An idea occurred to me after reading Bob Murphy's overpromised book on infinite banking, which carries the wonderful insight that if you save a lot, you can "borrow" from yourself on favorable terms -- oh, and that's also true if you save through a whole-life insurance plan.
But the real insight is in how much of your money (if you're a typical debt-carrying mouth-breather) goes to financing costs that could be avoided if you simply saved before a purchase, which was backed by some surprising examples.
Now, that doesn't do much for my finances because I'm a big saver. But it dawned on me: even if I'm not a big borrower, employers are, including and especially mine. So if I'm not living paycheck-to-paycheck, then they and I could work out a deal whereby they defer my salary payments (effectively taking a loan from me) and pay me interest much greater than I could get on savings (0%), but much lower than they would pay the financial markets (all costs considered, probably 30+%). Everyone wins.
But how many workers actually want to do something like that? No, it's too bizarre, so alas, I suffer again from being the rare saver...
And that's when I smacked myself -- they've had a program that lets me do that the whole time! They call it the employee stock purchase program, and it lets you set aside money so that at pre-defined six-month intervals you can buy company stock at a 15% discount to its current value, and yes, you can sell it immediately. I never bothered because I figured there was some catch to it that I never fully researched, even as those who used it assured me there's not.
Using the program, if you set aside money, buy at a discount, and immediately re-sell, you get an effective annual return of 38%! (Actually, higher, because the money wouldn't all be "invested" at the beginning of the six-month period.) I had just never realized what this was for the whole time! Stupid, stupid, stupid...
Oh, and there's a severe thunderstorm going on right now.