4 Ways to Maximize Your Equity Compensation Package During Times of Transition

Thinking about making the jump to a new employer? Is your company being acquired or merging with another company? To help protect and maximize your equity compensation package, be sure to have a solid negotiating strategy in place.

In my experiences serving life sciences professionals, I have seen clients leave money on the table when they switched to a new job or their company experienced a merger or acquisition. Here are four ways to help you avoid this and negotiate a good deal.

Your Company Stock as Part of Your Retirement Planning Strategy

The U.S. stock market has been on the rise for more than eight years and healthcare stocks—including many life sciences companies—have participated in this rally. In fact, year-to-date, healthcare is the second best performing sector within the S&P 500 Index.

While this is great news if you own these stocks, you may be wondering, “How long can this last?” The short answer is that nobody knows. Trying to predict the future direction of the stock market is futile.

But there is one thing we do know, and that is that the economy and the stock market are cyclical. Periods of strong economic growth are followed by recessions. Bear markets follow bull markets. The only question is when the pendulum will swing the other way.

If a large portion of your personal wealth is tied to the fortunes of your company’s stock, you need to be prepared for a potential downturn - especially if these assets are part of your overall savings strategy for your retirement. 

Here are five ways you can diversify your portfolio and earmark your equity compensation for your retirement goal.

Back to School Season Reminds us of College Planning

In recent weeks, I’ve had the pleasure of viewing many Facebook posts from friends and family showing their kids as the head back to school. Whether your kids are entering kindergarten, high school, or college, fall is a good time to revisit your strategy for college savings.

Here are five key factors to consider when creating or fine-tuning your college savings strategy.

Purchasing Put Options

Owners of concentrated positions looking to protect their stock from downside risk may want to consider purchasing protective put options.

Concentrated Positions and Donor-Advised Funds

Holders of concentrated stock positions have several options for mitigating the risk associated with owning these shares. For those who are charitably inclined, the ease, convenience, and overall benefits of a donor-advised fund may make it a particularly attractive solution.

Using an Equity Collar to Manage Concentrated Risk

Whenever owners of concentrated stock positions have obtained their shares at a cost well below the stock’s current fair market value, an equity collar may be the answer. Although the gain has yet to be realized, many shareholders wish to preserve the value of the shares without entering into a taxable liquidating transaction. To secure share value, the owner could simply purchase protective put options, but put premiums make this an expensive proposition.

Outright Sale of a Concentrated Stock Position

Most owners of concentrated positions understand the risks inherent in continuing to hold their shares. A significant drop in the price of the issue has the potential to inflict irreparable harm on a portfolio. One guaranteed solution to the problem is to sell the stock, but many owners are wary of the tax implications of implementing this simple strategy and are therefore hesitant to take action. Sometimes, however, the simplest option produces the best result. To determine whether an outright sale is an appropriate solution for reducing risk, let’s review the benefits and downside considerations associated with such action.  

What Yoga Is Teaching Me About Financial Planning

I started practicing yoga more than ten years ago and I can honestly say that it has changed my life for the better. It helped me deal with grief, launch my financial planning business, focus on what matters most, and has simply given me more energy in my every-day life.  

Today yoga is becoming more and more popular around the world. From Silicon Valley offices to tiny villages in Africa, people everywhere are learning about the benefits of blending mindfulness and physical activity.

How can I possibly find connection between yoga and financial planning? I believe the comparisons are endless and hopefully I can help you apply some of these to your own life. 

Use Tax Season To Get Your Financial House In Order

Whether you complete your own tax returns or hire an accountant, filing your taxes may not be one of your favorite activities. But filing your taxes does present a good opportunity to get your financial house in order. So, as you sit down to gather and organize your records this year, keep the following tips in mind.

Staying Financially Focused During Uncertain Times

Uncertainty is not a new concept within the life sciences sector. Based on recent industry and market news, it is apparent that 2017 will not prove to be any different. While uncertainty can be disconcerting, especially when it comes to your career and your finances, it’s important to maintain perspective. If there is one constant within the financial markets, it is uncertainty.

So how do you make long-term financial decisions when there is no clear outlook for the sector in which you work? How do you stay focused when that stock option you earmarked to pay for an upcoming purchase may not be worth as much as you had expected?