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    Tips for Balancing Your First Checkbook

    Last updated 4 months ago

    One of the simplest things you can do to stay on top of your finances is balance your checkbook, but for many people, this is a dying art. Although you can manage your credit union accounts online, balancing your checkbook is still important.

    This video explains the step-by-step process of balancing your checkbook. You can use your online credit union accounts to compare to your checkbook entries to verify deposits, withdrawals, and pending transactions. Doing this will help you keep a closer eye on what is going into and out of your account. 

    Help with financial management is always available to members of GCS Credit Union. Get answers to your questions about credit union membership and more by calling (618) 219-8600.

    Is a Second Mortgage Right for You?

    Last updated 4 months ago

    A second mortgage can be a smart option to raise money when you need it. However, because your house is on the line, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons carefully. One of the best ways to determine if a second mortgage is the right way to raise money for your needs is to sit down with a representative from your credit union to explore your options. If you’re considering a second mortgage, here is what you need to know. 

    What Is a Second Mortgage?

    A second mortgage allows you to tap into the equity in your home when you need money. Your home equity is the difference between your initial mortgage loan and the remaining balance on that loan. There are two types of second mortgages: home equity loans and home equity lines of credit. Home equity loans function much like your initial mortgage, though typically with a higher interest rate. A home equity line of credit works like a credit card with a specific portion of your equity as the credit limit. You can borrow as needed and repay as you go, never taking out more than your equity at any time.

    What Are Second Mortgages Used For?

    A second mortgage can be used for anything you want, from taking a vacation to buying a car. Many people use second mortgages to cover home renovations or college tuition. What you plan to use your second mortgage for impacts which type is right for you. Ask your credit union to help you decide whether to apply for a home equity loan or a line of credit.

    Is a Second Mortgage Better Than a Personal Loan?

    Whether you need a second mortgage or a personal loan will depend on a number of factors. Remember that a second mortgage uses your house as collateral, so you could lose your home if you default on payments. Discuss your plans for your loan with a credit union representative, who can help you make the right choice.

    Are you considering a second mortgage? Make an appointment at GCS Credit Union to learn more about our loan products. You can reach our O’Fallon credit union by calling (618) 219-8600.

    Increase Your 401(k) with This Advice

    Last updated 4 months ago

    Falling behind on retirement savings is a national epidemic. Gen Xers are facing a particularly difficult situation. They are saving less, adding up more debt than previous generations, and expected to reach retirement age when Social Security runs out. However, retirement difficulties don’t have to happen to you. No matter what your age, you can take control of your 401(k) to boost your retirement savings. 

    Start by making sure you’re taking advantage of every opportunity you have to save. For instance, if your employer matches contributions, focus on putting the maximum amount in each year. From there, look at ways to diversify your investments so you can cushion additional risk from a few high-risk, high-reward stocks. You can even consider investing in EFTs and ETPs.

    Talk to a representative at GCS Credit Union about your retirement savings plan. Our full-service credit union has savings options that can help, plus we offer the best rates on auto financing, checking accounts, and more. Call us today at (618) 219-8600 to learn about membership. 

    Learn the Truth Behind Credit Union Misconceptions

    Last updated 4 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 4 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. 

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