Employee stock purchase plan

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Employee Stock Purchase Plans (ESPPs) offer a significant benefit, allowing employees to purchase company stock at a discount, typically around 10% to 15%. This discount is usually offered on a basis where you can buy shares either every six months or at the lowest price during that period. Despite the appeal, it's crucial to consider the associated risks, especially since such investments are highly concentrated in one company—the employer. This concentration links much of an employee's financial well-being to the company's performance 1.

Furthermore, these plans generally come with a holding period during which stocks must be kept to obtain favorable tax treatment, typically two years. This delay ensures that gains from the stocks qualify as long-term, impacting the tax rate applied 2. However, Brad Barrett notes the risk of over-concentration in employer's stock, advising to diversify investments once favorable tax conditions are met —essentially reducing risk by not tying too much wealth into one company 3.

Employee Stock Purchase Plans

Kristi shares details about her company's ESPP, including the 15% discount and monthly purchasing. Brian explains how the acquisition cost is calculated.

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It's also worth noting that different ESPPs have varied terms concerning the timing of stock purchases, the specific discount applied, and the conditions under which stocks can be sold. Therefore, understanding these specifics is crucial for maximizing the benefits while mitigating potential financial risks 4.

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