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Start-Up Equity Is a Great Retirement Plan, if You Can Pull It Off


Nearly two years ago, Trevor Ford left a job at Lending Tree that gave him a 401(k) plan and a generous employer match to work at Yotta, an online banking app.When Mr. Ford began working there, Yotta, like many early-stage start-ups, didn’t offer its employees a 401(k) plan. Instead, Mr. Ford received equity compensation in the form of incentive stock options, which give him the right to buy shares of company stock at a discounted price. He believes that owning early-stage equity provides a better opportunity to accumulate wealth than an employer-sponsored 401(k) plan with matching contributions.“The equity could be worth well into the seven figures, hopefully, and maybe more,” said Mr. Ford, …

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