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Oh How Sweet It Is!

As someone who wrote a book on how to negotiate a severance package, it always makes me happy to see public case studies. The latest case study is on the “golden parachutes” received by three ex-Twitter executives.

A golden parachute consists of substantial benefits given to top executives if the company is taken over by another firm, and the executives are terminated as a result of the merger or takeover. Common benefits may include stock options, cash bonuses, and generous severance pay.

If you receive a golden parachute, you’re more than happy to jump off a cliff or even out of a burning plane. You will land softly on your feet and feel like you won the biggest lottery ever!

The Size Of The Golden Parachutes For Twitter Executives

Chief Executive Parag Agrawal, Chief Financial Officer Ned Segal and Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s head of legal policy, received a “golden parachute” clause in Twitter’s TWTR merger with Musk’s X Holdings.

After the $44 billion acquisition on Thursday, October 27, 2022, Musk fired all three. However, the “Golden Parachute Compensation” clause in Twitter’s SEC filing shows the trio would automatically vest stock worth $119.6 million as severance if terminated.

The estimated total golden parachute severance packages are:

CEO Agrawal: ~$74 million

CFO Segal: ~$65 million

Head Of Legal Policy Gadde: $60 million

Not bad for a company that went public in November 2013 and provided almost no shareholder value until Musk decided to overbid. Twitter went public for $26 a share, went as high as $50.09 intraday, and closed the day at $44.09. When Musk made an offer on April 14, 2022, Twitter’s share price was at $45.09.

Twitter historical share price

Believe You Deserve To Receive A Severance Package Too

One of the biggest pushbacks I get when I encourage people to negotiate a severance package is: Why would management ever grant me one?

Yet, here are three executives who are set to receive eight-figures worth of severance packages despite providing almost no value to shareholders in nine years! These golden parachutes should motivate you into believing you also deserve a severance package, especially if you actually created value.

Companies want employees to leave on good terms, especially if the employee was any good. The last thing a company wants is a disgruntled employee who writes a negative tell-all in a major newspaper. A company’s reputation is important, as it may affect its future business prospects and the type of new employees it attracts.

If it becomes known an employee got screwed by a former company, then the company may find it much harder to hire great talent.

I’ve shared my wife’s severance package case study before. She was a high-performing and loyal employee of 11 years. But by 2015, she had grown weary of the work and the oftentimes unruly clients who treated her poorly. I’m sure she also longed to spend more time with me.

As a result, I coached her into receiving a severance package worth over $100,000. The severance negotiation went so well her company invited her back as a part-time consultant for 60% more pay!

Fired Versus Getting Laid Off

Unfortunately, the golden parachutes for these Twitter executives are not guaranteed to pay out. The reason why is that it is reported Elon Musk fired these executives for cause. If you are fired for cause, it means you did something inappropriate and negates your ability to receive a severance package.

The large majority of the trio’s severance package comes in the form of unvested Twitter stock, some $119.6 million worth. By firing the executives for cause, Musk gets to save $119.6 million in unvested Twitter stock payments plus the actual discretionary severance payment based on the trio’s respective salaries.

In 2021, Agrawal had a base pay of $623,000, while Segal and Gadde’s base pay was $600,000 each. A severance payment usually equals 1-3 weeks of base pay per year worked. Gadde worked at Twitter for 11 years. Hence, she would have received a severance package between 11 – 33 weeks of base pay, or $126,923 – $380,769.

The most common reasons for getting fired include:

  • Having an affair with the boss’s spouse
  • Feeding inside information to your competitor
  • Physically and verbally abusing colleagues, subordinates, or your boss
  • Stealing company products
  • Sexually harassing colleagues
  • Going on a racist public tirade online

If you do any of these things, why would a company ever offer you a severance package? Offering a severance package is discretionary.

A Severance Package Is Not Mandatory WARN Act Pay

Further, don’t confuse a severance package with mandatory WARN Act pay. WARN Act pay non-discretionary and required by law for employees at larger companies involved in a mass layoff (100 or more employees).

Below is an example of more severance package and WARN Act pay confusion from Stripe’s latest layoffs.

You Want To Get Laid Off, Not Fired

If you are laid off, on the other hand, you are eligible for severance payment and your deferred compensation. You are also eligible for unemployment benefits. Being laid off means you were let go, usually through no fault of your own.

