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Stock Options Compared to RSU – The Ultimate Guide

restricted stock units compared to options

Stock Options Compared to RSU – The Ultimate Guide

What’s the distinction between Stock Options and RSUs? This supreme guide to stock options versus RSU covers whatever that you want to learn to be an informed investor. In recent decades, many Silicon Valley technology organizations used company stock incentives like restricted stock units and stock options.

Many of the Silicon Valley startups are employing these equity settlement programs being a low-cost employee benefit plan in order that they are able to have specialized workers.

In the world, many techsavvy investors feel that Facebook has raised the prevalence of RSU stock options. Back in 2007, Microsoft made a decision to put money into Facebook $200 million at a $4 billion evaluation. The very large evaluation caused it to be hard for Facebook to entice new employees until they offered them attractive RSUs arrangements.

We usually listen to our trading system, and out of our own experience, it’s more than probable that you simply don ‘t know what is a restricted stock unit. In this step-by-step RSUs guide we’re going to outline what decisions you have to make to profit from buying restricted stock units.

In part one of this stock options vs RSU guide, we’re going to cover what are RSUs and what is the difference between RSU and stock options.

What Are Restricted Stock Units?

stock options vs rsu

Simply put, restricted stock units (RSUs) are a grant of company stock that’s yours once it’s vested. We understand that at this point you may scratch your head with all these new technical terms. We’re going to take it step-by-step to shed some light on.

To make the explanation of the RSU stock option more interactive, let’s use our imagination and follow the typical storyline of the Millennial generation:

Let’s suppose Joe has just landed a job at a big company. This company is a large publicly-traded tech company from which Joe will be compensated with some shares that he can’t sell only yet. These stocks Joe gets are called restricted stock units or RSU.

Also, understand how to Swing Trade Options here.

The date Joe receives those inventory units is named the grant . But, Joe may ‘t sell the RSUs until certain conditions have been met. This is due to a vesting schedule that the tech company has set forth before Joe can sell his shares.

The tech company has two options on how they can structure the vesting schedule:

  • Gradual schedule – is a type of vesting in which Joe can receive small portions of vesting over a period of 3 to 5 years. If, for example, Joe’s tech company uses a five-year schedule, then Joe will receive 20% of the shares each year.
  • Cliff schedule – is a type of vesting in which Joe can receive the entire share vested after a stated service period. In cliff vesting, Joe will receive the full shares after he typically worked a certain number of years. The number of years worked is discussed when Joe negotiates his overall compensation package.

This is a win-win situation for both the employee Joe and the employer, the tech company. On the one hand, the tech company can ensure Joe will work for the company for a long period of time. This typically means higher productivity and subsequently bigger profits.

On the other hand, Joe can be motivated to work for the tech company and have a bigger paycheck once vested and sold. Joe is obligated to work for the tech company during the specified vesting schedule in order to own the shares.

The need to vest is what makes an RSU stock option restricted.

When the shares vest, Joe can either sell the shares, hold the shares if he believes the stock price has the potential to go a lot higher, or a combination of the two.

As the name suggests, RSUs are a restricted form of shares or restricted certificate of stock. In the financial world, RSUs are also known as letter stock or restricted securities.

Example of How RSUs Work

Let’s assume Joe gets 1,000 shares when the stock price was at $10 a share. Joe also agrees to a gradual vesting period of 4 years, which means he will be able to vest 250 shares each year during the 4 year vesting period.

difference between rsu and stock options

At the end of year one, the stock price is $11 a share. The 250 shares vested are now worth $2,750 (250 shares x $11).

restricted stock units vs options

Let’s assume that at the end of year two, the stock price depreciates to $9.50 a share. The other 250 shares vested are now worth $2,375 (250 shares x $9.50).

*Note: The difference between RSU vs stock options is that even though the stock price is lower than the price at the grant date, your shares still have value based on the current market price.

restricted stock vs rsu

At the end of year three when the third slice of 250 shares vests, your stock price has appreciated to $15 a share. These shares are now worth $3,750 (250 shares x $15).

restricted stock vs stock options

Now, in the last year of the vesting period when the last 250 shares vast the stock price continued to appreciate, it’s now trading at $20. These shares are now worth $5000 (250 shares x $20).

The initial 1,000 shares of RSU resulted in $13, 875 profit or net income for you.

Let’s take a look through the eyes of the same example and see what is the difference between stock options vs RSU.

Instead of receiving RSUs you get from your employer’s 1,000 shares worth of stock options. Considering all things equal with the previous example, at the end of year four, you get back $20,000 (1,000 shares x $20).

What is the Difference Between RSU and Stock Options

The difference between RSU and stock options is that the RSUs limit the downside, but they also limit the upside. On the other hand, stock options maximize the upside and they expire worthless if the stock price doesn’t proceed above the award price throughout the vesting program.

The restricted stock units can also be ordered in a way you might have all of the advantages of stock options. In this way, between RSU versus inventory options, RSUs tend to be somewhat more versatile than stock options.

The ultimate big gap between RSU and stock options could be that the direction that they’re taxed. The RSUs are taxed in line with the average income prices. But, stock options have an even more intricate taxation procedure. Discover how to avoid tax loopholes of RSUs here.

Restricted Stock Units Compared to Options

restricted stock units taxation

Companies can pick between restricted stock units compared to options a portion of one’s reimbursement program. Stock options are just another frequent kind of equity payment. This is definitely an agreement that gives you the terms under that you are able to purchase a particular number of stocks at a cost. The expectation is the fact that the worthiness of the organization and so the stocks rise overtime.

Now, in case the stock price compels you overlook ‘t lose anything because you don’t possess those stocks. You merely have an option to get them.

This is similar to a totally free dinner!

You have the up side edge and also the benefit potential when the share price enjoys. But in case the stock price compels you overlook ‘t lose anything.

You may also like this guide on futures vs options advantages.

We can distinguish two types of stock options:

  • Incentive stock options or ISO.
  • Nonqualified options.

There is no need to get deeper into this topic, we just want to lay down the foundation, building a base to help you accumulate wealth.

The Pros and Cons of Restricted Stock Units

Since there is a lot of confusion on the RSUs advantages we’re going to outline the pros and cons of RSUs. The main benefits of restricted stock units are:

  • Both the employee and the employer will want the company to succeed.
  • The employee can earn extra compensation for his work.
  • The more the stock price rises, the more money you can make.

The restricted stock units can also have some cons:

  • The restricted stock units tax is an income tax.
  • If the stock price falls, you can earn less money.
  • You can also lose unvested shares at termination.

Be sure to test your strategies with this Paper Trading Options Tutorial.

Conclusion – Stock Options vs RSU

As an investor, you have to ask yourself if weren’t utilized by a specific company, do you proceed to the open market and then get those stocks your self? Usually times when you work with an organization, it is possible to be attached with the organization and also this will prejudice your perspective on just how far the stock may be worth.

It can happen that the organization that you benefit, specially if it’s a startup, even to truly have the stock price grown considerably. If the business that you benefit becomes a huge tech business and also you won’t ever sold your stocks in the method by the ending it’s possible to make tens of thousands of dollars .

For more info on options trading, then read this practice on How to Trade Stock Options to Beginners.

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