Private companies are often woefully unsophisticated when it comes to executive-compensation strategies. Although benefits consultants can be full of good ideas, here's a cheaper way to learn about the wide world of perks: read Executive Employment & Compensation, a 120-page handbook by Arnold S. Ross, James E. McKinney, and Charlotte P. Armstrong (Hirschfeld, Stern, Moyer & Ross, 800-729-6423, 1993, $18.95).

The book's quick discussions of long-term incentives spotlight rabbi trusts, performance-based incentive plans, restricted stock, and other possibilities. One useful section focuses on different types of supplemental insurance plans. Don't expect detailed how-tos, but you will get some good ideas.

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