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    Learn the Truth Behind Credit Union Misconceptions

    Last updated 3 months ago

    If you’ve been thinking about making the jump from a bank to a credit union, what are you waiting for? For many people, misconceptions about credit unions and what they offer hold them back from making the switch, when in reality, becoming a credit union member has a long list of benefits. The following information may help you make up your mind about applying for membership. 

    It’s Hard to Join a Credit Union

    Long ago, credit union membership was reserved only for very specific groups. Today, almost everyone is eligible for membership in some credit union. You could qualify simply based on where you live or work. If you’re interested in a credit union, chances are that there is one out there for you.

    Your Money Isn’t Safe in a Credit Union

    Funds in credit unions aren’t FDIC-secured, like funds in banks are, but that doesn’t mean that they’re not safe. The National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF) insures credit union funds in most cases. This insurance works like FDIC insurance, so you can operate with the same confidence with your money in a credit union account as you would with your money in a bank account. When a credit union doesn’t have NCUSIF insurance, it has private insurance instead.

    Credit Unions Offer Fewer Services

    Credit unions offer the same services you’ll find at any bank, from checking accounts and debit cards to auto loans and mortgages. Credit unions often offer perks to their members, like discounts at local businesses. Additionally, credit unions can offer something banks can’t—a personal touch. Credit unions don’t have customers; instead, they have member-owners. Because a credit union doesn’t have to answer to shareholders, it can take a broader view of members’ financial positions when considering things like loan applications.

    Tap into the benefits of credit union membership yourself by joining GCS Credit Union. We can help with your checking account, debit card, auto financing, and much more. Start the process of becoming a member by calling (618) 219-8600. 

    Tips for Teaching Kids About Saving by Giving Them an Allowance

    Last updated 3 months ago

    Providing an allowance can be a powerful way to teach children about the real value of money and the importance of saving. Learn more about how an allowance can be turned into a financial lesson for your child by watching this video.

    Start by tying your child’s allowance to the completion of chores, so he or she learns how hard work can bring financial rewards. Help your child find something he or she really wants to buy and encourage him or her save up for it. Be sure to also teach your child to save a portion of his or her allowance each week in a savings account that can’t be touched.

    At GCS Credit Union, we have a variety of age-appropriate savings account options to help your little one build healthy financial habits. To learn more about membership in our O’Fallon credit union and all of our account options, call (618) 219-8600. 

    Tips for Tackling Debt in Your 20s

    Last updated 3 months ago

    Between student loans, credit cards, and car payments, many 20-somethings find themselves waking up to the burden of debt. How you cope with the debt you carry in your 20s can have a dramatic impact on your financial future. At GCS Credit Union, we’re invested in the financial futures of our members and are here to help you make smart choices about managing your debt. Don’t let debt control you—these tips will help you come out on top. 

    Know Where Your Money Is Going

    You know how much you have to pay on your bills each month, but that is only half of the picture. Most people don’t really know how much money they’re spending on seemingly inconsequential purchases, like coffees, lunch, and even parking. Get on top of your money by tracking your expenses each month. You may be surprised at how much money you’re throwing away. Seeing your spending habits will help you identify changes you can make that aren’t painful so you can redirect your money towards paying down your debt.

    Forget Minimum Payments

    If you only pay minimum payments, you’re making your debt more expensive. Paying more than the minimum lets you pay off debts early, saving you money on interest. Whenever possible, pay extra each month, even if it is only a few dollars extra. You may want to focus on paying off your highest-interest debt first by diverting all of your extra cash to that account until it is paid off.

    Get Help When You Need It

    If you’re drowning in debt, the worst thing you can do is ignore it. Reach out to your creditors and work out payment plans. You may be able to postpone payments and extend your repayment period to lower your monthly payments. By taking fast action when you fall behind, you can help preserve your credit.

    GCS Credit Union in O’Fallon is here to help you learn to manage your finances and make good choices about auto loans, personal loans, and more. Our full-service credit union offers checking accounts, debit cards, and a variety of savings options.  Call us at (618) 219-8600 to find out more.

    Decoding the Rule of 72

    Last updated 4 months ago

    Learning to maximize your savings potential means really understanding how savings accounts work. At GCS Credit Union, we offer a variety of accounts for savers of all ages, starting with our Cub Club for all members 10 and younger. These accounts are designed to help parents teach their kids valuable tools to manage their own finances. One of the most important rules young savers can learn is the Rule of 72.

    The Rule of 72 helps savers figure out how compound interest works and how long it takes to double your investment with compound interest. The simple formula goes as follows: divide 72 by the interest rate on the account. The result is the number of years it will take for the money to double.

    Use the Rule of 72 to help your kids visualize long-term savings goals. At GCS Credit Union, we have plenty more advice for savers of all ages. Find out more about joining our O’Fallon credit union by calling (618) 219-8600.

    Getting Yourself Financially Ready to Buy a House

    Last updated 4 months ago

    Buying a home is likely to be the biggest financial step you take in your life. It’s important to take the time to be sure you’re in the right place fiscally before you make the leap. The first step is to sit down with a representative from your credit union to learn the ins and outs of mortgages, so you understand the process and the responsibilities that come with your loan. If home ownership is your goal, here are some other things you can do to put yourself in the right financial position. 

    Work on Your Credit Score

    Your credit score is one of the most significant factors affecting your ability to purchase a home. The higher your credit score is, the better the interest rates from your credit union will be. Lower scores indicate that you have had financial difficulties in the past, so you’ll be offered higher rates to offset the risk that you could fall behind on your payments. Check your credit report before you apply for a mortgage and have any incorrect negative information that may be dragging down your score removed. If your score is below 620, you may want to work on paying down some debt and letting your score increase before you apply for a home loan.

    Build Up a Down Payment

    20% of a home’s price is the gold standard for down payments. This kind of down payment helps keep your mortgage payment as low as possible. However, it’s important to talk to your credit union about your options. It may be possible to get a mortgage with a smaller down payment or even no down payment at all.

    Check Your Budget

    Before you start shopping for your home, triple-check your monthly budget numbers. Remember that you’ll have expenses beyond your mortgage, including insurance, HOA fees, and any necessary home repairs.

    Sit down with a loan expert at O’Fallon’s GCS Credit Union for great advice on purchasing your first home. Our credit union offers competitive rates for auto loans, mortgages, personal loans and more. Get answers to your questions about our credit union services by calling (618) 219-8600. 

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