zakah)
« Reply #29 on: April 21, 2016, 05:25:25 PM »
Quote
But there is still the suspect ulterior motive of minimizing Zakat payments. Is it a benefit of the intention or a gaming of the system?

Why not just give up the arbitrary rules and need to game the ridiculous system altogether?

Why not dump the "Muslim" thing and become a man (or woman) of reason rather than of faith?

That way, you can use your own intellect to decide when and how to spend your charitable dollars, rather than following the petty rules set forth in some primitive book, or in this case pronounced by some body of religious "leaders," since various groups of Muslims argue/quibble/fight about the requirements of "Zakat," just as all religions and sub sects of religions fight about every ridiculous little thing.

Note:  This is not an "anti-Muslim" comment, I feel the same way about many versions of Christianity and the other 76,497 religions claiming to be the "one true religion."

The freedom to be able to think for yourself and act as you see fit is a wonderful thing.  It frees the mind and soul, much like financial independence.  Why constrain yourself with religious nonsense?

Give what your intellect tells you to give, to whom you choose to give it, when you choose to give it.  Do it of your own free will, not to satisfy some set of foolish rules set up by some religion.  Let your ability to reason be your guide. 

You don't need religion (any of them) to think for you.

I give a lot of money now, I gave a lot less when I was younger (and had far less money).  I didn't let myself be ruled by rules cast down by some ruling committee (and that's what religion essentially comes down to- all of them), I did what I thought was best, because I'm far better able to make that call than any government or religion can.

I know this opinion won't be popular, but what the Hell, I thought I'd toss it out there.  At least I won't be burned at the stake for suggesting it, as would have happened not all that long ago (or will still happen today in many countries still dominated by religious nonsense).

It should be pretty obvious that the short answer to your first question is probably because the OP doesn't want to be non-religious. It's not that he/she hasn't ever heard that's an option, but for what are probably very complicated, personal, and weighty reasons, the OP wants to follow this religion. For you to suggest that the OP just go ahead and quit it for the sake of convenience is, to put it mildly, Not Cool.

FWIW, I am someone who chose to leave the relatively strict religion in which I was raised (and to which I tithed 10% of my gross income). It was a difficult, personal, and complicated decision that has had far reaching impacts on almost every facet of my life and relationships. It's incredibly disrespectful to just toss off someone's religious identity as inconvenient nonsense.

lostamonkey

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Re: FI/RE for Muslims? (Zakat / Zakah)
« Reply #30 on: April 21, 2016, 06:14:41 PM »
Libertarian: I completely agree with you but I didn't want to say anything because IMO it's rude to make fun of someone's faith not matter how stupid it is. Your one point that I disagree with is that all religions are equally bad.

Le Dérisoire

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Re: FI/RE for Muslims? (Zakat / Zakah)
« Reply #31 on: April 22, 2016, 07:13:32 AM »
Libertarian: I completely agree with you but I didn't want to say anything because IMO it's rude to make fun of someone's faith not matter how stupid it is. Your one point that I disagree with is that all religions are equally bad.

Well… 25 posts before it turned into a "My religion/absence of religion is better than yours" thread. Not too bad.

I wonder how much posts are left before someone is compared to Hitler.