The most common reasons for getting laid off include:

  • Poor department or company profitability
  • An economic downturn
  • Cost cutting measures
  • Department shuts down / office closes

Besides potentially receiving a severance package and all your deferred compensation, another benefit of being laid off is no black marks on your employment record. A clean employment record helps you land a new job, if you want one. You will also have more favorable references who will vouch for you.

The reason why I was able to cover my normal living expenses for at least five years after I left finance in 2012 was because I volunteered to get laid off. As a result, my old employer paid me three weeks of base pay for years worked, all my deferred cash and stock compensation, and all of my private investment proceeds I was forced to invest in 2010 that had a seven-year payout.

What Was The Cause For Twitter Executives Getting Fired?

Musk may have a difficult time justifying firing the Twitter executives for cause. However, from Musk’s perspective, it is very clear why he fired them.

The Twitter executives ended up becoming his enemies during the Twitter acquisition negotiation. Ultimately, Musk wasn’t able to get management to agree to a lower purchase price. He thus views these executives as the key reasons why he had to pay more than he thought was reasonable.

Musk may also believe the Twitter executives were incompetent for not:

  • Monetizing the platform enough
  • Minimizing the number of Twitter bots
  • Limiting disinformation
  • Earning gobs of money despite poor share price performance

Elon is probably thinking why the heck should Parag Agarwal, only 38, be paid over $60 million in severance when he hasn’t even been the CEO for a year. Musk likely believes Agarwal did nothing meaningful to deserve his compensation. If Agarwal had co-founded Twitter, that would be a different story. But he started off as just another engineer.

On the flip side, Twitter shareholders are happy Agarwal and the board held their ground and got Musk to pay $44 billion for the company. If there was no acquisition offer, Twitter would probably trade at less than $20 billion today based on comps.

So as a Twitter shareholder, you’re actually ecstatic to be getting bought out for more than 100% of fair market value today. However, over the long term, Elon could make Twitter even more valuable than ever.

Why can’t Twitter be worth $100 billion or way more in the future? We’ll just have to wait and see. Too bad the public won’t be able to participate in the upside.

Negotiate Your Golden Parachute Severance Package

If you’re gainfully employed, please do some research on whether you have a golden parachute. Ask HR or your manager what would potentially happen to you and other employees if another company bought your firm. If what you hear is unsatisfactory, you should ask for ways to improve your golden parachute.

Most of the time employees should be happy when their company is bought. They might get a great severance package to do something else. Or they may be asked to stay with an even better retainer package.

From there, you can decide to “rest-and-vest” where you basically quiet quit for years until you receive all your vested stock. Or you can decide to work harder to try and make more money and get promoted.

As I’ve been writing about since 2009, everything is negotiable when it comes to money. The key to receiving a great severance is understanding what your employer’s needs are. Once you understand this and can help with the transition, your employer should be much more amenable to offering you a severance package.

I’ve done it. My wife has done it. So have thousands of others who have read, How To Engineer Your Layoff: Make A Small Fortune By Saying Goodbye since 2012. The ebook is now in its 5th edition as I’ve incorporated more strategies and case studies over the years. HTEYL will give you the courage to negotiate like an expert.

You Must Fight For Your Freedom

I understand confrontation can be scary. It’s why some people ghost or text others when breaking up instead of speaking face-to-face.

Just know that quitting your job is selfish because you’re only thinking about yourself. As soon as you start thinking about both parties, you realize how much better things can be.

Negotiating a severance package was my #1 catalyst for leaving my well-paying finance job. More than 10 years later, I am ecstatic about my decision.

Without a severance, I would have stayed miserable for at least another three years in finance. I’d probably be 20 pounds heavier with continued chronic back pain and sciatica. No amount of money is worth sacrificing my health! Now I am free to do as I please.

If you are unhappy with your job, I hope this latest Twitter golden parachute case study motivates you to make a change. If you want to buy the #1 book that teaches you how to negotiate a severance, click the button below.

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Readers, why don’t more people believe they can negotiate a severance? Why are we so afraid of creating a win-win scenario for our employer and ourselves?

For more nuanced personal finance content, join 50,000+ others and sign up for the free Financial Samurai newsletter. Financial Samurai is one of the largest independently-owned personal finance sites that started in 2009.



