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The Fool has info on employee stock options at

Whether this is a good thing depends a lot on the company. There are a lot of dot-com employees with worthless stock options -- not so great to have an option to buy the stock at its IPO price of $25 when the current value is $10 or less.

Read the Fool section again, and read the info your wife receives carefully. Your wife has not received 1000 shares -- she has received (or will) an *option* to buy up to 1000 shares at a specific price. For example, if the current stock price is ranging $30-40, she might have an option to buy shares at $25. You and she have to come up with the cash to buy the shares. (There is a cashless method, in which you basically sell enough shares to cover the cost of buying the remaining shares.)

You might want to talk to an accountant for help with the tax consequences when you exercise the options.
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