by Peter R. Wheeler, CLU, ChFC, CFP®, CIMC
Reviewed by Gary W. Silverman, CFP®
Stock Options & Grants covers, well, stock options and grants. If you think that's a stupid statement, you're going to hate the rest of this review. Because, you see, this book is exactly what it purports to be, and it does it well. Author Peter Wheeler wrote this book because back before 2000 (when the first edition came out), he could not find suitable material to help explain employer stock grants (options) to his clients.
The subtitle to this book says it all: The Executive's Guide to Equity Compensation. From that you would rightly conclude that this book is not written to the investment professional, but rather to the company decision-maker. It is also not written at a sixth grade reading level. Instead, it is written as if you were across the table from an educated, experienced member of corporate America. Of importance to me is that it is not written to try to drum up business for the book's author. That all said, let's look more closely at the book.
Here I get rather boring (or lazy) again, as many of the chapter titles tell you exactly what the book covers:
- Chapter 1: What Are Stock Grants?
- Chapter 3: What Are Nonqualified Stock Options?
- Chapter 4: What Are Incentive Stock Options?
- Chapter 5: What Are Employee Stock Purchase Plans?
I think you get the picture.
Then Wheeler gets a little more specific:
- Chapter 7: What About Taxes On Stock Grants?
- Chapter 8: How Do I Exercise My Stock Grants?
- Chapter 10: May I Gift My Stock Options?
- Chapter 12: What Happens To My Options If I Get Divorced?
Again, he is very practical and to the point.
Notice all the questions? This is Wheeler acting as if he was an advisor answering questions put to him by the client sitting across the table from him. In fact, each of the chapter paragraphs begins as a question. For instance, after answering the chapter title, the next three paragraphs in Chapter 3 are
- How is my options price determined?
- When can I exercise my option?
- How long do I have to exercise my option?
After each of these questions, Wheeler does not belabor the point. He uses his 36 years of experience to give the depth of answer the executive likely will need. Given the audience, if the reader does not "get it," I feel comfortable that they will either do more research themselves or pick up the phone and call their advisor. This doesn't mean the book is sparse: it is just under 200 pages long. It is simply that with all of the possible situations (and questions) the reader might have, several volumes would be necessary for the work to be exhaustive.
This book is a definite buy. I'll let you determine whether you should use it for client education or to begin the education process for yourself.
Gary W. Silverman, CFP®, owns a fee-only financial planning firm in Wichita Falls, Texas. He is the host of the television show Falls Informer, editor of the financial newsletter Personal Money Planning, and a frequent contributor to the print and broadcast media. He also teaches university courses in finance and management.
Advisor Press, 2004