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Oh How Sweet It Is! is written by Financial Samurai for www.financialsamurai.com

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IRS Out For Blood More Than Doubling Penalty Interest

IRS taxes increase

In a blatant act of financial tyranny, the IRS is intensifying its assault on hardworking Americans by shamelessly jacking up the interest penalty on underpaid taxes from a pitiful 3% to an exorbitant 8%. This calculated move, recalibrated quarterly, serves as a stark reminder of the insatiable appetite of the IRS, an oppressive behemoth relentlessly extracting every last penny from citizens already shackled by burdensome taxation.

Specifically targeting non-corporate taxpayers, the IRS demands the federal short-term rate plus an additional three percentage points, a blatant money grab that directly targets struggling self-employed individuals, independent contractors, and gig economy workers. These individuals, already grappling to make ends meet, find themselves in the crosshairs of a government voraciously hungry for more of their hard-earned wages.

For those daring to resist this blatant financial coercion and falling short on their payments, brace for the punitive underpayment penalty. There’s a meager concession – if the amount due is under $1,000 after begrudgingly considering credits and other tax factors, citizens might receive a temporary reprieve from the claws of the taxman.

This audacious maneuver puts the self-employed and independent contractors in the IRS’s oppressive grip, coercing them to make quarterly estimated tax payments under the looming threat of severe financial retribution. The January 16, 2024 deadline for the fourth quarter of 2023 is fast approaching – a date that casts a dark shadow over those grappling with the suffocating weight of government overreach.

While the regular W-2 employees might momentarily sigh with relief as taxes are conveniently siphoned from each paycheck, tax experts issue a stern warning against such complacency. Joseph Doerrer, a CPA and financial planner from New Jersey, challenges individuals to scrutinize their tax situation, posing the provocative question, “Are you where you should be?” A question that echoes as a stark reminder of the government’s overreach into the pockets of hardworking Americans.

One taxpayer, Sameet Durg, found himself blindsided by an underpayment penalty reaching into the thousands – an unwelcome surprise that serves as a chilling testament to the relentless demands of the IRS. Durg, a marketing executive, now watches his finances with unwavering vigilance, refusing to endure a hefty hit come April.

As the IRS unabashedly cranks up the interest penalty, taxpayers are left grappling with the heavy-handed tactics of an agency that seems insatiable in its quest to confiscate more of their hard-earned money. This move underscores the urgent need for citizens to vehemently resist the oppressive tax regime, actively defy the IRS’s overreach, and reclaim sovereignty over their wages.

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GUILTY! Sam Bankman-Fried Faces Over 100 Years in Prison

GUILTY! Sam Bankman-Fried Faces Over 100 Years in Prison

(ConcernedPatriot.com) – Sam Bankman-Fried has been found guilty of all charges related to the collapse of his Bitcoin exchange, FTX.

“A New York jury in Manhattan federal court agreed with prosecutors that Bankman-Fried defrauded investors, customers and lenders in connection with the collapse of his crypto empire,” reported Fox Business.

“Prosecutors accused Bankman-Fried, who founded and controlled both FTX and sister hedge fund Alameda research, of misappropriating and embezzling billions of dollars in FTX customer deposits, scheming to mislead investors, and instructing other executives at his businesses to do the same,” it added.

Bankman-Fried was charged with five charges of conspiracy and two counts of wire fraud in the first two criminal trials.

The maximum sentence for each crime was 110 years in prison.

The hearing for Bankman-Fried’s sentence has been scheduled for March 28.

The Southern District of New York’s U.S. attorney, Damian Williams, commended the decision and said that Bankman-Fried “perpetrated one of the biggest financial frauds in American history.”

“The cryptocurrency industry might be new, the players like Bankman-Fried might be new,” Williams said. “But this kind of fraud, this kind of corruption, is as old as time.”

NBC News gave some background information and historical context before the decision:

“FTX and Alameda quickly collapsed in November 2022 after some of their financial liabilities were exposed.

The fact that Alameda had taken billions of dollars from FTX’s customers and that much of Alameda’s balance sheet was comprised of digital currency assets it had created was central to the case against Bankman-Fried.

Unnerved by disclosures about the firm’s financial position, many of FTX’s customers tried to get their money back. That set off the equivalent of a bank run.

