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    Deciding If You're Ready to Buy a House

    Last updated 4 months ago

    Buying a home is one of the most exciting—and biggest—decisions you can make. The most significant concern most people have is whether they are financially ready to qualify for and pay a mortgage, but there are other factors at play as well. If you think you’re ready to start house shopping, it is important to get your credit union involved early in the process. They can help you understand how much house you can afford and what you need to do to get a home loan. Should you invest in your first home? Here are some things to consider.

    Do You Have a Down Payment?

    You’ll get the best deal on your mortgage if you can put down a good-sized down payment. Expect to pay about 20% of a house’s asking price to get a competitive loan. There are ways around having a sizeable down payment, including taking out a piggy-back personal loan, but getting a mortgage without a down payment could force you to pay more for your home for longer. Likewise, if you don’t have a down payment, you’ll be slow to build equity in your house. If you were ever forced to sell the home quickly, you could lose money.

    Is Your Income Reliable?

    Investing in a home means taking on a long-term financial obligation. If your job is less than stable or if you plan on making another big financial leap, like starting a family, then make sure you will still be able to meet your mortgage payments before you buy a home.

    Have You Checked Your Credit Score?

    The better your credit score, the better the rates you will get on your mortgage. If your score could use a little work, get current on your payments before thinking about a mortgage. Also be sure to have any incorrect information removed from your report.

    Let GCS Credit Union in O’Fallon help you get ready to buy your first home. In addition to our convenient checking accounts and debit cards, we offer great rates on mortgages. Start exploring the possibilities today by calling our credit union at (618) 219-8600. 

    What Is a Money Market Account?

    Last updated 4 months ago

    If you’re looking for a way to earn a higher interest rate on the money you’re saving, a money market account may be right for you. This type of savings account functions differently from traditional accounts and gives you more flexibility when you manage your money. 

    Money market accounts are savings accounts, but unlike traditional savings accounts, they typically come with a checkbook. The number of withdrawals and checks you can use every month is limited. The interest rates on money market accounts are also higher than traditional savings accounts’. There is usually a higher minimum balance requirement for opening a money market account.

    Is a money market account right for you? Make an appointment at GCS Credit Union to find out. We offer several different savings options, including traditional savings, money market accounts, and CDs. Our O’Fallon credit union has a complete range of financial products to help you manage your finances. Find out more by calling (618) 219-8600. 

    An Action Plan for Coping with Debt-Related Stress

    Last updated 5 months ago

    Living with debt can take a tremendous toll on your physical and emotional wellbeing. The stress can interfere with your ability to sleep and cause depression and anxiety. If you’re concerned about the amount of debt you’re facing, it’s important to come up with a plan for dealing with it. The experts at GCS Credit Union are here to assist our members in making smart financial decisions, and we can help as you deal with you debt. Take these steps to regain control of your financial life.

    Face It Head On

    When you have debt, the easiest thing to do is to simply decide not to think about it. From students juggling massive loans and their academic work to families worrying about mortgages while caring for their kids, debt is often an extra burden that seems too overwhelming to face. However, confronting your debt is an essential part of getting out of it. Failing to do so may lead you deeper into debt, because you won’t have the information you need to make wise financial decisions. Actually knowing where you stand can also be comforting.

    Get Support from Family and Friends

    Debt is isolating, but getting out of it requires support. Let your family and close friends know about your situation. They can be great sources of advice, and you may be surprised to learn that you’re not the only one who has faced financial hardships. Family and friends can also help you stick to a budget as you pay down your debt.

    Make a Repayment Plan

    Your stress will be eased greatly when you have an actionable plan for paying off your debt. Seek financial counseling if necessary. Ask your credit union to set up automatic payments so you don’t fall behind. Remember to make a repayment plan that is realistic. It’s better to pay off your debt over a longer period of time than to run the risk of defaulting.

    GCS Credit Union in O’Fallon has a full range of financial products you need to manage your money, including checking accounts, CDs, debit cards, and more. To learn about credit union membership and all of our services, please call (618) 219-8600. 

    Save More Money with These Easy Swaps

    Last updated 5 months ago

    Are you looking for ways to save more money? Most people associate saving with painful sacrifices, but it doesn’t have to be that way. By making a few simple swaps, you can put aside more money for the things you really want.

    Watch this video to get ideas for saving more money by eliminating things from your budget that you don’t really need. By making easy changes, like drinking tap water instead bottled water, using washable sponges instead of paper towels, and getting rid of your landline, you could have more cash in your wallet every month. 

    A savings account at GCS Credit Union in O’Fallon is a great place to put your extra money to work for you. Find out more about all of our credit union services by calling (618) 219-8600. 

    Exploring How Certificates of Deposit Work

    Last updated 5 months ago

    Certificates of deposit, or CDs, offer a higher-yield alternative to traditional savings accounts. Although you can’t immediately withdraw your money from a CD as you can with a savings account, the interest will build up faster, so your money grows quickly until the date of maturity. GCS Credit Union offers competitive rates on CDs to our members. Is a CD right for your saving needs? Here is a look at how they work to help you decide. 

    CDs Explained

    CDs are essentially a type of savings account. You open the account using a deposit of your choosing, as long as it meets the minimum requirements set by your credit union. The difference is that, unlike a savings account, you can’t withdraw the money in the CD without paying a penalty until it has reached the age of maturity. The age of maturity varies depending on which CD you choose. Some CDs run for as little as seven days, while others don’t reach maturity for five years. In exchange for not having access to your money, the credit union pays a higher interest rate on the money you have in the account.

    CD Benefits

    If you have a stable income and money sitting in your savings account that you feel comfortable not having access to for a set period of time, a CD is a great opportunity to get a better return. They also offer a good way to save money for major investments, like a down payment on a home or college tuition. You’ll increase your savings faster than by simply setting aside that money in a traditional account without the risk associated with stocks. If you’re concerned about not having access to your money, start with a short-term CD and then renew it at the end of the term as desired.

    Are you interested in a CD? Visit GCS Credit Union to learn more about our flexible CD products. Our full-service credit union also provides checking accounts, auto financing, credit and debit cards, and much more. To learn about our services and for information about joining our O’Fallon credit union, please call (618) 219-8600. 

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