GCS Credit Union
GCS is a full-service financial institution serving the following counties in Illinois: Sangamon, Logan, Macon, Marion, Jefferson, Perry, Jackson, Williamson, Jersey, Macoupin, Montgomery, Madison, Bond, Clinton, St. Clair, Monroe, Washington and Randolph.

Why Choose Our Credit Union for Your Mortgage?

When you’re in the market for a new home, take the stress out of the process of getting a mortgage by choosing GCS Credit Union for your home loan. Our credit union offers home mortgage loans that are perfect for everyone from first-time homebuyers to seasoned homeowners looking for refinance.

Our home mortgage loans come with competitive rates with up to 95% financing for qualified buyers. Choose from fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgages, and we can even help first-time buyers locate grant programs that can help them with their purchase. We offer free pre-approval, and our helpful loan advisers will steer you in the direction of the right loan for your budget and financial goals.

Contact GCS Credit Union to see how we can help you get a great home mortgage loan in O’Fallon with a lower rate than you may expect. Dial (618) 797-7993 to start the application process or to find out more about our loan options.

What New College Students Need to Know about Managing Money

Going to college means a lot of firsts, and for many students, one of the most important ones is learning to manage their own money for the first time. Money management is an essential skill that gets easier with practice, so get serious about your money starting from your first day on campus. Your credit union is a great resource for money management advice. Here are some other tips that can benefit college students.

Start with a Budget

Budgets might not sound like much fun, but in reality, they actually make it possible for you to always have money for the things you want. With your parents’ help or the help of your credit union, sit down and determine a realistic budget for college. Know exactly how much money you need to cover your expenses and how much you will have left over for discretionary spending. Sticking to your budget allows you to go out and have fun on a regular basis instead of blowing all your money in one night or on one shopping trip.

Make Savings a Habit

The sooner you get used to saving money, the easier it is to do it. Make sure there is a spot in your budget for saving, even if you only put a few dollars aside every week. Saving money is an investment in your short and long-term future, so you have money for everything from Spring Break to your first post-college apartment.

Monitor Your Spending

Thanks to online banking, you never have to sit down and balance a checkbook to know how much money you have. Take advantage of these tools to monitor your checking account, so you don’t run the risk of overspending. Knowing how much money you have lets you make smart decisions about how to prioritize it.

At GCS Credit Union, our Student Success Account Package gives you the tools you need to learn to manage your money, including a checking account and savings account. Bring your student ID to one of our credit union locations in O’Fallon to sign up, or contact us at (618) 797-7993 to find out more about membership.

How to Build a Retirement Budget

Retirement is one of the biggest financial changes of your lifetime. To be comfortable during retirement, saving and planning is essential. It can be helpful to sit down with someone from your credit union to examine your options for IRAs—individual retirement accounts—and for advice on achieving your savings goals. Another strategy that can help you prepare for retirement is creating a retirement budget. Your retirement budget will help you get a clear idea of how much money you will need to maintain the lifestyle you want during retirement. Follow these steps to create a budget for your retirement needs.

Calculate Your Fixed Expenses

Your fixed expenses are the things you need to live, such as your mortgage payment, food costs, and utility bills. If you aren’t sure how much you spend on some of your living costs, take six months of checking account statements to get an average of how much you spent in each category. When in doubt, overestimate your spending, so you’re sure to have enough.

Price Some of the Things You Want To Do

How do you envision enjoying your retirement? Do you hope to spend your time traveling, or are there hobbies you want to indulge? Calculate the costs of pursuing the things you want to do during your retirement, so you know how much discretionary money you would need to follow through. In some cases, if there is a gap between what’s leftover from your fixed expenses and what you’d like to be able to spend, you may find areas of your fixed spending you can adjust. For instance, you may choose to move to a smaller home or switch cell phone plans.

Don’t Overlook Health Costs

Healthcare costs can become a significant issue in retirement. If you already have a chronic health condition, budget for the expenses of managing it in your fixed expenses. If you’re healthy, earmark a portion of your funds for future healthcare costs. A financial planning expert can help you decide the right amount.

GCS Credit Union is committed to the financial success of our members through every stage of life, including retirement. When you need information about IRAs and retirement savings strategies, make an appointment with a representative at our credit union in O’Fallon by calling (618) 797-7993.

Tips for Coping with Debt

If your checking account has been empty for a while, then you may be among the many Americans who are in debt. Being in a financial hole can be incredibly stressful, but there are steps you can take to handle and get out of this situation. Keep reading for tips on coping with debt.

Face the Issue

Debt can take more of an emotional toll if you know it’s there but choose to ignore it. Because of this, when it comes to coping with debt, one of the most important things you can do is accept that it’s a problem. After you face the issue, you can develop a plan for getting out.

Discover Your Options

Once you’ve acknowledged that your debt needs to be addressed, the next thing you should do is take action. You can start by contacting your creditors and getting in touch with organizations that offer free and impartial debt advice.

Take Small Steps

Just beginning the process of dealing with your debt can help you cope with the problem, and taking even small steps can do a lot to restore your confidence. Also, you’ll soon learn that your debt can be overcome with the right strategy.

Examine Your History

For many individuals, their debt is due in part to spending more than they should. Recognizing this, learning why you spend when you do, and taking steps to change your habits may help you cope with and understand the debt that you have now, as well as help you stay out of financial trouble in the future.

Create a Budget

When it comes to getting and feeling in control of your finances, a budget can be indispensable. The process of developing a budget will give you a clear picture of where your dollars are going now and what changes must be made for you to get out of debt.

GCS Credit Union offers online banking and checking account tools that can help you better manage your finances. For more information about the services that we offer at our credit union in O’Fallon, please call (618) 797-7993.

The Couple's Guide to Money Management

Developing good money management skills can be critical for fostering a happy marriage, building a strong foundation for your relationship, and avoiding stress related to your checking account. To get started, refer to this guide on money management for couples.

Beginning the Conversation

If you have yet to discuss finances with your spouse, then this is a critical step for you both to take. You can start by letting each other know how you expect money to be handled, how much debt you have, and what accounts you have. Because finances will play a significant role in your lives together, you should bear in mind that being honest is ideal when it comes to discussions about money.

Setting Financial Goals

Once you know where each of you stands financially, as well as what you expect from each other as far as spending and saving go, you can have a conversation about your long-term financial goals. You can discuss, for example, how much you want to have saved in five years or when you would like to retire. Also, if one or both of you have debt, then eradicating it should be at the top of your financial to-do list. To remind yourselves of these goals, consider putting them in writing where they will regularly be seen. Finally, try to work as a team and utilize each other’s strengths as you work toward your financial goals.

Considering Account Options

Many couples wonder if a joint bank account is a good idea. Combining your finances can offer benefits, such as building trust within your relationship and simplifying your finances. However, some individuals prefer a level of financial independence and feel more comfortable keeping accounts separate. Some couples even choose to keep individual accounts and open an additional joint bank account. What’s right for you and your spouse will depend on your needs and preferences.

If you and your spouse are interested in joining a credit union in O’Fallon, then contact GCS Credit Union at (618) 797-7993 for information about our online bill pay and checking account services.

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