Associates Today

Your good health:

With over 50% of Americans having less than $1,000 in savings, it’s time to focus on financial education. Everyone is responsible for their own financial freedom; you should not think you can depend on the government for help in the future.

It’s a challenge to attain that financial freedom and security. Young adults, particularly, can benefit greatly if they can turn around bad spending habits NOW and begin to save.

Here are a few tips:
→ Assess your finances. Are you in debt? Whether it’s credit cards, student or other outstanding loans, these must be addressed first. Quite bluntly, you need to learn to live on less until you are caught up.

→ Make a budget and stick to it! You can use a budget app to help you, but the simplest thing to do is take paper and pen and write down, in categories, how you spend your money every month. Write down EVERYTHING, including those daily snacks and last-minute indulgences. Don’t forget quarterly or annual expenses like insurance and property taxes. Figure out how you can spend LESS than you earn.

A drastic spending cut may be necessary, so you need to decide where you can stop or reduce your expenses. You may want to stop using credit cards or reduce dining out or what you spend on food and clothes every month. Until you write it down and begin to track how you spend your money, you won’t be able to change and improve your situation.

→ Once on a budget, save the difference! Whether your goal is to pay-down debt or save for retirement, make those little steps NOW to get on track. For long-term savings, of course, automatic deductions right from your paycheck is the best solution so you will not be tempted to spend that money.

→ Make sure you’re having the appropriate amount of taxes taken out of your paycheck. You might be giving the government too much money during the year which you could be saving or contributing to your 401(k) account. Or you might need to have more taken out of your paycheck, so you’re not stuck with a big tax bill every April. If there is a change in your life, like getting married, divorced or having a baby, be sure to let your payroll manager know.

→ If you have children, do them a favor and start teaching them to save money when they are young. An old-fashioned piggy bank, or saving toward the purchase of a special item, is a good way to start.


Did you know? (Source:;

  • Fewer than 1 in 10 US adults and adolescents eat enough fruits and vegetables.
  • US diets are high in added sugars, sodium and saturated fats.
  • One of the leading causes of obesity is an imbalance of calories. When you eat more than you burn, your body stores the extra energy as fat. Over time, the pounds can begin to pile on.

What can you do?

  • Eat more servings of vegetables and fruits. The daily recommendation for fruit and vegetable intake is five to nine servings per day for adults. Filling your plate with veggies and fruit can help keep calories reasonable and reduce the risk of overeating.
  • Get the family involved in your journey. Whether cooking with family or going on walks with friends, getting people involved can help to encourage a healthy lifestyle. Try this recipe for a lighter version of a classic, Pasta Primavera!
  • Engage in regular aerobic activity. The CDC recommends 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 mins. of vigorous aerobic activity per week. Try this 15-Minute Cardio Workout!


Maybe you’re thinking about refinancing your home because your credit score has improved since you closed on your home or you’re thinking about switching the type of loan you have. Or, you’re just excited about rates dropping to historical lows at this moment.  As of the March 3, 2020, interest rates are at some of the lowest the real estate industry has seen.

Let’s dig into home refinance and see if it’s a good fit for you.

How does a home refinance work?
There can be a lot of benefits to refinancing your home loan, but just like when you applied for your original loan, you’ll need to make sure you shop for rates, have the right supporting documents and fill out a home refinance loan application.

Why You Might Want to Refinance a Home Loan

To change your rate type. If you currently have an adjustable-rate mortgage, it means your payment could increase or decrease as interest rates changes after a certain period—often five or seven years (depending on your mortgage agreement). If you know you’d like to stay in your home longer, or just want a steadier long-term payment, making the change to a fixed rate could be the right switch.

Gain access to your equity. While you’ve made payments on your home, you may have built up some equity, especially if home values have also gone up. You may be eligible to cash out a portion of your equity with a refinance. This is known as a “Cash-Out Refinance” and can be a smart way to pay off other debt, make a large purchase or even finance home improvements.

Change the loan term. By changing the length of the loan (let’s say you have a 30-year mortgage and switch to 20 or 15 years) you could save money with a lower interest rate.

Lower the interest rate and payment. Lowering your interest rate on your home loan with a refinance can lower your payment overall. If your credit has improved since you bought your house, or there’s a drop in the market rates, you may be able to save a significant amount of money.

