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Basics

Annotated diagram of Schedule DTax errors can be costly! Don't draw unwanted attention from the IRS. Our Tax Center explains and illustrates the tax rules for sales of company stock, W-2s, withholding, estimated taxes, AMT, and more.


Basics › Benefits

Want to know more? Listen to our podcasts on the basics of stock options, restricted stock, and ESPPs.

Articles

NEW! 10 Ways Stock Compensation Can Make You Happier

Stock compensation, if fully appreciated and understood, can improve happiness. Based on the author's own observations, the 10 points in this article show how.

NEW! Using Behavioral Finance To Shape Planning For Stock Compensation This is premium content

Emotions can have a powerful impact on financial decisionmaking. The study of behavioral finance, i.e. how people make decisions about investments and other financial matters, can help you to develop a sensible approach to stock compensation and holdings of company stock.

Stomach Volatility In Your Company's Stock Without Losing Your Mind

Don't feel anxious or discouraged about stock-price volatility. As the experts will tell you, equity compensation is a tool for building wealth over the long term.
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The Great Benefits Of Restricted Stock

Restricted stock and restricted stock units (RSUs) offer more certainty than stock options (though less upside). This article explains why receiving a grant of restricted stock or RSUs is something to celebrate.

The Great Benefits Of Your Company's Employee Stock Purchase Plan

Many employees don't take advantage of their companies' employee stock purchase plans (ESPPs). This article will show you why ESPPs are a good deal.

Manage Your Expectations To Avoid The Option Blues

You may feel let down by your stock options if your company's stock price has dropped, leaving your options underwater. Getting less than you expected is something that inevitably occurs in a free market, and it is helpful to be prepared for losses as well as gains.

Major Trends In Equity Compensation During The 21st Century: A Celebration Of Our 15th Anniversary

15th ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL! Happy birthday to us! In June 2015, we at myStockOptions.com celebrated the 15th anniversary of the website's launch. We have seen a lot of changes in equity compensation since myStockOptions.com went live in June 2000. As part of our 15th-anniversary celebrations, this article reviews some of the major issues and developments in equity compensation that we have witnessed and covered during the 21st century.

$1.6 Million For Apple Employees

Forbes.com
Employee stock purchase plans can offer significant financial benefits, particularly with a good discount and a rising company stock price.

When The Share Price Is A Factor In Pay

The New York Times
For many employees, stock-based compensation represents the biggest realistic chance of an increase in personal wealth, given small rises in average salary.

Google Options Make Masseuse A Multimillionaire

The New York Times
A happy tale about the difference that stock options can make in the lives of ordinary workers, especially at pre-IPO companies which become successful and then go public.

FAQs

Are stock options, restricted stock, and ESPP participation free?

By granting you a stock option, your company gives you the right to buy its stock at a fixed price during a specified period. Restricted stock is usually granted without any cost to you. With an employee stock purchase plan (ESPP), you do have a cost when you buy shares. For companies, stock options, restricted stock, and ESPPs are not free...

UPDATES! Why do companies grant stock options, restricted stock, and other equity awards? Do employees really value them?

A company may grant equity awards for a variety of reasons. Surveys show that...

How many people have or are eligible for stock options, restricted stock/RSUs, or ESPPs? This is premium content

The types and distribution of stock grants are changing, along with the patterns of eligibility. Data from research and surveys can give a sense of how prevalent equity awards are...
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Why do many companies grant restricted stock and RSUs instead of stock options? This is premium content

The compensation philosophies of companies are continually changing under the influence of many factors, from accounting rules to...

What are the benefits of participating in an employee stock purchase plan?

You become an owner in your company, with all the financial upside and risks that any investment can bring. By participating in the plan...

Do equity awards really motivate employees? This is premium content

Ownership incentives such as stock options, restricted stock, performance shares, and ESPPs help motivate, retain, and recruit employees. Various studies have obtained empirical evidence to support this notion. For example...

Why do stock options offer greater financial benefits than simply buying shares of company stock in the open market?

Stock options give you the opportunity to buy shares of stock at a price that is fixed on the grant date, regardless of what the market price is when you exercise...

Why should I care about stock options?

Stock options allow employees and other service-providers to share in the growth of a company's value without risking their money until they exercise the options to buy the shares...

How can I find out whether my employer offers stock options or restricted stock, or has an ESPP? This is premium content

If your company is publicly traded (e.g. listed on a stock exchange such as NYSE or NASDAQ), it is required to file various...

Why doesn't my employer offer me equity compensation?

If your employer is a for-profit corporation, it probably can offer stock options, restricted stock, or other types of equity compensation to its employees. There may, however, be many reasons why your employer is not offering stock grants...

If I remain with the company for the duration of the vesting schedule, is there any way I can lose the benefit of my option?

You could mistakenly let the options expire without exercising them. You do not have your vested options for life...

How much will my options be worth in the future? This is premium content

The future value and its certainty depend on whether you are at a public or a private company. You determine the practical cash value of options in public companies by noting the...

Why do companies do reverse stock splits, and how do they affect stock options? This is premium content

Reverse stock splits are an effort by a company to reduce the number of shares...