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    Tips for Talking to Your Kids about Money

    Last updated 9 months ago

    One of the most important things that parents can teach their kids is how to manage money, but it can often be difficult to know where to start. This video offers suggestions for ways you can teach lessons about money management to your children to help them become financially responsible adults.

    In the video, you’ll learn that it is never too early to start talking about money with kids. You can turn nearly anything into a lesson in finance, from a trip to a fast food restaurant to the spare change in your pocket. Most importantly, don’t shy away from discussing financial matters in front of your children so they understand the value of money.

    GCS Credit Union in O’Fallon has several youth-oriented account services that can help you impart financial lessons to your kids. To learn more about all of our credit union services, please call (618) 219-8600. 

    A Closer Look at Auto Loans

    Last updated 9 months ago

    Few people have enough money to pay cash for a car. Instead, they choose to get auto loans. Auto loans are specially designed by lenders to finance the purchase of a vehicle. At GCS Credit Union, we offer competitive rates on auto loans and work with several O’Fallon-area car dealerships on financing deals. Before you take out an auto loan, it helps to understand how these loans work. Here is what you need to know: 

    Why Choose an Auto Loan?
    Why can’t you just get a personal loan to buy a car? You can, but it isn’t in your best interest. Auto loans are designed to be used for car purchases and have terms and interest rates that are set up accordingly. By choosing another loan option, you may end up paying for your car longer than you actually own it, and increased interest rates can make the car cost more.

    How Are Auto Loan Rates Determined?
    When you apply for an auto loan, one of the biggest factors is your credit score. If your credit score is on the low end, your interest rate on the loan will be higher. Some lenders also charge higher interest rates on loans for used cars. The term of your loan, or how long you plan to spread out your payments, also factors into your interest rate. The longer the repayment period, the higher the rate will be.

    Why Get an Auto Loan at a Credit Union?
    Although you can apply for auto financing through a dealership, there are many advantages to getting your auto loan through a credit union. At your credit union, you won’t have the pressure of a dealership salesperson trying to upsell you on features. Your credit union can also help you decide if you’re getting a fair price for the car. Last but not least, credit union auto loans are simple-interest loans, unlike dealer loans, which front-load interest. Simple-interest loans are easier to pay off early.

    Before you go car shopping, get pre-qualified for an auto loan at GCS Credit Union in O’Fallon. Apply online or call (618) 219-8600 to learn about our rates. 

    Staying Prepared for a Financial Emergency

    Last updated 9 months ago

    Even if you consider yourself to be in a decent financial situation, a sudden layoff or injury can drain your savings in a hurry. Though you hope you’ll never find yourself in an emergency situation, it never hurts to always be prepared for one.

    Putting a substantial amount of your income into savings is a smart way to prepare for a financial emergency. In addition to a savings account, you might consider opening a 401(k) that you can tap into when faced with an emergency. Taking out a credit card with a high borrowing limit and a low interest rate can also help when you’re in dire straits—though it will only provide a temporary fix. Perhaps the best way to prepare for a financial emergency is to make sure you have decent auto, home, and health insurance.

    For more tips on how to stay afloat during a crisis, contact GCS Credit Union. We’ve been providing excellent banking services and apt financial advice for over 70 years. Call our O’Fallon, IL branch at (618) 219-8600 if you have any more questions.


    How to Pay Off Your Student Loans After You Get Your Degree

    Last updated 9 months ago

    Though most agree that college is an enriching experience, tuition costs more than ever. The average student has about $26,000 of student loan debt by the time he graduates, and debts are not showing any sign of going down. If you’re in college or are about to begin classes, you should think about alternative ways to pay for tuition and start building a strategy for paying off your loans.

    Get a Stable Income
    After college, many graduates earn money by contracting or working odd jobs. While this is a great way to gain experience, uneven work may not bring home enough money to cover monthly student loan payments. To ensure that you have enough money to cover living expenses and student loan payments, it’s important to earn a stable income and live within your means.

    Consolidate Debt
    Many students take out multiple kinds of student loans to cover their tuition—including federal loans and private bank loans. If you’re making multiple payments every month, you should consider consolidating your debt into one monthly payment. This won’t just make it easier to remember and repay your loan, but it will also help reduce the total amount you pay in interest. 

    Accelerate Payments
    Once it comes time to start repaying your student loan debt, your lender will suggest a monthly payment amount. You can choose to pay more than this amount if you have the means. In fact, increasing your monthly payment amount or making more frequent payments can help you pay off your principal balance much faster. The faster you pay off your balance, the less you have to pay in interest.

    For help tackling your student loan debt, don’t hesitate to call GCS Credit Union at (618) 219-8600. We’re proud to serve anyone who lives, works, or studies in O’Fallon or elsewhere in Southwest Illinois. If you need a credit card, auto loan, or new checking account, visit our website to find out how we can serve you.


    What You Need to Know About the Current Housing Market

    Last updated 9 months ago

    While millions of Americans dream of buying a house, some have trouble deciding when the time is right. Many prospective homebuyers insist on waiting until the housing market reaches rock bottom.

    In this video, a real estate expert discusses a few tips to keep in mind when buying a home in the current market. She advises against waiting to buy, as pinpointing the lowest prices can be difficult and the housing market tends to recover very quickly. Also, she recommends that sellers make their homes look as beautiful as possible to attract buyers.

    If you’re interested in buying a house, call GCS Credit Union at (618) 219-8600. We love helping O’Fallon, IL residents with their home mortgages and other financial concerns

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