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    Advice for Talking to Your College Student about Credit Cards

    Last updated 2 months ago

    Credit cards can be a valuable tool for college students, but they can also cause trouble if they come with high interest rates and spending limits. You can help your child avoid the common traps of high-limit credit cards by offering advice with the helpful tips below.

    Understand how credit scores work
    Using a credit card is the best way to build credit, so your child should not avoid a credit card altogether. Instead, you will want to teach your child that credit cards are beneficial when they are used for purchases that money is already set aside for. You might need to run your credit score as well as your child’s so that you have a visual demonstration of how certain purchases affect this number.

    Set clear limits
    It is ideal to start out with a credit card that has a limit of $500 or lower. There are many student credit cards with this type of limit offering incentives and rewards for certain purchases. You will want to explain to your child that it is important to stick to this limit and use it only for certain types of spending. Purchasing text books with a credit card can be a great strategy for the semester, but putting monthly expenses like rent on a credit card can be problematic.

    Consult a professional
    You may be just as overwhelmed as your child when it comes to credit card choices for college, so you might need to talk to a financial expert at your credit union to determine which cards are best for your child.

    At GCS Credit Union, you can find options for student checking and savings accounts as well as financial guidance for any stage of life. Connect with our O’Fallon-area branch by calling us at (618) 219-8600 or visiting our website. 

    How to Make Sticking to a Budget a Breeze

    Last updated 2 months ago

    It may seem easy to write out a budget, but the real challenge is actually sticking to that goal. This video offers personalized tips for different kinds of spenders who may struggle with a monthly budget.

    You might use tools like end-of-month rewards or email alerts to keep your spending in check each month. If you are still having trouble with sticking to your budget, you might ask friends and family members for help reminding you to watch your money and keep your purchases more modest.

    At GCS Credit Union, you can find the latest tools and affordable accounts to help you manage your money more effectively. You can open an account with us by visiting our website or calling our O’Fallon location at (618) 219-8600. 

    Financial Accounts Your Child Should Have Before College

    Last updated 2 months ago

    Learning the importance of saving money and wise spending is an essential part of growing up, and it is up to parents to help their children learn these lessons with the right accounts and banking services. More credit unions and financial institutions are offering products tuned to the financial needs of kids and teens, so you should take advantage of these services to pave the way for a sound financial future for your children. 

    Savings Account
    You can open a savings account for your child when he or she is very young, and this will be an excellent way to encourage family members to contribute to your child’s future. As your child gets older, he or she can make contributions too and learn how money grows when it is put away wisely.

    Checking Account with Debit Card
    Once your child gets his or her first job in high school, it may be time to open up a checking account with a linked debit card. Using a debit card will teach your child to monitor spending and manage money without handling cash. Just remember, the checking account will also be the first account that your child can actually withdraw money from, so you should still keep a close eye on it and remind your child of the habits of a responsible spender.

    Credit Card
    In order to build credit, it is necessary to open a credit card, but many teens and young adults are not fully aware of the responsibility that comes with credit card use. To get your child off to a good start, you might cosign on a low-limit credit card for everyday use as well as a higher-limit card only used for special purchases that you might help pay off. This way, your child will be less tempted to fall into the predatory trap that bigger credit card companies set up on college campuses.

    For help getting your child off to the right start with his or her money, visit GCS Credit Union in O’Fallon. Call us at (618) 219-8600 or visit our website to learn about our special services for kids and teens. 

    GCS Credit Union Insurance Options

    Last updated 2 months ago

    If you are shopping for insurance and you are a member at GCS Credit Union, you may find the most affordable options with our TruStage insurance programs. We provide our members with exclusive opportunities for auto and home insurance as well as life insurance policies that can help secure your financial future.

    TruStage is partnered with select insurance carriers to provide discounted rates and 24/7 claims service for our members. You may be surprised to see how much you can save by shopping for a new policy with us. Life insurance offered through TruStage is exclusively for members, and it is designed to provide the most affordable options for any budget.

    To explore more of the benefits of being a GCS Credit Union member in O’Fallon, visit our website or call us at (618) 219-8600. We have been providing sound financial advice and unbeatable lending services in Illinois since 1941 with a consistent focus on our members’ needs. 

    Your Guide to Life Insurance

    Last updated 2 months ago

    If you are worried about the financial security of your family, life insurance can provide you with the peace of mind that comes with a stable source of income for your spouse or loved ones after your death. There are several different types of life insurance policies, and they can be relatively affordable or come with high premiums and tax-deferred savings. To better understand which policy will be right for you and your family, read more about the basics of life insurance below. 

    What types of coverage are available
    The most affordable type of life insurance coverage is term life insurance, which pays out a lump sum intended for use over a set period of time. This type of policy is best for the replacement of income during working years, and it may be fit to cover college expenses or mortgage payments. Pure term policies like whole-life insurance and universal life insurance are designed to provide lifetime coverage to beneficiaries, but this type of coverage does come with a higher price tag. Unlike more affordable policies, however, whole-life insurance does have cash value with tax-deferred savings that can accumulate over time.

    How to purchase a policy
    You might begin your policy shopping online, because it is easy to gather several quotes and compare rates across different companies. A great place to start your search is with your local credit union, which is more dedicated to your financial security than other insurance providers.

    When to consider life insurance
    Ideally, you should purchase life insurance when you are healthy and relatively young. While you may not need a policy until you have dependents, you should consider buying while your dependents are very young. This will help you avoid higher premiums and steep monthly payments on your policy.

    To explore your life insurance options with free quotes and exclusive offers for members, connect with GCS Credit Union in O’Fallon. We provide coverage with TruStage Life Insurance Plans underwritten by CMFG Life Insurance Company. You can learn more about these plans and our other unique services by visiting our website or calling (618) 219-8600.

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