You peek furtively around the floor. The other financial advisers have gone home to Bedchester. All clear. You pull out your offer letter from Smiling Joe, the branch manager at the wirehouse across the street.Elizabeth_Taylor

The deal is “3x,” potentially paying you three times your $1 million in production over the past 12 months: There’s a $1.5 million signing bonus, $1 million for hitting revenue targets and $500,000 for bringing in a target amount of client assets.

You’re excited. You’re holding a road map to $3 million in buried treasure. But you’re also apprehensive because all the bonus payments come in the form of “employee forgivable loans.”

EFLs don’t feel like bonuses. They feel like debt. Sure, the wirehouse forgives the principal in equal annual installments every year you stay. But deep down, you know you’re on the hook—for up to $3 million—unless you remain at Smiling Joe’s little shop of horrors for nine long years.

Are you in?

In deciding whether to stay or go, keep in mind that money is one of the big enticements that can turn your brain into that of an adolescent. “Sex, death, money—in our culture, the most sophisticated guy in the world can turn into a 12-year-old,” says Michel Zelnick, a psychotherapist who specializes in business clients.

To continue reading, click on this link to the WSJ.