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Tag: financial advice

How to Maximize Your Stock Options

The Key Considerations You’ll Need to Best Leverage this Employee Benefit

Stock options have become a popular way for employers to compensate employees and incentivize high-quality work. Not only are they convenient and cost-effective for the employer, but they provide employees with added value for a job well done. When employees feel valued and do good work, the company’s stock value rises, and everyone wins.

Since stock options aren’t as cut and dry as a normal paycheck, though, many employees don’t fully understand how to make the most of them. Below we’ll discuss how stock options work, when to exercise them, and how to maximize this type of compensation.

The Basics of Employee Stock Options

When an employer offers stock options as part of your benefits package, it means you’ll have the opportunity to purchase a certain amount of company stock for a set price called the “grant price”, and typically within a set time frame. Most often, employers want to incentivize you to stay with the company long-term, so you may have to wait until your stock options vest – that is, until they reach the point in time when they become available to you to exercise. This means new employees usually can’t take advantage of them right away. Once they vest, you’ll have a specific time period in which to use your stock options before they expire.

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Planning Assumptions That Should Be Avoided

Even the Most Disciplined of Planners Can Fall Victim to Faulty Planning Practices

Even if you consider yourself an accomplished and disciplined planner – and, perhaps, even more so if you fall into this category – it’s uncomfortable to face unexpected financial hurdles. Since no one can perfectly plan for the unexpected, however, it happens from time to time. It could be that your career takes a turn you didn’t foresee, or maybe your child’s college education ends up far costlier than you expected. All of a sudden, you find yourself facing a future where your savings goals may be in jeopardy.

Although no planning is foolproof, avoiding some common – and faulty – planning assumptions can help ensure your long-term goals won’t be in danger.

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Which Assets Belong in Your Living Trust – and Which Don’t?

Guidance on How to Fund Your Trust

If you’re considering setting up a living trust, know that there is more to it than simply meeting with a lawyer and signing the appropriate paperwork. Your trust won’t have any power until you fund it. To do so, you’ll need to strategize about which assets you’ll put in the trust, and then complete the necessary transfers.

For most people, there are assets that make sense to transfer to your trust, but others that you’re likely better off leaving outside the trust. Below we’ll dig into the details of both. First, though, let’s discuss the basics of a living trust.

Why Choose a Living Trust?

If you’re looking to manage your assets during your lifetime and find a way to easily pass them to your beneficiaries when you die without going through the hassles of the court system, a living trust is for you. This legal structure allows your estate to bypass probate, which is advantageous for several reasons.

Not only is probate complex, time-consuming and expensive, it also means your estate information will become public record. A trust, on the other hand, allows you to keep your finances private. Furthermore, this legal instrument gives you more control over which of your heirs get certain assets, and even when they are able to access them. For example, you could choose to pass some of your assets to your children when they turn 18, with a percentage held back until they reach age 40.

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Small Business Checklist: How to Assess Your Financial Wellness

A Five-Step Plan for Busy Business Owners

Running your business day to day takes all of your energy and focus. Your waking hours are consumed with managing and sustaining it, and you likely spend many a sleepless night on the details no one else thinks about. This is the life of a committed small business owner.

When you’re grinding day after day to keep your business well-positioned, however, it can be easy to lose sight of the bigger picture. Specifically, it becomes difficult for many small business owners to find the time to monitor the overall health of their business in a meaningful way. The five-step guide below is designed to help you focus on five key elements of your business’ financial health.

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