GCS Credit Union
GCS is a full-service financial institution serving the following counties in Illinois: Sangamon, Logan, Macon, Marion, Jefferson, Perry, Jackson, Williamson, Jersey, Macoupin, Montgomery, Madison, Bond, Clinton, St. Clair, Monroe, Washington and Randolph.

The Dos and Don'ts of Buying a Car

If you’re in the market for a car, you know how many decisions you have to make along the way to finding your perfect ride. Since cars are one of the biggest purchases most people ever make, it is important to take your time and make the right choices for your wallet and your lifestyle. As you consider your options for buying a car, keep these dos and don’ts in mind.

DO: Research Your Purchase Before You Buy

Before you start car shopping, research some of the models you are considering buying. Investigate reviews, quality ratings, trim options, and long-term value. All of these things will help you select a car that meets your needs, is safe and reliable, and has the features you want at a price you can afford. If you see any promotions from car dealerships that catch your attention, be sure to read the small print, so you know exactly what make and model is being offered.

DON’T: Focus on the Monthly Payment

Of course, having a monthly payment you can afford is important, but focusing on the overall price of the car, including the interest rate, will help you know if you are getting a good deal. Look at the total price of the car, keeping in mind that, with good credit, it should cost about $20 for every $1,000 financed for a 60-month auto loan. Although there are variations in that price based on credit history, it is a good guideline to remember when evaluating the deal you’re getting.

DO: Get Advice from Your Credit Union

Not only can your credit union almost certainly offer a lower rate on a loan than a dealership, but they are also motivated for you to make smart financial decisions. As nonprofit, member-owned institutions, credit unions listen to your needs and can advise you how much you can afford to spend on a car.

GCS Credit Union offers competitive rates on auto loans in O’Fallon and can help you make the right choice about your car purchase. Contact our credit union today by calling (618) 797-7993.

Teens: Landing, Surviving, and Profiting from Your First Job

A first job is a rite of passage for teens. Not only does having a job mean spending money, but it also gives teens a chance to learn about responsibility, work ethic, and financial management. Whether you’re a teen getting ready to start your first job or a parent who wants to give their working teen some solid advice, here is what you need to know to make this experience a success.

Landing the Job

Before you start working, you’ve got to make it through the interview process. No matter what the style of the workplace is, you should show up to your interview dressed professionally. Being on time for your interview is critical—show up a little early so you don’t run the risk of being late. Do some research about the company before you go, and be ready to answer questions about your schedule, school, goals, and why you think you would be a good fit for the position.

Surviving the Job

If you feel overwhelmed when you start working, don’t worry—that happens to everyone. The most important thing you can do is stick to your schedule closely and always be on time for your shifts. When you’re working, stay off your phone, and pay attention to the task at hand. Stay positive and polite with your boss, co-workers, and the public.

Profiting from the Job

One of the biggest lessons you’ll take away from your first job is managing your paychecks. Start by opening a checking account and savings account. GCS Credit Union offers the Student Success Account Package, which gives you the tools you need to track your spending, save money, and get used to using a debit card responsibly. Decide to save a little money from each paycheck, so you don’t leave the job without anything to show for it.

GCS Credit Union can walk you through the process of getting your first credit union accounts, so you’re ready when the pay starts coming in from your first job. For more information about opening an account at our credit union in O’Fallon, call (618) 797-7993.

Automate Your Savings with Kasasa Cash

Are you ready to make saving easier than ever? If so, then you need to take advantage of Kasasa Saver along with your free Kasasa Cash checking account. With Kasasa Saver, the rewards you earn with the Kasasa Cash account will be transferred to your savings automatically. You get a 0.50% APY monthly on your savings when you meet your rewards requirements, so you can watch your savings grow quickly.

With a linked Kasasa Cash checking account, all you have to do is make at least 12 posted and settled debit card purchases each month, be enrolled and receive an eStatement notice, and be enrolled and log into your online banking account. If you do these things, you’ll earn rewards that will automatically transfer to your Kasasa Savings account.

At GCS Credit Union, we’re committed helping you reach your financial goals by providing a range of financial products to get you there, from checking accounts and auto loans to Visa Rewards cards and home mortgage loans in O’Fallon. To learn more about our credit union, please call (618) 797-7993.

Is Mobile Banking Safe?

Information security is a major concern these days, and unfortunately, it’s making some credit union members hesitate to take advantage of mobile banking. It’s always important to be aware of where your personal information is going, but, as you’ll learn when you watch this featured video, mobile banking is quite safe.

When you use the mobile banking app from your credit union, it essentially serves as a secure tunnel to the institution. Since proprietary banking apps do not use Web browsers, they don’t fall prey to phishing scams. They also work with the financial institution’s personal security algorithms. Just remember to log out of the app when you’re done with your transaction.

To learn more about mobile and online banking in O’Fallon, talk to a member representative at GCS Credit Union. Call us at (618) 797-7993.

IRA FAQs and Answers for Young Adults

As a young adult, you’re probably juggling a lot. In the midst of moving into your own apartment, saving up for a house, dealing with car repairs, and paying off student debt, it can seem like retirement isn’t much of a priority. But the simple truth is that time will always pass more quickly than you think it will, especially as you grow older. The sooner you start saving up for retirement, the more comfortable and secure you’ll be later on. You have many retirement savings options, including IRAs. Talk to a credit union member representative about your plans.

What is an IRA?

This acronym stands for Individual Retirement Account. In other words, it’s a savings account that is intended specifically for retirement savings. IRAs are opened through financial institutions. You’ll transfer money to your IRA during the coming decades, and these funds will be used to invest in stocks, bonds, and mutual funds.

Why should I open an IRA? Can’t I just invest the money directly?

Yes, you certainly can add stocks, bonds, and mutual funds to your portfolio without opening up an IRA. However, IRAs have their own special benefits. Up to the limits established by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), your contributions to your IRA are tax deductible. This means your quarterly or annual tax liability is reduced. The funds in your IRA are also tax-deferred. This means you won’t owe taxes on the gains until you withdraw the money.

What’s the difference between Roth IRAs and traditional IRAs?

These are the two main types of IRAs. They differ primarily in tax breaks. With a traditional IRA, the money you contribute for any given year is tax deductible for that year. With a Roth IRA, you pay income taxes on the money now, before it’s transferred to the account. This means your contributions aren’t tax deductible, but you won’t pay any taxes on the money you withdraw during your retirement.

At GCS Credit Union, we do much more than just online checking accounts and auto loans. We also offer personalized financial guidance for our members, including retirement planning. Call (618) 797-7993 to join our credit union near O’Fallon, and ask us about our traditional and Roth IRA plans.

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