Stock Option Plan

A stock-option plan is a contract between a company and its employees which give employees the right to buy a specific number of shares of the company’s stock at a specified price (strike price) within a specified time period. These plans are used to incentivize the employees by offering the company stock at potentially lower than market prices without the employees having to pay for that option today. It also allows the employee to participate in the benefits (and potential risks) of their employing company’s financial successes.

In addition to regular salaries and wages, these plans can bolster the compensation package to help attract, retain and motivate employees. For the employee, these plans should be thought of as a form of possible future compensation. There is nothing to say that the company’s stock will be priced higher than the strike price of the option in the future. Also, in the case of stock options within non-public companies, there generally would need to be an event such as taking the company public or the company being purchased to create a benefit to the employee.






Retirement & Planning

Retirement is one of the most widely misunderstood phenomena in American life. It is portrayed by people sprawled across Adirondack chairs on the beach or reading long novels on the wrap-around porch of their 4000 square foot mountain home. And while any great retirement has moments of these long-earned releases and relaxations, for most people it comes with an entire subset of demands and stresses that no one explained how to consider.

We want to de-mystify retirement. Our goal is to help you take off the candy-coated wrapping of what it’s sold to be and really make it something. Really make it the final chapter of a life-well-lived. But to get there takes a little doing in the process.

Generally speaking, retirement is exemplified by one big decision: the moment you turn in the “Wage Earner Card.” And whether you made that decision for yourself or health concerns, downsizing or unwanted layoffs made it for you, you now stand in a position difficult to turn back from. Once you step away from that 40-year career, picking back up again at the same pay with the same effort is near impossible for most. Yes, many will decide to return to part time work or volunteer opportunities, but it will never be as it was before this big decision was made.

But while that one big decision gets a lot of press, it’s the thousand small decisions around it that make retirement possible. The decision to start funding your 401(k) at age 25. The decision to buy long-term care insurance. The decision to save for your kid’s college so you didn’t have to refinance your house to pay the bills for your kid's tuition. All these decisions added up and now whatever they’ve come to is what you have to work with.

Financial planning is fundamentally the business of lining those decisions one after another. We work with our clients to understand what their priorities are and how those priorities are working in concert or in conflict with their current decisions. And then we work to align those decisions with the big goals one at a time. As you look through the Idea Center and consider the big ideas of retirement and long-term planning, consider your own goals and decisions. How well aligned are they?

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