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    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 3 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 3 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. 

    Easy Ways to Pay Down Your Car Loan Faster

    Last updated 4 months ago

    Any time you have a loan, paying off more than the minimum requirement each month will save you money in the long run. When it comes to your car loan, paying it down faster will save you money in interest. Watch this video for simple ways to save up some extra money to put towards your car loan. 

    Take a close look at your expenses and see where you could cut back. Start carrying your lunch to work and cook at home more instead of dining out. Clip coupons for food and cleaning supplies. Even paying an extra $25 or $50 each month could add up to a few extra car payments per year.

    At GCS Credit Union, we can help you find the right auto financing for your budget. Call our O’Fallon credit union today at (618) 219-8600 to find out more.  

    How to Start Saving for Retirement in Your 40s

    Last updated 4 months ago

    When it comes to retirement savings, the earlier you start saving, the better. However, many people don’t wake up to the reality of building a retirement nest egg until they are in their 40s. If you’ve hit your 40s and suddenly started thinking about how you’ll support yourself in your golden years, don’t worry. You still have time to get your savings in line and enjoy a comfortable retirement. Start by talking to an expert at GCS Credit Union about our savings products and what role our accounts can play in your overall plan. Here are some ways to start saving up for your retirement in your 40s. 

    Re-Evaluate Your Budget

    To catch up on your savings, reconsider your spending priorities and divert as much money as you can to your retirement accounts. For instance, now may not be the best time to spend money on an extravagant vacation or a home addition. By putting the money you would spend on those things into your retirement accounts, you can quickly build up your balance. When you get a windfall, such as a bonus at work, funnel it into your retirement account for even faster savings.

    Keep Investing in You

    Most people maximize their earnings during their 50s, so there is a good chance that your highest-earning years are still in front of you. Make sure you position yourself to take advantage of all the opportunities that present themselves by investing in yourself. Take classes to stay competitive in your field and take advantage of networking events and training opportunities. The increased income your advanced credentials could bring will enable you to boost your savings.

    Build a Safety Net

    Try to shield yourself from financial disasters that could derail your savings plans. Make sure that you have adequate life, car, and home insurance to protect yourself and your family. It also pays to take care of your health, as medical expenses and long-term care needs can eat up your savings.

    GCS Credit Union is invested in the lifetime financial health of our members. Our O’Fallon credit union offers a comprehensive range of services, including debit cards, checking accounts, and auto loans. Learn more by calling us at (618) 219-8600. 

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