Which is preferable: equity or options?

Regarding compensation, there are a few different options employers can choose from for their employees. Equity and options are two of the most popular choices, but which one is better?

Let’s look at the pros and cons of each so you can make an informed decision. Alternatively, you can visit this site to start trading options.


Equity is a popular choice for compensation because it aligns the interests of the employees with the company. Employees who own equity in the company are incentivized to help the company grow and be successful because their financial well-being is directly tied to the performance of the company.

Companies can offer a few different types of equity, but the most common are stock options and restricted stock units. Stock options give employees the right to purchase company shares at a set price in the future. RSUs are actual stock shares awarded to employees, vesting over time.

The downside of equity is that it can be very volatile. The value of stocks can go up and down quickly, and employees can find themselves in a tough spot if the company’s stock price falls.


Options are another popular type of compensation, and they have some advantages over equity. The most significant advantage is that options are much less risky than equity. Options give employees the right to purchase company shares at a set price in the future, but they don’t have to purchase them unless they want to. Employees can cash out their options and walk away with money in their pockets even if the company’s stock price has fallen.

The downside of options is that they can be challenging to understand and value. Unlike equity, which is easy to value (it’s just the current stock price), options have a complex formula that considers things like the current stock price, the strike price, and the expiration date. It can make it difficult for employees to know how much their options are worth.

So, which is better?

The answer to this question depends on a few different factors. The first is the risk tolerance of the employees. Equity is much riskier than options, so that risk-averse employees may prefer options.

The second factor is the time horizon. If employees are looking to cash out in the short term, then options are probably the better choice. However, equity may be a better option if employees are looking to stay with the company for the long haul.

The third factor is the company’s stage of development. A young company that is still growing may be a good candidate for equity compensation, while a more established company may be better suited for options.

Ultimately, the company must decide which type of compensation to offer employees. There is no right or wrong answer, and each option has its pros and cons. It is vital to ensure that employees understand the risks and rewards associated with each type of compensation so they can make an informed decision.

Examples of when each would be the better choice

Equity may be the better choice for a company that is:

Going public: Equity compensation can help attract and retain top talent leading to an IPO.

Making a significant acquisition: Employees may be more incentivized to stay with the company if they have equity.

Financing a round of funding: Investors may want to see that the company has issued equity to employees as part of their investment.

Options may be the better choice for a company that is:

Looking to reward employees for performance: Options allow employees to cash in on their performance.

Concern about dilution: Options don’t result in any dilution of ownership until exercised.

Trying to attract high-level talent: Many top executives are compensated with stock options.


There is no right or wrong answer when deciding between equity and options. The important thing is to understand the risks and rewards associated with each type of compensation to make an informed decision. Consider the company’s stage of development, the time horizon, and the risk tolerance of employees when making your decision.

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