Use Commas

to navigate equity compensation

We work with clients who have Restricted Stock Units (RSUs), Incentive Stock Options (ISOs), Employee Stock Purchase Plans (ESPPs), and more. From deciphering vesting schedules to untangling tax complexities, our guidance ensures you’re making the most of your compensation package.

How We Help

Understanding Your Equity Compensation Package

Understanding Your Equity Compensation Package

  • Provide a thorough breakdown of your equity compensation package
  • Help you understand the components and implications in order to maximize potential

Optimizing RSUs, Stock Options, and ESPP Plans

Optimizing RSUs, Stock Options, and ESPP Plans

  • Offer fiduciary guidance and ongoing support to help you navigate the complexities of equity compensation
  • Help you understand and optimize the tax implications

Deploying Into Real Life Goals

Deploying Into Real Life Goals

  • Develop plans to integrate your equity compensation into a comprehensive financial plan
  • Help make any needed changes

Navigating Equity Compensation

Simply put, equity compensation is when you get paid with company stock. And when that happens, there’s a lot of complexity around taxes and what to do with that stock. Commas advisor Jordan Patrick offers some advice on where to start if you’re feeling overwhelmed.

Are you the right fit?

  • You (and maybe your partner) receive a growing amount of compensation in the form of stock
  • You want to leverage your equity compensation to build wealth to support your goals
  • You have little headspace to think about finances (but know it’s important)
  • You want to optimize savings through the right types of investment accounts
  • You believe that personal relationships can be the driver behind achieving financial goals

Interested in learning if Commas is right for you?

Companies We Know and Love

Not all equity compensation packages are the same. Having deep knowledge of how different companies structure these plans is critical, and the Commas team is proud to work with employees from some of the top companies shown below.


What kinds of equity compensation do you work with?

All kinds! We have clients with Restricted Stock Units (RSUs), Incentive Stock Options (ISOs), Employee Stock Purchase Plans (ESPPs), and more. They are all unique with different timelines, tax implications, and more. We will walk through all of this with you and ensure you utilize these asset in the best possible way.

What tax implications come with my equity compensation?

Taxation depends on several factors: the type of stock, how long you’ve owned it, your personal tax situation, and more. We will help you find the balance between being tax-efficient and using your company stock productively toward your goals.

What risks should I be thinking about?

Company stock can be an excellent way to build wealth, but having a large portion of your investments or net worth at the mercy of one company is risky. We call this concentration riskwhen your financial outcomes are heavily influenced by one large, concentrated investment in an individual company. In most cases, this is also the company who is responsible for your income. We help clients find the best, most effective ways to build wealth while also reducing this risk.

Should I sell my company stock as soon as I can?

Maybe! The key is making sure you utilize your stock in a way that matches your goals. Many of our clients do sell their company stock quickly to avoid concentration risk and to fund their other goals. It really comes down to what you hope to accomplish with your money. Our financial planning process is designed to tackle this opportunity and help you do it in the most efficient way.

What if I want to hold my company stock for the long term?

Selling versus holding stock can be a complicated discussion that includes risk preferences, taxes, and your overarching financial plan and goals. We will help you understand all these variables and assess the possible outcomes. If you do decide to hold the stock for a period of time, that may change the tax implications, and we’ll need to closely monitor the stock price to see how its performance impacts your personal financial trajectory.

What are restricted stock units (RSUs)?

A restricted stock unit (RSU) is an award of stock shares, usually given as a form of employee compensation. Because an RSU is given in the form of a grant, it is not fully realized until the shares have vested. As such, an RSU is an attractive way to recruit and retain talent. Once the shares are vested, you can transact them as you wish. The market value of your RSUs is included in your compensation.

What are stock options?

Stock options commonly take the form of Incentive Stock Options (ISOs). These options offer the right (the option), but not the obligation, to purchase shares at a predetermined price in the future. This can be valuable if the price of the shares increases above the predetermined price. Additionally, you can get favorable tax treatment upon selling the shares. Shares are subject to a vesting schedule, meaning you cannot exercise them right away. Once the options vest, you can exercise them, meaning you buy the shares at the predetermined price. You can use your own cash to buy them, or utilize a cashless exercise, which does not require cash but uses some of your shares of stock to pay for the rest (thus reducing the number of shares you own). Upon exercise, you can choose to hold the shares if you wish or choose to exercise and sell all at one time. This decision depends on both tax consequences and your personal situation and goals. Options will eventually expire, meaning you have a limited window (e.g., ten years) to decide what to do with them. Non-qualified Stock Options (NSOs) offer a similar structure to ISOs but come with less favorable tax implications.

What is an employee stock purchase plan (ESPP)?

An employee stock purchase plan (ESPP) is a program distinct from direct compensation. It enables you to purchase your company’s stock, typically at a discount compared to its market value. Participation in an ESPP is optional, and you fund your contributions through payroll deductions using your personal funds. Despite this self-funded approach, ESPPs are often appealing due to the discounted stock price they offer.

What are stock appreciation rights (SARs)?

Stock appreciation rights (SARs) are similar to stock options, giving you the right to buy a stock at a predetermined price. However, unlike options, SARs do not require you to acquire the original shares upon exercise. Essentially, SARs entitle you to the monetary equivalent of the stock’s appreciation over a certain period.

What are performance shares?

Performance shares are a form of equity compensation tied to achieving benchmarks or financial objectives. Think of these as RSUS linked to performance metrics.

What are phantom shares?

Phantom stock does not offer any exchange of shares as you do not actually own any stock. Instead, you are entitled to cash compensation in the future determined by the stock’s performance. There is no favorable tax treatment here. The main benefit is that you can participate in the growth of the company and its stock through your compensation.

Let’s Get Started!

Step One: Choose an advisor

Choose an advisor that is a paired to fit your needs. Input your preferences and schedule an introductory meeting with one of our dedicated advisors, no strings attached.

Step Two: Introductory Meeting

In this non-committal meeting, find out if our services are right for you. This is a great time to let us know about any equity compensation you receive and if you have any specific financial goals.

Step Three: Sign on and Upload Documents

If you feel it’s a good fit, it’s time to sign on and begin the process towards achieving your financial goals. We’ll dive into your vision for the future and start working on a plan for you.


Client Satisfaction

“I have really appreciated all the support and help. [My advisor’s] timeliness, professionalism, and approachability have helped me feel confident and informed in my financial decisions while still being early in my career.”

All scores based on input from 124 completed surveys from 709 invitations in 07/2023. These testimonials were provided by current clients of Commas. These clients were not compensated for these testimonials. No materials of conflicts exist since these clients were not compensated nor do they receive any other benefit for providing this content.

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