The value of Alameda’s investments crashed, and FTX couldn’t return much of that money because it had been given to Alameda. Some went to the fund’s lenders, and billions were spent on sponsorships, commercials, and loans to top executives. That, too, was a major part of the case against Bankman-Fried.”

Following the collapse, more FTX and Alameda executives were prosecuted, including former CEO of Alameda Caroline Ellison, co-founder of FTX Gary Wang, and chief technology officer of FTX Nishad Singh.

All three pleaded guilty, agreed to cooperate, and testified against Bankman-Fried.

In exchange for their cooperation, they will receive less severe punishments.

In his defense, Bankman-Fried stated that he never intended to deceive anyone and that, following the failure of FTX and Alameda, the government had been searching for someone to blame.

“Mr. Bankman Fried maintains his innocence and will continue to vigorously fight the charges against him,” Mark S. Cohen, counsel to Bankman-Fried, said in response to the verdict.

Williams stated that he hoped the conviction would be an example for others.

“It’s a warning, this case, to every single fraudster out there who thinks that they’re untouchable, or that their crimes are too complex for us to catch, or that they’re too powerful for us to prosecute, or that they could try to talk their way out of it when they get caught,” Williams said. “Those folks should think again.”

Copyright 2023. ConcernedPatriot.com

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Brutal ‘Bidenflation’ Has 1 in 6 Retirees UNRETIRING

Brutal 'Bidenflation' Has 1 in 6 Retirees UNRETIRING

(ConcernedPatriot.com) – According to an analyst, “Bidenflation” may be a long-term issue, leading one out of every six pensioners to contemplate retiring early.

It will undoubtedly persist if Biden wins re-election.

In the far-left USA Today, Patrice Onawunka laments the possibility that the “financial insecurity” brought on by inflation—which was brought on by “reckless federal spending”—will last forever.

More:

“People have connected the dots between ill-advised government policies and harsh economic outcomes. Spending nearly $2 trillion on government transfers to almost every household during supply-chain disruptions and exacerbated labor shortages caused inflation to accelerate. Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and other production disruptions worsened it.

The Biden administration and congressional Democrats passed a climate change bill that they falsely labeled the Inflation Reduction Act in hopes of fooling Americans, especially seniors.

The bill never addressed rising food, housing, or energy prices — households’ most basic and critical needs. Any climate savings would take years to come to fruition and could be offset by new costs for families — tens of thousands of dollars — on new electric vehicles.

Meanwhile, the green subsidies cost more than three times what the law’s supporters claimed.”

What could be crueler than adopting a law that does the exact opposite and is titled the Inflation Reduction Act?

55 percent of those who have already had to un-retire claim it was because they needed more money.

The White House and corporate media continue to lie to us by promising that the inflation issue will pass quickly, yet nothing ever appears to change.

Everything’s cost is skyrocketing especially housing. Meanwhile, Joe Biden is exerting every effort to keep inflation high. The federal government spends like a drunken sailor, which cheapens money.

Even worse, Biden has permitted countless millions of illegal immigrants to enter our nation, which raises the price of housing by increasing demand for limited items like housing.

Housing is a necessity, Onwuka tells us, unlike other discretionary expenses. Rent costs in America are rising, disproportionately affecting older folks and those with low incomes, especially those on fixed budgets.

In addition, she states that “10 million households headed by people aged 65 or older spend more than a third of their income on housing, and half of these pay more than 50%.”

See what happens when you factor millions of illegal immigrants into the housing problem.

Biden punishes Americans who have lived by the book, paid their taxes, saved money, and worked hard. He is putting the interests of millions of illegal aliens—who raise demand for everything and drive up prices for everything—above the interests of those Americans.

“In a little over four years, I intend to retire. I’ll never be wealthy, but since I started my first 401K in 1994, I’ve been setting money aside for that moment. I enjoy both my job and my coworkers.”

That isn’t the problem. The dream is the problem… the desire to live out your third act with the freedom and resources to do whatever you want.

Similar actions are taken by many working Americans who save money and forgo immediate enjoyment to prepare for their elderly years. As a result, I find it difficult to understand what it must be like to enter a dream before having it destroyed.

The anguish of coming out of retirement, returning to the grind, and facing Monday mornings all over again escapes me.

The only idiots, child abusers, and masochists vote Democrat.

Copyright 2023, ConcernedPatriot.com

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