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.

Job Loss and Debt: Take These Steps to Manage Your Finances

Job loss can happen to anyone. Dealing with the fallout can be challenging, especially when it comes to managing your finances and dealing with any debt you may be carrying. The most important step to take is to make a plan so that you can do everything in your power to stay afloat financially until you find new employment. Often, your credit union can be an excellent source of advice in this situation. Follow these steps to get control of your finances while you’re looking for a new job.

Review Your Expenses

It’s important to find out exactly how much money you spend every month and what you’re spending it on. Review your online checking account statements to see exactly where your money is going, from coffees to mortgage payments. Once you understand how you’re currently spending your money, you can look for ways to cut back. You might consider ideas such as switching to a cheaper phone plan or getting rid of your cable. Find the minimum amount you will need to spend each month to meet your basic needs during your unemployment.

Decide How to Meet Your Expenses

If you have a rainy day fund in your savings account, then now is the time to tap into that money. Consider setting up an automatic transfer from your savings into your checking account once per month so that you can cover the bills but aren’t tempted to overspend. If your savings aren’t sufficient, look into other sources of money. You may want to consider a home equity loan or line of credit or look for part-time work to help with your expenses.

Face Your Debt

Often, lenders will work with you if you explain your situation and show a commitment to pay off your debts. Contact your credit card companies, mortgage company, and other lenders to make alternate payment arrangements so you can preserve your credit until you find a new job.

GCS Credit Union is committed to helping our members thrive at every stage of their lives, through all of the bumps that come along the way. For information about how to join our credit union in O’Fallon, please call (618) 797-7993.

Planning for Retirement in Your 30s

When you’re in your 30s, there’s a good chance that your money management goals will be changing and that you will start thinking about long-term issues such as retirement. Your credit union can offer an enormous amount of help in setting up strategies to plan for those goals. This video will also help.

Focusing on retirement means focusing on saving. If you have credit card debt, make more than the minimum payment each month to save on interest. You can also save on interest on your student loan payments by setting up direct debits to come right out of your bank account.

At GCS Credit Union, we’re invested in your financial success, and we offer the products to help you achieve your goals, from online checking accounts to affordable auto loans. Learn more about our credit union in O’Fallon by calling (618) 797-7993.

What Couples Need to Know About Joint Checking Accounts

If you are married or in a long-term relationship, traditional wisdom dictates that you put your money in a joint checking account. However, times are changing, and some married couples prefer to keep their money separate. Which option is right for you? Here is what every couple needs to know about sharing a joint checking account.

Benefits of Joint Accounts

When you share expenses, there are benefits of having a joint account. You can easily see where your money is going each month, and you don’t have to debate who will pay which bill. It’s easier to track household expenses with a joint account, and it minimizes the chances that a financial surprise will arise in the future with either partner. It also makes it easier to save for shared financial goals if you are managing the same pot of money together.

Disadvantages of Joint Accounts

As more people settle into long-term relationships later in life, they become less willing to give up their financial independence with a joint checking account. Having a joint account can often make it challenging to balance personal discretionary spending, and it can lead to resentment when one person has a different approach to spending than the other. When couples come into relationships with different amounts of debt, sharing all of your money can also become a difficult subject. Joint accounts can also be problematic if a couple separates, especially when there is a large discrepancy in income or contributions to the relationship.

Finding a Third Way

Couples don’t have to choose between having a single joint account and maintaining their money separately. A third option some couples choose is having a joint account for household expenses as well as individual accounts for personal discretionary spending and debt repayments. This approach allows couples to balance their shared financial goals and their financial independence.

At GCS Credit Union, our multiple account options make it easy for couples to make the right choices for them about savings accounts and checking accounts in O’Fallon. Find out how we can make managing your money easier by calling us at (618) 797-7993.

How to Avoid Overdraft Fees

Overdraft fees occur when you write a check or use your debit card for an amount of money you don’t have in your checking account. Even a small overdraft can lead to costly fees, so learning to avoid them is an important part of managing your account.

When you have a checking account, keep track of your balance, and subtract all of your purchases, so you always know how much money you have. Online banking makes it easier than ever to keep track of your account. Don’t forget to subtract automatic drafts from your balance, so they don’t surprise you when they come out. For added protection, you can set up automatic overdraft transfers, so that money from another account, such as a savings account, is automatically transferred to your checking account to prevent an overdraft from occurring.

GCS Credit Union gives you the tools you need to carefully manage your checking account in O’Fallon, including online banking and online bill pay services. To get more information about credit union membership, call (618) 797-7993.

A Look at the New FICO Score Rules

Your credit score—also called your FICO score—influences everything from whether you can qualify for home mortgage loans to what kind of rate you can get on auto loans. Recently, it was announced that scoring rules are changing, and the new guidelines could help your credit score go up.

Watch this video to learn more about the new FICO score rules. Public records, such as civil judgments, will no longer appear on credit reports unless the identity of the owner can be definitively proven. This is being done to mitigate the impact of incorrect information on credit reports.

At GCS Credit Union, we can help you understand your credit score and learn how to improve it, while offering competitive rates on loans, savings accounts, and our Visa Rewards credit card. Find out more about our credit union in O’Fallon by calling (618) 797-7993.

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