of the Month: myStockOptions.com
Susan B. Anders
OCTOBER 2007 - MyStockOptions.com
is a financial planning website focused on stock options, stock
plans, and related equity compensation topics. The website is
designed to be useful to individual investors for their personal
finance information needs, corporate employers, and professional
advisors, including CPAs and CFPs. It offers articles, portfolio
trackers, calculators, quizzes, a discussion forum, a global tax
guide, and CFP continuing education. MyStockOptions.com is well
organized and demonstrates how a website may be used as a marketing
(MSO) is a commercial organization, and as such, most of the information
on the website is available only to paid subscribers. However,
a wide selection of free materials can be accessed after registration,
including selected articles and FAQs, a glossary, the myRecords
portfolio tracker, a “quick-take” calculator for stock
options, a discussion forum, “ask the experts,” and
an e-mail newsletter.
and main pages are organized with a top banner containing three
menu bars. The top menu bar focuses on popular features: tax center,
global tax, newsletter, glossary, discussion, as well as about
us and home, and buttons to sign in and register. The second menu
bar has buttons for the user-specific tools of myRecords, myTools,
myLibrary, and myClients. The third menu bar covers all of the
topical areas on the website: basics, NQSOs, ISOs, ESPPs, restricted
stock, SARs, financial planning, job events, life events, M&A,
SEC law, and pre-IPO.
At the center
of the homepage, users may choose one of three types of accounts:
individuals, corporate, and financial and wealth advisors. A link
to new and updated content is a neat feature, as is a similar
resource for the newsletter. A few of the recent top articles
are displayed. Throughout the website, features available only
to subscribers have an MSO+ icon. Other materials are free, but
and main pages feature left-side indices that change with context.
On the homepage, the index prompts a user to take a detailed tour
of the website’s content. Menu buttons for the tools are
displayed on the right side of the homepage, including myRecords
and several calculators. The homepage highlights featured FAQs,
recent discussions, and “ask the expert” Q&A.
There are also links to free quizzes that offer interactive multiple-choice
questions, including connections to pertinent articles and FAQs.
FAQs, and tax center are organized under the topics presented
on the third horizontal menu bar. The left side of each topical
page serves as an index for that section. The center of each page
provides a brief introduction to the topic, a list of articles
with short descriptions, and a list of FAQs. The right side of
the page links featured FAQs on that subject.
contain links to other resources on the website, as well as to
outside materials. Sources include articles written for MSO, major
newspapers and news magazines, investment-related websites, and
the IRS. The articles’ webpages include options for e-mailing
and printing. Current newsletters are sent via e-mail; however,
archived newsletters can be found on the MSO website.
allow users to pose questions, as well as to read questions and
answers from other users. “Ask the experts” provides
an e-mail link for users to send their questions to MSO staff.
Users can also participate in the discussion forums, contributing
on existing topics or creating new discussion threads.
is found on the main menu bar and the right-side tools index on
the homepage. It allows users to keep track of stock grant information
in a spreadsheet format, create graphs, export data, and print.
The “quick-take” calculator can import data from myRecords
in order to model increases and decreases in stock prices and
tax rates. The glossary can be accessed from the top main menu
bar or links throughout the website.
B. Anders, PhD, CPA, is a professor of accounting at St.
Bonaventure University, St. Bonaventure, N.Y.