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IoT — or the Internet of Things — is definitely here to stay. It may seem slow in the moment, but IoT has rapidly taken over our homes, schools, healthcare and workplaces. And over the next few years, there definitely will be more improvements.

Many people like myself ask, should I invest in IoT products? It seems like they're always coming out with new ideas and innovations everyday that any product I do buy will be outdated in a couple months.

Even if this is true, IoT is continuously building on itself — take the smartphone for example. Even though most of the world has smartphones now, people were hesitant to buy it at first. Now, it's the basis for connected devices — you can control your house lights, garage, pet feeders and more with your smartphone.

If you're still hesitant, here are other reasons why you should invest in IoT devices.

If you're a student

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Students are the future of IoT products — Generation Z kids were the first to actually grow up always having modern technology. Whether you're a college student, stuck in high school or teaching as an educator, IoT devices can help you.

Take your dorm for instance — items like smart plugs and home cameras allow you to control what happens in your room from anywhere. In everyday life, connecting tablets and laptops to your school's network can help keep you updated too.

If you love to travel

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Traveling gadgets have been prevalent since basically forever — however, we're now moving away from neck pillows and ear plugs. Get your hands on smart devices like the portable scanners — for the workaholic — smart suitcases and dual SIM smartphones for the ultimate relaxing vacation.

Take a beach vacation for example — relax by the water with a waterproof reader or play ball in the water with a connected speaker.

If you're into fashion

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Although this portion of IoT hasn't been thoroughly researched yet, there have been some pretty big improvements. Take the Anrealage Monte Z shoes — with a smartphone and AR, you can put designs onto your sneakers.

Some brands even let you virtually try on their clothing while others are working on wearable tech and multi-functioning connected accessories.

If you have pets

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Yes, IoT devices can even help your pets — in this case, mostly cats and dogs. With products such as smart dog collars and trackers, you won't ever lose your dog again. Smart feeders and pet players can also take care of your pet when you're away — with a tap of your smartphone.

If you own a home

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Obviously, smart homes are all the craze now — why get up and do something when you can be efficient and have it automated?

Your kitchen for example — smart refrigerators can help you keep track of your food or automatically reorder groceries while smart forks, cookers and coffee makers make your life easier with scheduling and automatic services.

If you have a car

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Cars are the next big step in IoT development — even though we have a few self-driving and connected cars on the road, we still haven't even fully switched over to electric yet. Funding and supporting research in this emerging market will help us convert faster.

As you're reading this article, researchers and professionals are making and testing automated and connected vehicles in a fake Michigan city called Mcity. Even though there are limited options on the market right now — especially affordable ones — more are soon to come.

After all these uses, I'd say investing in IoT products is a pretty good decision. Even though you don't particularly care about the movement, getting left behind could be pretty inconvenience in both your professional and personal life.

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What do you do when financial hardship hits and you can't make your monthly mortgage payments? This is a question on many homeowner's minds as nearly 17.8 million Americans are reportedly unemployed during the coronavirus pandemic.

When homeowners face financial hardship, such as the loss of a job, they often look to obtain a forbearance agreement from their lender. A forbearance happens when your lender grants you a temporary pause or reduction in monthly payments on your mortgage. Forbearance is not the same as payment forgiveness, in that you still have to pay the entire amount back by an agreed-upon time.

Mortgage lending institutions differ on their mortgage relief policies and qualifications; however, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act were signed into law in late March of this year to protect government-backed mortgages.

Federally backed mortgages include:

  • Fannie Mae
  • Freddie Mac
  • The Federal Housing Administration (FHA)
  • The US Department of Veteran Affairs (VA)
  • The US Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Under the CARES Act, homeowners with a federally backed loan who either directly or indirectly suffer financial hardship due to coronavirus automatically qualify for mortgage forbearance.

Even if your mortgage is not secured by one of these agencies, you still can call and see if you qualify, as many lenders will still offer the option in order to avoid foreclosures.

Under the CARES act, homeowners can claim mortgage forbearance due to financial hardship from COVID-19 for up to 12 months without requiring any documentation or verification. During the forbearance period, mortgage lenders cannot charge late fees or penalties.

Additionally, as long as your mortgage is current at the time you claim forbearance, the lender is required to keep reporting your mortgage as paid current throughout the entire period.

At the end of the forbearance, the CARES act protects consumers from having to make a lump sum payment. Instead, you will be given a repayment plan from your provider. Since repayment options vary, it's important you ask your provider about all of your repayment options.

Possible Repayment Options:

You may be eligible for a loan modification at the end of your forbearance. With modification, the mortgage terms are changed in order to add payments that were missed during the forbearance onto the end of the loan, extending the term.

Another option that may work for some is a reduced payment option. This allows you to keep paying monthly payments at a reduced amount. The amount missed is usually added back into the monthly payments at the end of the forbearance.

For example:

Regular payment: $1000 per month

Reduced payment: $500 per month

Payment after forbearance period: $1500 (until caught up)

Balloon payments, or lump sum payments at the end of the forbearance, are prohibited under the CARES Act. However, mortgage lenders may require homeowners who are not protected under the CARES Act to make a balloon payment at the end, so again it is best to check first with your provider.

Mortgage forbearance should only be considered in true financial hardship. In other words, just because of the pandemic, you should not take a forbearance on your mortgage if you can still afford your payments. Likewise, if you are able to start making payments before the forbearance period is up, it's best to do so as soon as possible.

The Next Steps:

Before you get in touch with your mortgage servicer, save time by gathering as much documentation about the mortgage as you can. Also, be ready to list your income and monthly expenses. Due to an influx in calls, financial institutions are experiencing extremely long wait times right now, and having your information at the ready will help.

Have questions ready to ask. Here are some questions you should be asking:

  • What fees are associated with the forbearance?
  • What are all the repayment options available to you at the end of the forbearance?
  • Will you be charged interest during the forbearance period?

If your forbearance is approved, make sure to keep all documentation pertaining to it. Make sure to cancel any automatic payments to the mortgage during the forbearance period, and keep tabs on your credit report to make sure your lender doesn't report the loan as unpaid.


For more information on forbearance, contact your lender and discuss your options. If you need more assistance with understanding your options, you can contact a local agent for the housing counseling agency, or call their hotline at 1-800-569-4287.