Thursday, September 24, 2009

Exercise in Futility

I've had stock options at four of the companies I've worked for, but I've never made any money off of them... until now. Stock options are supposed to be a great tool for aligning employee interests with the bottom line, but in reality, they're more like a lottery ticket. In my case, they were more like a scratch and win lottery ticket, because I'll be lucky if my gain after taxes is $200. I'm not complaining since these options were set to expire in a couple of weeks and they had been underwater since May.

This experience was reinforced my belief that I don't have the stomach for active stock market investing. I like to make informed decisions, but even if I studied the markets all day and knew how to decipher a balance sheet, over a two-week time span, any individual stock can tank or go though the roof for reasons that no one could have anticipated. I finally decided to just pick a price that looked reasonable but was still high enough that it made me feel like I was still making some money and submitted a limit order. It executed yesterday afternoon near the intraday high and after today's 2.3% drop, the stock is now trading just barely above my strike price, so as it stands, I'm looking like something of a Wall Street genius right now. Unlike a compulsive gambler, instead of feeling a rush from all of this, I'm just glad that it's over and that I have a little bit of extra cash in my pocket.

1 comment:

Alan said...

Did any of your companies re-price the stock options after they became worthless?

I got pretty lucky leaving Cerner -- had to exercise them prior to leaving when the stock was at a 52 week high (although, now it is $10 above that).