Know how to Exercise Stock Options: Get Started with Employee Stock Options


Being the owner of Employee Stock Options but keeping it lying idle may not be the best of idea. We at GrowthAdvisor can help you to exercise your stock options and get the most benefit.

Want to get the most value from your Employee Stock Options (ESO)? Then you’ve come to the right place. Below is the approach that can help you dramatically increase your gains. 

For example, if you’re making $20,000 from your Employee Stock Options per year, you could be making $40,000. Or $80,000. Or even $200,000.

In this post you’ll learn:

  • How Employee Stock Options work;
  • How to get more out of your Employee Stock Options;
  • 10 things that only GrowthAdvisor can do;

But first, let’s cover stock options basics.

How Employee Stock Options work

Many companies give out Employee Stock Options to their employees as part of the compensation package. It’s considered a nice perk that can lead to a wealth of opportunity.

But most employees have no idea how to use this perk! Let alone how valuable it is—or how to get the most value out of it.

Why do companies offer Employee Stock Options? Because Employee Stock Options give new hires a stake in the company. This, in turn, helps retain top talent. After all, if you own part of the company, you’d want it to succeed. Except options aren’t shares. Not yet. Not until they’re exercised.

Simply put, Employee Stock Options are your right to purchase company shares at a fixed price, on a fixed future date. Which gives you the advantage to then turn around and sell those shares and make a profit. This assumes that the price of the shares has gone up since the day you got your options.

See how this works as an incentive to perform?

This all sounds great, but. (Of course, there is always a but.) Unfortunately, the math to calculate your stock options value is quite complex. And it changes with time.

That’s why we created GrowthAdvisor. We want to help you understand your Employee Stock Options inside and out. And we want to make it easy and fun.

With our tool, you can make smarter career decisions:
  • You can easily navigate the job market while armed with information that not many people have access to.
  • You’ll know the accurate value of Employee Stock Options any company gives. And we mean it, any company. Just enter any company in your account and see for yourself. It’s free.
  • You’ll make the most money and reach financial independence that much faster.

Now, let’s cover some not-so-exciting but important details about Employee Stock Options. You’ll come across these if you read your Employee Stock Purchase Plan (ESPP).

Employee Stock Options Prices

  • The Grant Price (or the Exercise Price, or the Strike Price) is the price at which you can purchase a stock. So basically, it’s a price to buy the company shares.
  • The Market Price is the current price of the stock on the market. Ideally, it’s higher than the exercise price. But if the Grant Price is higher than the Market Price, then you’re considered to be “underwater”. Hopefully, this won’t be the case for you.

Employee Stock Options Dates

  • The Issue Date is the date when you get your options.
  • The Vesting Date is the fixed future date when you can exercise your options.
  • The Exercise Date is the actual date when you exercise stock options and purchase company stock.
  • The Expiration Date is the date by which you have to get your options exercised, or they’ll expire (that’s why they’re called “options”).

How to get more out of your Employee Stock Options

Not to toot our own horn again, but we know this from experience! We’ve done many case studies where employees were able to dramatically increase their earnings. Just read Nathan’s story to see how he got from $40,000 per year to $80,000 per year.

So, we can help you optimize your career by setting up your income goals and by giving you the data you need to ask for higher compensation. You’ll know exactly how much that compensation is.

This data is invaluable for salary negotiations—when negotiating for a raise at your current job or a higher new job offer.

Most big companies like Google, Apple, and Tesla offer new hires ESOs (Employee Stock Options) or RSUs (Restricted Stock Units). RSUs are slightly different from Employee Stock Options in that they have real value on vesting and work a little differently (they’re basically like stock gifts, as you don’t pay a strike price). Many startups and mid-sized companies also offer ESOs. But what none of them offer is financial guidance.

How are you supposed to know what to do with your options? When to exercise stock options? Or to keep them instead, hoping for their value to go up?

Notice the word “hope.” When you hope, you don’t know for sure. And when you don’t know for sure, you don’t make money for sure.

GrowthAdvisor will give you the power of knowledge.

