Too Many Options

Trying to understand their 401(k) plans leaves many workers glassy-eyed, helpless and prone to investing all of their contributions in money market funds. Now, millions of people worldwide face an even more difficult task: figuring out what to do with their stock options.

Enter Bruce Brumberg. He realized that companies could use some help educating employees about the intricacies of stock options, especially given the tsunami of options that have been thrown into people's hands since the proliferation of Internet startups. Brumberg, head of his own legal and financial publishing company, and two cofounders, Jesse Brill and Peter Van Ness, launched Inc.'s in Brookline, Mass., in June.

The site is chock-full of information. It includes interactive calculators and modeling tools to help employees maximize the value of their stock compensation. An online stock-option tracker helps with record keeping. Rounding out the site are plenty of educational articles about options, more than 325 FAQs with expert answers and a glossary of stock compensation terms.

Companies can customize the site or license parts of it to help their employees better understand their options. "When I announced this at a meeting of public companies, they clapped," says Brumberg. He says that once educated, employees will be less likely to view options as a get-rich-quick scheme. For companies that offer options, the site can serve as an HR tool for recruitment and retention efforts.

With the site's help, employees can spend less time worrying about how to manage their stock options and more time making them worth something.

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