Frequently Asked Refinancing Questions

“What happens to my credit score if I do want to apply for a home loan refinance?”
Any “hard inquiry” when submitting an application may take a few points off of your credit score for a little bit of time, but if you have a good score to begin with you shouldn’t see a large impact. And if you are rate shopping, multiple applications within a 30 day window are counted as one “hard inquiry.”

Something to keep in mind: If your home loan is one of the longest loans you have in your credit history and you choose to refinance, you may see a slight impact to your score because a refinance will restart the length of that loan.

“Should I think about refinancing if I’ve already paid 10-15 years into my fixed 30 year mortgage?”
This is ultimately your decision as a home owner, but it will be important to determine how long it will take to reach the point where your savings from a home refinance offsets the cost of refinancing. Your mortgage loan officer can help calculate any of this!

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recommends looking into how much equity you’ve put into your home so far before refinancing your home. In the early years of a home loan, the more of the payment is going towards the interest on the home. When you refinance, you’re beginning that process over and not putting as much equity into your home.

In these cases, one particular benefit of refinancing may be to refinance with a shorter term (creating bigger savings in the long run).

“Are there prepayment penalties on my existing home loan?”
A prepayment penalty is rare for home loans, but they can happen depending on your situation. The good news is that there are time restrictions for prepayment penalties for up to three years thanks to the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. You can read more about that here. *We don’t want to get into legal jargon, but it’s important to know your rights as a home owner.

“Is refinancing available for other types of home loans, like Jumbo or First Time Homebuyer?”
It depends on your situation, but typically there are refinancing options available. You can reach out to one of our mortgage loan officers for more information.

“But is now really the best time to refinance? Are we SURE the rates won’t go lower any time soon?”
The fact is that the market can be really unpredictable. We don’t know what the rates will be a year from now. If you’re comfortable in your research and know refinancing is a good move for your home loan, it may be the perfect time for you.

What matters to you, matters to us. We believe in people helping people and your home loan refinance should be no different. You can speak with one of our awesome, experienced Mortgage Loan Officers to see if now’s a good time to refinance at 877-269-4179.

Questions? Contact Teresa Evans at or reach our Columbus branch at 1-614-888-2299. Together Credit Union is an equal opportunity lender.

Completed Projects:

  • Driver iPads – Suppling the drivers with iPads that contain their routes. This gives the drivers the ability to reconcile the invoices as they deliver each stop. Went live in Lorain and Columbus on March 16. Will be going live in Ohio Valley and Heidelberg Cincinnati early Q2.
  • Kentucky, Youngstown, and Ohio Valley iPads were replaced utilizing asset lifecycle management.

Ongoing Projects:

  • SD-WAN – Replacement of internet connections solution in each location giving IT the ability to increase response and resolution time.
  • Retail Price Communication – A solution provided by VIP that communicates our monthly pricing to our chains.

Upcoming Projects:

  • Brand Builder – VIP’s digital product catalog that helps to tell the stories of our brands, to suggest similar brands, and to educate our retailers and consumers.
  • EasyOps / EasyPick – Testing of a browser-based VIP tool to perform daily warehouse tasks and a UPC scan-to-pick system. 

Asset Refresh:

  • Utilizing asset lifecycle management to systematically drive efficiency through performance, flexibility, and cost management. Kentucky, Youngstown, and Ohio Valley to have desktop and laptops replaced.

Monthly Tip & Trick:
How to change notifications for Zoom Messages

You can change your message notifications for Zoom through the settings. You can adjust your settings for an individual group or all groups. You can also set do not disturb hours and choose not to receive notifications while you are in a meeting.

Change Notifications for all Group Chats

1. Log in to your Zoom client.

2. Click on Settings.

3. Select the Chat tab.

4. This will pull up the chat notification options.

  • Keep all unread messages on top: Places unread messages at the top of your chats panel.
  • Show unread message badge for channels: Displays the number of unread messages beside each channel name in your chats panel.
  • Push Notification: This only applies for group chats. You will still receive notifications for chat messages with an individual user.
    • All messages: Select this to receive notifications for all messages that you receive.
    • Only direct messages, mentions: Select this to only receive a message when you are tagged (i.e. @Your Name) or @all is tagged.
    • Nothing: Select this to receive no notifications for group messages.
    • With exceptions for: Click on this to set up which channels you want to have exceptions for. Change the radio buttons for individual channels.
    • Automatically disable notifications from: Set a do not disturb time when you will not receive any notifications.
    • Pause notifications while I am in a meeting or internal call: Select this if you do not want to receive notifications while you are in a Zoom meeting.