Consider Your Options

Billions in stock grants are going down the drain, worthless. Are they still worth asking for?

Illustration by Peter and Maria Hoey for TIME

Billions in stock grants are going down the drain, worthless. Are they still wortj asking for?

Millions of stock options granted to rank-and-file employees in the late 1990s are set to expire worthless in the next few years--a sobering reminder that when it comes to your compensation, there is no substitute for cash, and when it comes to your long-term financial security, there are no can't-miss lottery tickets.

The total lost value by 2010 will be in the hundreds of billions of dollars, according to estimates from the National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO). That stunning assessment helps quantify the dashed hopes of countless working stiffs who had been banking on options to help with goals like...

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