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Any Wealthfront client who has used our automated financial planning service knows that nothing impacts your financial lifestyle more than owning equity in a successful company.Unfortunately, most people really don’t know how to evaluate the equity portion of their job offer.If so, you would probably want some acceleration so you could leave the company after the acquisition.Some companies also offer an additional six months of vesting upon acquisition if you are fired.The vast majority of companies require that you exercise your options within 90 days of your departure from the company.This can create quite a challenge if your potential employer is more than a few years old and successful (which is what you want – see The Silicon Valley Career Guide).
Some companies might request five-year vesting, but that should give you pause.
Let’s say you work at a company for two years and then it gets acquired.
You may have joined the private company because you didn’t want to work for a big company.
Obviously, when it comes to options, a larger number is better than a smaller number, but percentage ownership is what really matters.
For example, if Company A offers 100,000 options out of 100 million shares outstanding and Company B offers 10,000 options out of 1 million shares outstanding, then the second offer is 10 times as attractive.