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Monday, May 23, 2022

AAG Finds Calling in Serving Senior Citizens

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Reza Jahangiri has no hesitation when it comes to suggesting where his 2,000 employees at American Advisors Group (AAG) should volunteer their time—to help senior citizens.

“We’re a mission-driven business,” Jahangiri told the Business Journal. “Our purpose is to help seniors have a better retirement. A lot of seniors [are] having bad outcomes. We put seniors before the pursuit of making money.” This year, AAG has been working with the Meals on Wheels nonprofit and partnered with United Way on its United to End Homelessness campaign, focusing on providing long-term supportive housing to homeless seniors and veterans through the Welcome Home OC initiative.

AAG says its core values are “Caring, Driven and Ethical.” Its executives encourage employees to make a difference in the lives of its customers and communities.

The company provides support of time, money, and resources to many local, national and global organizations.

“We provide paid time off for philanthropy,” Jahangiri said.

Immigrant Family

Jahangiri was about three months old when his parents had to escape Iran in 1978.

“Being born to immigrant parents who had to flee a country and start all over, you really value freedom and democracy,” he said.

A University of California-Irvine graduate with a Bachelor of Science in economics, Jahangiri initially knew little about the reverse mortgage sector. After researching it, he learned how it can help senior citizens tap into the equity in their homes to better enjoy their final years.

In 2004, he started American Advisors to “help address the financial crisis of a growing 65-and-older population,” using what Jahangiri said was an underutilized asset in the form of home equity.

The reverse mortgage industry has seen its fair share of critics due to high fees. However, Jahangiri pointed out that while the industry was tarnished in prior years by some bad apples, nowadays it is more heavily regulated and has a strict code of ethics.

His company grew by featuring actors such as Tom Selleck and the late Fred Thompson in TV advertisements. In 2019, the Business Journal honored him with an Excellence in Entrepreneurship award.

The company will generate about $700 million in revenue this year, according to Jahangiri.

“Having a purpose-driven company is more fulfilling for everybody involved,” Jahangiri said. “I myself focus on community, senior issues, human trafficking. It’s important for our employees to have an outlet to give back.”

Community Support

AAG also provides significant support to OC-based Willow International, a nonprofit organization dedicated to eradicating human trafficking from Uganda.

“I experienced the atrocity of trafficking in Uganda in 2011,” he said. “We want to revive the lives of people sold off from their families. I’m personally committed.”

Locally, AAG supports Octane, the area’s top technology and medtech business accelerator, in its efforts to grow OC’s innovation ecosystem. Within the Octane Foundation for Innovation, AAG is a founding member of the “Next Wave Leaders” initiative, which is distinguishing OC by inspiring a purpose-driven, intentional leadership culture built on a platform of diversity, equity, and social consciousness.

AAG also participates in the CEO Leadership Alliance Orange County, an organization dedicated to building a “thriving Orange County for all.”

In the arts, AAG supports the Pacific Symphony and the UCI Claire Trevor School of the Arts.

For its employees, the company in 2015 established the AAG Foundation to encourage its workforce to make a difference.

“I care about our community and if my kids will be thriving here 30-40 years from now,” Jahangiri said. 

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