Time magazine has announced their Best Inventions of 2021. In addition to offering a hopeful look at the future each year (which we can all use these days), I always find a few useful products and services that can save you money and/or effort as compared to the traditional option. Warning: The annoying thing is that every individual item with short description counts as an “article” against their paywall limit. Here are a few potentially-useful inventions that caught my eye:
Capitalize – Easy 401(k) Rollovers (Are they really that hard?)
Millennials change jobs often, and when they do, many neglect to bring along their 401(k)s, put off by the hassle of long phone queues and locating obscure documents. […] Simply enter the names of former employers or retirement-account providers, and Capitalize does the rest—unearthing accounts, handling paperwork and suggesting IRAs where old money can make new gains.
Realm – Optimize Home Remodels (for property value, not personal enjoyment)
Homeowners often struggle to decide which upgrades will offer the biggest property-value boost. Realm helps out by analyzing real estate, tax, zoning and other data to offer recommendations—assessing the impact of different designs, materials and financing options to calculate the return on, say, a kitchen renovation.
Amira and the StoryCraft – AI Reading Tutor App (1-on-1 tutoring is not affordable for everyone)
Research shows that the best remedy for reading disorders is early intervention. Unfortunately, there are not nearly enough teachers and tutors for one-on-one instruction. Amira and the StoryCraft was developed to help. Using speech-recognition software, the app ($7.99) listens to students read aloud, pausing when a child stalls or makes a mistake on a word. Then, the app teaches them how the word is pronounced. A Carnegie Mellon University study found that students using the software for 20 minutes posted twice the gains as those using traditional methods.
JetKids BedBox – Convert airplane seat to bed for small kids 3-7
It costs $199 but if my kids would have reliably fallen asleep on it, I’d have bought it for sure… Approved my many major airlines including American, Delta, Southwest and actually sold by others like Cathay and Singapore. (I did notice that United is not on their approved list.)
OXO Spoon Rest with Lid Holder
I like the overall quality of OXO products (their tongs have lasted forever compared to cheaper alternatives) and while this invention won’t change the world, it does solve a problem with my drippy lids resting on random things in my kitchen. *clicks “Add to Wish List”*
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