Equity is a term that most employees are familiar with but don’t fully comprehend. And it’s understandable why—equity compensation is an incredibly complex topic filled with confusing jargon, legal regulations, and tax implications.
But for employees to maximize the value of their stock options and shares and make intelligent decisions about their equity portfolio, they need to find a way to navigate the world of equity. Unfortunately, most employees today remain in the dark and end up foregoing significant financial upside or, worse, get slapped with a surprise tax bill they can’t afford. And employees who do seek to optimize their equity end up spending thousands of dollars working with a CPA.
At Origin, we believe every employee should have access to high-quality professional guidance to help them navigate these issues. That’s why I’m excited to share that Origin just launched a new product line, Equity Manager, that will help them do just that.
Helping employees understand their equity compensation
At Origin, we’ve seen that employer equity is consistently one of the topics that our users struggle with the most. We’ve found that the vast majority of employees don’t understand what their equity is worth and, because of this, half of all Origin users reach out to our CFP® professionals for advice on questions like:
- What percentage of my compensation should I ask for in stock options?
- Will my equity be worth anything in a few years?
- When is the right time to exercise my stock options, and how do I do it?
- What will I pay in taxes if I sell my shares?
Given the flurry of skyrocketing valuations, private fundraising rounds, huge IPOs, and continued growth of software companies, we anticipate that the need for support with equity compensation will only increase.
Through our own experience with private and public company equity, coupled with the sheer volume of users who seek help with equity through Origin, we realized there’s a massive gap between what employees need in terms of equity compensation guidance and what’s available in the market.
Our mission at Origin is to make financial wellness accessible to everyone at every stage of life, so we knew that we needed to find a way to bridge this gap. That’s why we decided to build Origin’s Equity Manager.
Introducing Origin’s Equity Manager
Origin’s Equity Manager is a suite of tools designed to empower employees to make the most informed and confident decisions possible around their equity compensation.
Our team’s hope is that, with the guidance of Origin’s Equity Manager and our network of CFP® professionals, employees will not only be able to understand the value of their equity compensation but also be able to make strategic decisions that maximize their worth.
Let’s take a closer look at exactly what our latest product provides for employees:
A personalized financial snapshot
Our Equity Manager allows employees to see a snapshot of their entire equity portfolio—which can be especially helpful if they have stock options from working at multiple companies.
This visual overview includes equity details down to the individual grant level, an overview of the value of their equity across their entire portfolio, and the ability to project future value based on company growth scenarios. With this feature, employees can clearly understand vested versus unvested equity, how they are accumulating value over time based on their vesting schedule, and important deadlines around option exercise and expiration.
It’s not enough to show employees their current equity portfolio. They have to understand exactly what they’re looking at to make the best financial decisions for themselves. That’s where the educational component of our product comes into play.
Origin's Equity Manager has educational materials built directly into the app, covering various private and public equity topics—including the difference between various equity instruments like ISOs and RSUs, how vesting works, dilution, and more. This, paired with the guidance of Origin's network of financial planners, helps employees make confident and informed decisions about their equity compensation.
Finally, it can be challenging to understand what one’s equity will be worth one, two, or five years down the line. That’s why we offer multiple simulation tools to help employees better envision and plan for the future. This includes:
- A growth simulator: An interactive tool to project the value of equity holdings based on company growth scenarios that employees can manipulate directly.
- An exercise and sale simulator: An easy-to-use simulation tool to understand the total cost of exercising options, selling shares, and the tax implications of doing so. This includes information about which options to exercise and in which order, as well as a share sale simulator that enables employees to project gross proceeds, taxes owed today and at the end of the year, and net proceeds.
I couldn’t be more excited about the strides we’re making to enable employees everywhere to make better financial decisions. The Origin Equity Manager is our latest milestone that will allow people to improve their financial futures.
If you’re a customer and want to share feedback with our team about Origin’s Equity Manager, feel free to reach out to me personally at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, if you don’t have Origin as a benefit yet and want to learn more about our financial wellness platform, request a demo. We’d love to connect!