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Company IPO'ing, but just not excited
Old 12-01-2013, 11:24 PM   #1
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Company IPO'ing, but just not excited

Recently, the company I work at filed to go public. As is usual with such things, they are remaining very tight-lipped about scheduling, so I don't know exactly when, but probably in the next handful of months.

And although this company should rank as the most exciting and successful one I've worked for in my entire career, and could provide me with a life-changing amount of money and the ability to (semi) retire if they do well...

I just don't feel any excitement over it.

Don't get me wrong, I want it to happen, and I want them to do well, as it directly affects my own financial success and could enable me to free myself of the rat race (which I *am* excited to do). But as far as years from now, looking back on all this and thinking it was one of the most exciting times I lived though...nope. I'm just not feeling it.

I've written before that I don't care about the journey anymore, just the reward, and that pretty much sums up my feelings right now. My original stock grant has one more year until its four-year vesting is complete, and then there's really no more financial upside. The golden handcuffs fall off, so to speak, and after that it's really just a paycheck every two weeks. To me, even an employee stock purchase plan isn't worth sticking around for because at most, it would mean a few more thousand dollars per year, but that wouldn't be enticing enough to make me stay.

I'm curious if anybody else has been through this? Been someplace that should rank on tops of anywhere you've been at, but you're so burned out you just don't care?
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Old 12-02-2013, 06:36 AM   #2
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It's probably good you are not excited about your company. The biggest mistake people make with most IPOs is not securing their future when any lock up period is past. For every Microsoft and Amazon there are 100 we can't remember.

I know several people that were wiped out at Enron's collapse but most were locked into their stock unless they left the company. One person had over $2MM and felt it would be easy to retire on that amount. He left the company just months before the collapse and taking his cash with him. Coworkers told him when he quit that he was giving up an even greater fortune because the stock had been going up so quickly. They eventually lost it all.

The question for you is whether your stock value now is "meaningful." If it gets you into safe ER territory, you probably want to take some/a lot off the table. I've worked fora few companies where I got company stock as part of my compensation but it was always chump change in the big picture of my finances.

You also have to ask yourself how real the future prospects for the company really are. Twitter may have lots of hype but I really can't see how they will ever make real money.
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Old 12-02-2013, 10:12 AM   #3
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Replace IPO with sale/merger/takeover and you have described my current situation almost perfectly except the amount I expect to make personally is no longer a life-changing amount of money. However, it should help me sleep better at night.

I am just slogging through trying to see this one last thing through before pulling the plug.
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Old 12-02-2013, 11:13 AM   #4
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If you have ISO's, look at exercising them before the stock price goes up and you have AMT problems, if you don't already.

After you have company shares, you need to start selling them when you can to diversify away from a large holding in one stock and match your desired asset allocation.

Plenty of stuff to think about at least. After our stock became worth something, we all had the company stock price listed on our desktops, which really helped while away the day...
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Old 12-02-2013, 11:25 AM   #5
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Loneaspen, maybe for you it is more of the journey than the destination than you realize. I know I am a bit of a serial entrepreneur and more of a "journey" kind of person. DH is more of its the destination, I'm here and I want to kick back and enjoy life. The new projects I suggest just seem like hard work to him.

I think many people post here here are more the destination types, but that isn't how everyone is wired. Many people who are millionaires, and especially those that are entrepreneurs, don't ever plan to retire:-

Most Millionaires Don't Plan to Retire

Maybe now that you have reached FI, you need some really big, hard to achieve, new goal to keep you happy.
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Old 12-02-2013, 11:40 AM   #6
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If you have ISO's, look at exercising them before the stock price goes up and you have AMT problems, if you don't already.
Yep, I early exercised my entire grant earlier this year, before the price started climbing higher. Because of this, I now own all the shares (except the company has the right to buy back unvested shares if I left prematurely), but do have a significant AMT tax bill coming due in April.

Hindsight being 20/20, I wish I would have exercised much earlier, but back then, didn't have the comfort level in the company succeeding as I do now. So I waited a little later. But I think I still early exercised at a good time. The AMT bill, while significant, isn't insurmountable, even though I might have to beg the IRS for an extension, loan, or whatever they call it.
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Old 12-02-2013, 12:02 PM   #7
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You will get it back as AMT credit against future capital gains when you sell the stock. So keep the records.
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Old 12-02-2013, 12:10 PM   #8
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An IPO can bring ALOT of changes in a company/organization (think Sarbanes-Oxley act). If you get Founders Shares, there can be quite an upside, but, as 2B and Animorph point out, it's by no means a sure thing. Typically, the Founders Shares take 3 years to vest, an a lot can happen in those years.

When our company went public, I cashed in my vested shares of private stock. With the specter of Enron fresh in my mind, whenever grants vested, I cashed them in, despite pushback from the company questioning my "loyalty". Seven years after the IPO, the company was starting bankruptcy proceedings. Those who held ended up with <2% of what their (paper) net worth was at the peak.

I never sold any shares at the absolute peak, but by systematically cashing them in as they vested, I did get some benefit.

I ultimately pulled the plug and left about a year before the total collapse. What had started out as one of the most exciting and challenging positions I'd ever had, suddenly went to a total slog and became just a paycheck, largely due to the cultural and organizational changes imposed by becoming a publicly traded company.

I wish you the best of luck.
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Old 12-02-2013, 11:42 PM   #9
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Thanks for the replies, everybody.

Unfortunately, I wasn't one of the founders, but I was one of the first 50 people at the company. So while I'm in a decent position to make some life-changing gains over a couple years, it won't happen right out of the gate.

daylatedollarshort - While I'd like to think I could establish lofty goals for myself after this company, I think what I'm doing to do is exactly the opposite. I want to quit and take two or three years off to do absolutely nothing work-wise. If I do return to some kind of work, it would definitely not be in the IT field. My heart's just not in it anymore. That's one of the reasons I'm so un-excited about my current position, even though it's likely to have some kind of payoff.

But maybe that's a good thing. Because I am so unhappy with my career, once I finally ditch it and never have to do it again, it will allow me to open my eyes a bit more and find something else to pursue. Perhaps get back into real estate. Or, I've always wanted to get my pilot's license. Maybe start some kind of aviation-related company.

That's one reason I want the "reward" so badly right now, and don't care about the "journey" anymore...I just want to move on.
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Old 12-03-2013, 01:03 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by LoneAspen View Post
But maybe that's a good thing. Because I am so unhappy with my career, once I finally ditch it and never have to do it again, it will allow me to open my eyes a bit more and find something else to pursue. Perhaps get back into real estate. Or, I've always wanted to get my pilot's license. Maybe start some kind of aviation-related company.

That's one reason I want the "reward" so badly right now, and don't care about the "journey" anymore...I just want to move on.
I think maybe you aren't seeing things so differently than what I mentioned in my post. I guess I should have stated "new journey". Getting back into real estate, a pilot's license and especially starting an aviation company would each be what I would consider a "really big, hard to achieve, new goal to keep you happy."

Anyway congratulations on the IPO. I think I would have a hard time not getting excited over a life changing amount of money.
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