Last updated 16 days ago
Buying a home is the dream of millions of Americans. Most families that purchase a house can do so only by taking out a mortgage from a lender. As you can imagine, acquiring a mortgage requires a lot of forethought and preparation. Central to securing a mortgage is understanding the difference between loan options and knowing your credit score. Mortgages can be either fixed-rate loans or variable-rate loans, and both kinds have their advantages. To receive the best possible interest rate on either mortgage type, you need a high credit score that reflects little to no debt and timely loan payments. This infographic from GCS Credit Union, an O’Fallon, Illinois credit union, outlines the mortgage process. Please share this infographic with all the prospective homeowners in your network.
Last updated 17 days ago
A solid financial plan for your future is not a static item that you can simply create and implement—rather, it is a work in progress that you will build and modify throughout the course of your life and your career. To make sure that you have enough in your checking account and your retirement account, it helps to set achievable financial goals. Use the tips below to help you create a sound financial plan.
Set Concrete Timelines for Your Goals
Avoid vague goals like “getting out of debt.” If you don’t set a timeline on the goal, then large purchases will always come up and add back to the debt that you’ve already paid off. If you want to pay off all your debts, give yourself a deadline of three to five years (one year is probably not realistic unless you get a sudden large raise). You can set short-term goals, such as
Quantify Each Goal
If you want to have a comfortable retirement with discretionary income to spend on vacations and other leisure activities, you will need to crunch some numbers and calculate the monthly income you will need to support your desired lifestyle. Set a savings goal for your retirement, and set aside more than your goal during the months when you spend below your budget.
Prioritize Your Goals
Buying a brand-new convertible may be a financial goal, but it should be lower on your priority list than other necessities, say for example purchasing a home or saving a certain amount of money for retirement. When creating a financial plan for your life, remember that you will have to sacrifice short-term enjoyment for long-term security.
No matter what your financial plans are, GCS Credit Union can help you achieve them. We offer a wide variety of financial products and services, including personal loans, tax-deferred IRAs, and basic checking accounts. Call us today at (618) 219-8600 to find out more.
Last updated 22 days ago
When starting their first job, retirement is often the last thing on most young professionals’ minds; 25 or 30 years seems impossibly far away. But if you would like to enjoy a relaxing post-retirement lifestyle with enough discretionary income to dine out, travel, and engage in other leisure activities, you need to start planning now.
You should begin saving for retirement as early as possible, because inflation works against you over time, and you need to make sure you have enough money set aside to comfortably enjoy the lifestyle you want once you retire. This video will provide you with more information about saving for retirement.
The finance professionals at GCS Credit Union can help you set up a retirement plan that won’t leave your checking account empty today. To speak with one of our friendly representatives, call us at (618) 219-8600 today.
Last updated 24 days ago
Just a few short decades ago, account holders had to visit their financial institutions in person and wait in line in order to withdraw money or deposit a check. Thanks to ATMs, very few people visit the teller’s window to get cash, and thanks to direct deposit you no longer have to wait in line in order to get funds from checks into your account. Social Security and other federal payments are particularly convenient when delivered by direct deposit. Here’s why:
Your Benefit Funds Are Available Immediately
Unlike personal checks, which take time to clear, direct deposit funds post to your account immediately, and you can schedule automatic bill payments based on the date that your benefit checks post so that you’ll never make a late payment again. You also don’t have to wait for the mailman on the day your benefits are due to arrive.
There Is No Risk of Loss or Theft
Any time you receive a physical payment, whether it is cash or a check, there is a risk that it may be lost or stolen before you can deposit it to your account. Social Security payments no longer come as checks, but as a Direct Express® debit card, which can also be misplaced or stolen.
You Will Be Paid on a Set Schedule
Direct deposit makes it easier to plan out your monthly budget, because you can rest assured that the money will be in your bank account by the start of business on the same date every month. You will never have to take time out of your day or go out of your way to visit your credit union—you can just use your debit card or write checks as soon as the money shows up in your account.
At GCS Credit Union, direct deposit is available to any of our customers with checking accounts. If you need help setting this service up, call us now at (618) 219-8600 and one of our associates will be glad to help you.
Last updated 29 days ago
Credit cards are a great way for students to build up just enough credit to give them an edge with their post-graduate financing needs. However, caution and discrepancy need to be used at all times, as a simple mistake could easily put you in debt or leave a blemish on your credit. Read on to learn more:
Identify Your Needs
“There’s no free lunch,” the old saying goes, and that certainly holds true with student credit cards. Credit card funds are not prepaid cash; they are loans that must be paid back on time. Student credit cards are much better used for smaller purchases, like food, toiletries, or textbooks. This makes it less likely that you will exceed your credit limit, or spend too much and struggle to pay it back.
Pay on Time and in Full
Every purchase you make on your credit card and pay back on time goes towards keeping up your credit score, which is essential to securing loans for automobiles, graduate school, and houses. If you fail to pay your bills on time, not only will a mark go on your credit score, but you will also need to pay interest as a penalty. Penalty interest can add up quicker than you might think: if you receive a credit card bill of $200 and only have $150 to put towards it, many companies will charge you interest on the $200–not the $50 shortfall.
Avoid Opening Multiple Cards
While getting your first credit card may be exciting, resist the urge to get another. Lenders sometimes get nervous when they see a student with limited income take out too many credit lines, as this can easily result in a huge amount of debt. As such, your second card may come with stiffer penalties such as higher interest rates.
At GCS Credit Union of O’Fallon, we offer a number of credit cards designed with students in mind. Our credit lines can easily be adjusted to keep your spending in check, while still helping you build a sparkling credit score. Call us today at (618) 219-8600 for more information.