Here is how this will look like.

While most employees will wait until the last moment to make financial decisions, you’ll know when to make your decisions and what your decisions will lead to. Plus, you’ll know what the next 10 years of your life will look like. In terms of how much money you’ll make.

That’s priceless.

If you’ve just graduated from college, the next 10 years of your life are crucial to your financial future. If you know how to navigate and optimize your career for the most gains, you’ll have a happy, financially secure, and prosperous life.

There is nothing more important than your happiness.

10 Things That Only GrowthAdvisor Can Do

You’re probably thinking, “This all sounds great, but what makes GrowthAdvisor better than competitors? Better than Quicken or Personal Capital or Carta?”

That’s a hard question to answer, so instead of comparing ourselves to other financial planners, we decided to showcase our unique features.

1. Find the best companies

You can look through GrowthAdvisor’s database of 800,000+ companies. Learn which companies perform the best and which companies will make you more money. You can also learn the true value of your Employee Stock Options.

Compare Employee Stock Option of Different Companies.2. Use science to minimize risks and maximize rewards

Let’s say, you found a great startup that can make you more money. But startup equity is regarded as high-risk and high-reward. If you left your current job, how could you be sure of your earnings? GrowthAdvisor can help you find a startup with the biggest reward and the lowest risk.

Use science to minimize risks and maximize rewards

3. Compare compensations in the Negotiation Chart

Our Negotiation Chart will show you the exact amount of the Employee Stock Options you could negotiate for. It will also show you how much extra money you could make—this year, next year, and up to 10 years from now.

Employee stock options Negotiation Chart.

4. Estimate your best job offers

You can see how much your chosen startup would offer you—the whole compensation package. Or any company, for that matter. You’ll feel prepared for an interview if you decided to switch jobs. And you’ll be at a huge advantage over other candidates. Because you could negotiate for your true worth and more.

Estimate your best job offers comparing Employee stock options gain

5. Help you negotiate higher equity

Not only will we show you how to negotiate higher equity. We will also show you how likely you are to succeed. You can use our data as leverage to negotiate up to 50% more.

Help you negotiate higher equity options

6. Map out your career

You can map out your career with our Career Planner. You’ll see the value of your past Employee Stock Options (if any). You’ll also see the value of his current Employee Stock Options. And you’ll see the future value of his Employee Stock Options. So you can plan your career for a whole year ahead. Or three. Or even ten.

wealth guide - compare careers Map your Career.

7. Plan your next promotion

You’ll see your other job options. You’ll know if it’s smart to leave your current job or to stay. What would look good on your resume? How to get a better job title. And it’ll be a good career move overall. In short, you’ll gain transparency into the world of employee compensation.

Career Plan

8. Give you the best date to exercise your Employee stock options

You’ll know when to exercise your options and sell your company shares. You’ll also know when it’d be smarter to wait–to earn more.

Overview of 10 year projection of stock of that certain company.

9. Help you decide to move to another company or to stay

With GrowthAdvisor you can do advanced modeling of any company’s revenue growth and valuation. You’ll see what that would mean for any company’s share price. And you’d be able to switch jobs with confidence. Because you’ll be able to narrow the timing down to the month, down to the best companies with the best compensation packages.

Graphical overview of gain.

10. Monitor your ESO wealth with valuation alerts

Our weekly Valuation Alerts will tell you of any Employee Stock Options value changes. If anything drastic happens, you’ll know it right away and be able to change your career plans on the fly. This way, you’ll keep building your wealth no matter what.

GrowthAdvisor calculates whether a company will acquired or will get to IPO in near Future

Key Takeaways

Use financial planners like GrowthAdvisor. We go above and beyond to predict your financial future. It can make a huge difference in your earnings. And it will give you confidence in your future.

After all, building your wealth isn’t hard. It’s all about building a sound system. Once you set it up, you can maintain it by monitoring its performance. It’ll take minimal time and it’ll give you maximum earnings.

Ready to give us a try?

Get started. It’s free

Questions? Email our team at

           Article Number: GA-12

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