One of our clients is an executive for a Fortune 500 financial company. The company gives out bonuses in stock, stock options, and deferred compensation arrangements. Their net worth and financial well-being are highly dependent on the health of the company – not unlike many people that have worked for another fortune 500 companies. We started working with them in 2000.
We did a financial plan and part of the recommendation was to sell a good bit of the stock holdings in the company. We recommended they sell shares and realize the gains over a few years. While they didn’t follow our recommendations completely, they sold a fair portion – but still leaving them overexposed to that one security and their livelihood was also dependent on that same company.
Thankfully this was a company that survived the financial crisis so their stock holdings are still worth a fair amount of money. They are especially thankful that the company survived because all of the deferred compensation arrangements are still in place and will be paid out to them. Our client’s counterparts at financial institutions saw millions of dollars of their compensation (that they voluntarily elected to not receive until retirement) evaporate in bankruptcy.