Liz Weston: Hello, welcome to the NerdWallet SmartMoney podcast, where we answer your money questions in 15 minutes or less. I’m your host, Liz Weston.
Sean Pyles: I’m your other host, Sean Pyles. As always, be sure to send us your money questions. You can call or text the Nerd hotline at (901) 730-6373. That’s (901) 730-NERD. Or you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Liz: This episode, we’ve got a really interesting question that’ll be familiar to anyone who’s worked at a startup. It comes from Kelly in Sacramento. She asks, “My tech company offers stock options, and there is so much hoopla over them in the Bay Area. I don’t know if I should even exercise [the options], given my $90,000 student loan debt, but at the same time have FOMO.” That’s fear of missing out, for any of you who don’t know. “Most of the people I work with in tech are lucky to have no debt, as their parents paid for all of their college.” Lucky people. “It is a private company, so I can’t just sell my options on the open market. What’s your advice?”
Sean: Oh boy, Kelly. So you’re dealing with student loans, but you also want to try your hand at investing. It sounds like we have some similar financial journeys here. I also have that FOMO. I don’t think that we’re alone with that. And Kelly, I really like your question because it’s about balancing financial priorities. Should you pay off your student loan debt, or should you spend some of…