Getty images

Amazon Prime started out as the online shopping giant's two-day free shipping service. Now the $100 a year subscription ($50 a year for students) has expanded well beyond that. Customers still get two-day free shipping, but the package includes so much more. It really is the best deal you'll find anywhere.

First, you get free two-day shipping. If you order regularly from Amazon or hate waiting for your packages, this is already a great perk. If not, it's just the icing on the cake.

Second, you get access to all kinds of media hosted on Amazon — including Prime Video and Prime Music. Prime Video is a streaming service similar to Netflix. Their catalog is slightly different from other services, but it still offers a wide range of shows and movies. Amazon even has their own award-winning original programs. If that's not enough, you can rent or purchase new releases right from your account. Prime Music is Amazon's answer to Spotify. There is a limited catalog available to Prime subscribers, but customers can also upgrade to Prime Music Unlimited for $8 a month. (Non-Prime members would pay $10 a month.)

Third, you get unlimited cloud storage for all of your photos. By downloading the Prime Photos app, you can back up all of your pictures and videos. And then clear up much needed space on your phone. The photos are stored safely in the cloud forever. You can browse through them with the app and re-download anything you want.

Fourth, you get the Prime Reading library. This is a limited selection of ebooks and magazines that any Prime member can read for free. You can check out different titles indefinitely with no due dates. These titles can be read on any Kindle device or in the Kindle app. If you want more selection, you can subscribe to Kindle Unlimited for $10 a month. This service lets you read all the ebooks and audiobooks you want. Additionally, Prime members get early access to new Kindle releases at the beginning of each month. Kindle First allows members to purchase one of six new release Kindle books for free. That's 12 free books a year.

Fifth, members can order groceries online with Prime Pantry. This services has some limitations. Only specific products are eligible for pantry orders and it doesn't include any fresh produce. It's all dry goods for your pantry. What's nice is that you can also set up recurring orders. You'll never have to worry about buying toilet paper again.

Sixth, with Amazon's purchase of Whole Foods Market, Prime members will receive even more benefits in store. Select Whole Foods products will become available with Prime Pantry. Prices will be cut in store for all shoppers. More price cuts will be available to Prime members. Amazon Lockers will also be available at select Whole Foods stores. You can pick up Amazon.com orders there or use the lockers to send back a return.

Lastly, Amazon is constantly adding perks and benefits to your Prime membership without raising the cost. This is quite the deal if you're interested in what Amazon has to offer.

Subscribe to PayPath Newsletter
PayPath
Follow Us on

It's easy to forget that the presidency of the United States is a government job just like any other–in that it comes with a stipulated salary and benefits.

But regardless of their bombastic rhetoric or self-serious public image, politicians are like all other government employees. The president, vice president, and legislators earn an annual income from the government in exchange for their duties, which include: executing/circumventing the law, upholding/withholding the civil liberties of American citizens, and legislating/sabotaging how societal institutions meet the needs of citizens, from healthcare to education.

If you've ever wondered what American politicians earn for all their hard work arguing across the aisle and starting Twitter feuds, look no further:

Keep reading Show less

Maybe you've had a high stress occupation before, like social work or stock trading, and fell victim to the high burnout rate of these kinds of jobs.

Or maybe you're just starting your career, and looking for something that won't take over your life but will still provide you with a good living. Whatever reason you have for looking for a high paying, low-stress job, you've come to the right place. We've compiled a list of the top 5 jobs that promise a solid paycheck without taking too much out of you.

Keep reading Show less

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.