5 high-tech life hacks for the jobs you hate to do
From filing your taxes to finally framing that piece of art you bought six years ago, there's an easy online tool to help you tackle just about any annoying task
Filing taxes, writing a will, filing for divorce. These things are awful. Every day, they lurk at the bottom of your to-do list, terrorizing you and making other bottom-of-the-to-do list tasks seem downright exciting. Even cleaning the toilet is easier. That, at least, you know how to do.
Thankfully, we live in an age in which there's a very good chance someone has invented a technology to make what we hate easier to handle. (Even, unsurprisingly, cleaning the toilet.) You don't have to look for a lawyer or accountant. No need to wake up in the night fearing the IRS or a Dickensian future for your offspring. There are tools for this. You can get everything rolling without leaving the house. Here's how:
1. Filing your taxes
You'd have to be seriously out of touch to not know that TurboTax will do your taxes — for free if you have a simple return. But what if your return is complex? What if you're self-employed, have stocks, or want to itemize? Sure, TurboTax can handle this. But you are still doing your own taxes.
Let me introduce Visor. Answer a few questions about who you are, where you live, and the financial decisions you've made in the last year. Then upload your relevant tax files and pour yourself a drink. Because now, an accountant — or a team of them — will do your taxes for you. They might have questions. But you will not be doing any of this math. And the best part? Those accountants are available all year long. Wondering, in June, how buying a new car or house will affect your taxes? Log in and ask. This is the kind of tax service rich people get, except this only costs $99. Complexity drivers (self-employment, rental income, etc) each add $49.
2. Getting a divorce
In most cases, divorce is the last step in a series of unfortunate events. Then comes a lawyer, a contentious discussion over child support and who gets the dog, accusations, and miserable children. Putting it off is human. But don't let inertia steal your freedom. Sit down at a computer, hit Wevorce.com, and figure out what to do about this mess. Wevorce acts like the mediator you can't afford, reminding you that angry outbursts cost you legal dollars, walking you through decisions via online interviews, doing it all from your computer so you don't have to sit down together and fight. It offers reading that calms and reminds you both to put the kids first. It will also connect you to a lawyer (for an additional fee) if you hit a situation it can't handle. It costs $949 per couple plus state filing fees.
3. Writing a will
No one ever asks you to imagine your own death. Except everyone who tells you to write a will. So it's not all that surprising that 60 percent of Americans don't have one. But if you have 10 minutes and a cell phone, you can get this over with real quick.
Download the Tomorrow app and answer some easy questions. Who's your spouse, kids, other family? (It uses your phone's contacts to fill in details.) How about your stuff? Do you have a house? A car? A boat? Tell the app who gets those then walk around the house snapping cell phone pics of your good stuff. Connect your bank, insurance, mortgage, and other accounts and dictate what happens to those. When you are done, it prints a will to take to a notary. For $40 a year, you can sync all this with your partner.
Tomorrow is slick, the will is free, and it works in all states but North Carolina. But if you don't like the idea, WillMaker Plus 2019 ($79) from the great legal minds at Nolo Press also takes only a few minutes to create and print a will from an easy on-screen interview. It does it with software downloaded to your Mac or PC.
4. Monitoring your credit report
You know you should check your credit report, frequently, right? So … when was the last time you did? Okay. And when was the last time you checked the mobile game you can't stop playing? Shouldn't checking your credit rating and monitoring your credit report be as easy as that silly game? It is! Credit Karma is like a mobile game for your financial reputation. Instead of scoring points that never leave the game, you score a higher credit rating and a responsible fiscal universe. That elusive “Excellent” credit rating might be a challenge. But this app will show you how to play the game to get there.
5. Framing your art
Do you have a closet full of best intentions? That art print you bought when you toured Italy? The painting purchased to support an artist friend? Photos you took? It would all look good on your walls. But it's a hassle going to a frame shop. And that hassle might come with a shockingly high price tag. Get out your measuring tape, go to Framebridge, and get this done. You don't even have to get dressed. Measure. Choose a frame. Then upload the photos and ship the art. You'll know exactly what everything costs before you commit. The framed art will arrive in a few days.