In 2010, I posted a short piece about where to look on the Web to learn what upper management, board members, and large investors were doing with insider company stock trades. At the time, the MSN Money website had a tool where you could enter a company's stock symbol and get a readout of who was buying and - more often than not - selling stock. That web page is gone, but I found the same information on InsiderCow.com. The dollar amounts are truly staggering to people like you (likely) and me (definitely). Numbers reported are sale values, not profit to the stock holder. Many of the stocks were issued as either grants or options, but even outright purchased stocks are included as well. Regardless, prepare to have your jaw drop if you have never seen this type of data before.
Some of the more familiar technology companies have been selected for examples, and then the more familiar names within those companies. Some of the people have cashed out tens of millions of dollars worth of company stock in the last year alone. I honestly do not know how to interpret the significance of the numbers; I'm just regurgitating what is provided. Some of you finance savvy people know better. An Excel spreadsheet was used to tally and present the info.
Those incomes based on stock sales do not, of course, account for income from salaries, other stock sales, board member stipends, company benefits (medical, dental, eyesight, insurance, etc.), and independent investments. Clearly, if you are fortunate enough to be among the ranks of corporate bigwigdom [sic], opportunities abound. Don't get me wrong; I do not begrudge them their wealth. What does gall me, though, is that many of them claim to be social justice warriors and defenders of the working man. They publically attack "the rich," all the while paying workers the minimum wage possible, manipulating work hours to avoid paying benefits, and hiring illegal residents and legal H1B visa holders at sub-standard rates at the expense of legal citizens. Employees of the world's richest man reportedly run ragged and postpone bathroom breaks in order to meet workplace quotas.
Finding objective numbers for income class levels is difficult since publishers all use their own subjective criteria. The Pew Research Center is considered useful by many since it gets data from the U.S. Census Bureau. CNN has this online Middle Class Calculator to determine where your household income level places you based on where you live. Melanie and I fall just a tad above middle-middle class for our location in Erie County, Pennsylvania*. If we lived in Erie County, New York and had the same income, we would be a tad below middle-middle class. In my hometown location of Anne Arundel County, Maryland, we'd be in the lower-middle class. Finally, in Loudoun County, Virginia, just across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C., we would be upper-lower class.
Look up your company on InsiderCow if it is publically traded. Now might be a good time to ask for a raise.
BTW, I have no interest in the stock market - no stocks, no bonds, no 401K, no company retirement, only a couple lame CD-based IRAs and some bank savings. In February of 2025, I'll start collecting maybe $2,000/month of Social Security after nearly five decades of paying into it (at a 15.3% rate while being self-employed since 2007). That's it.
As of this date, the DJIA is at 24,776 points.
* Middle class in Erie, PA, covers the income range of $29,629 to $88,446 for before-tax earnings.
Posted July 10, 2018