Though the holiday season is a great time to enjoy the company of family, it can cause untold damage to your pocketbook. Fortunately, the New Year is a good time to start fresh and recover. If boosting your credit score is your New Year’s resolution this year, consider this guide to doing so efficiently and effectively with the help of your credit union.
Start Paying Down Your Debt
- Many people with high debt loads struggle with the temptation to keep adding charges. If this is you, don’t give in. Use the New Year to take a hard look at your finances—what’s coming in and what’s going out—and making the tough choices needed to balance your books. Designate a set amount of money each month to paying down your debts. Over time, your interest payments will go down, and your credit score will go up.
Get a Credit Card, but Don’t Keep a Running Balance
- Regularly charging and paying off a credit card is a good way to increase your credit rating . Contrary to popular opinion, however, you don’t need to keep a running balance. Charge your credit card for small-ticket items, paying it off on time at the end of every month. If you stick with it, this method could pay off in dividends later on.
Consider an Installment Loan
- While credit cards can present a good way to establish credit, credit rating agencies will be further impressed by regular payments on a small installment loan. If you’re embarking on a small home improvement project or buying a used car, consider taking out a loan whether or not you have the balance to cover the expenses. By making payments on time every month, you’ll do much to provide a solid foundation for your credit rating.
At GCS Credit Union in O’Fallon, we care about the financial health of our members. That’s why we offer a variety of services designed to help you boost your credit score and get on solid financial footing. For more information on our membership services , call us at (618) 797-7993.
A minimum amount of vehicle liability insurance is mandatory in Illinois. If you’re not in compliance with these laws, you could face stiff fines and penalties. Learn more about your auto insurance options , and look to the following guide for more information on the auto insurance requirements in Illinois.
Minimum Insurance Requirements
- To protect the driver and others in the event of an accident, most states have at least a minimal amount of auto liability insurance requirements . To be in compliance with Illinois state law, you’ll need to carry at least $20,000 of liability protection against the injury or death of one person in an accident, $40,000 against the injury or death of more than one person, and $15,000 in protection against damage to another person’s property.
Proof of Insurance
- In Illinois, you need to carry an insurance card in your vehicle at all times, presenting it to a law enforcement officer upon request. Your insurance provider will usually mail your insurance cards when you purchase your policy. Additionally, you may receive an auto insurance questionnaire in the mail if your vehicle is randomly selected. To avoid penalties, you’ll need to return the questionnaire with your insurance company’s name and policy number.
Penalties for Noncompliance
- If convicted of driving without insurance in Illinois, your license plates will be suspended and you’ll need to pay a minimum $500 fine. If you’re driving a vehicle with suspended license plates from a previous insurance violation, the minimum fine will be raised to $1,000. First-time offenders are required to provide proof of insurance and to pay $100 to reinstate their licenses. Repeat offenders have the same requirements, with an additional four-month suspension period.
If you’re seeking liability insurance for your new vehicle, join the MEMBERS Auto and Homeowners Program from GCS Credit Union of O’Fallon, IL. You’ll have access to great rates for all of your property and auto insurance needs. To learn more about your auto loan and insurance options, call GCS Credit Union today at (618) 797-7993.
Obtaining life insurance is a smart way to protect your family from the unexpected. Knowing how much coverage you need can be difficult, however. Carefully consider the following factors to determine how much life insurance coverage it will take to support your loved ones if you’re no longer able to do so.
- When choosing life insurance, it’s important to think about how you and your family live now. Would you want your family to continue living that lifestyle if you were no longer around to help support them? In choosing your life insurance coverage, consider how much financial support it will take to keep your family secure and comfortable if the unexpected occurs. You’ll also want to take into account any possible medical expenses, ongoing debts, or funeral expenses.
- The amount of life insurance coverage you choose will depend largely on your current income. A good starting rule of thumb is to purchase coverage to match at least 10 years of your annual income. For example, if you currently make $50,000 in annual income, you’ll want at least $500,000 in coverage. Consider purchasing more coverage if you anticipate additional financial demands on your dependents. If you plan to finance your children’s college education, for instance, you may want to consider additional coverage.
- When you purchase life insurance will be a large factor in how much fixed-term coverage to buy. If you have small children, a 20-year coverage plan will help provide them with support until adulthood. On the other hand, if you are middle-aged with teenage children, a 10-year fixed term plan may be a better option.
If you’re concerned about the risk to your family from the unexpected, consider purchasing a life insurance policy through GCS Credit Union. From O’Fallon and other area locations , we provide fixed-term and whole life insurance policies to families throughout Madison St. Clair, Jersey, Macoupin, Montgomery, Bond, Clinton, Washington, Randolph, and Monroe counties. Find out more by calling us at (618) 797-7993.
Few people keep budgets over the holidays. That’s why it’s important to have a plan to reckon with your finances after the New Year. If you’ve overspent this holiday season, consider setting a goal and a deadline to pay off your debt.
Many people use different methods to pay off holiday bills. Some take advantage of the opportunity a tax refund provides. Others use tactics such as doubling monthly debt payments in the few months beginning the New Year. For more post-holiday credit card debt resolution tips, watch this video.
At GCS Credit Union, we offer a range of services to help our members better manage their finances. From online money management to services designed to help boost your credit score, we can help you find solid financial footing this year. For more information on our benefits, contact our O’Fallon, IL office at (618) 797-7993.
Credit Union Members Can Save More with GM Truck Month Bonus Cash! Take Delivery by 2/28/2013 to Take Advantage of This Offer
Members Save an Extra $750 with GM’s Truck Month Bonus Cash
You can already save big with the Credit Union Member Discount from GM. But now you can save even more thanks to Truck Month Bonus Cash (1). And who doesn’t like more savings?
Right now, eligible members(2) can combine the $750 Truck Month Bonus Cash with their Credit Union Member Discount from GM and most current incentives to save even more on select Chevy and GMC trucks and SUVs. This offer ends February 28, 2013 . Take a look at how much you could save:
Discount Example: 2013 Chevy Silverado 1500
MSRP of Silverado Crew Cab All-Star Edition(3)2WD $36,285.00
Preferred Pricing(4) $34,268.64
Consumer Cash(5) -$4,000.00
Truck Month Bonus Cash(1) -$750.00
Trade-in Allowance(6) -$1,000.00
Price You Pay (When you trade in an eligible vehicle) $28,518.64
Your Discount $7,766.36
Start saving today at GM page at LoveMyCreditUnion.org .
1) Use toward the purchase or lease of a 2013 or 2012 Chevy Silverado 1500, Suburban or Tahoe; or GMC Sierra 1500, Sierra Denali 1500, Yukon or Yukon XL. Truck Month Cash is not eligible on 2500HD and 3500HD models. Not available with some other offers. Take delivery by 2/28/13. See dealer for details. 2) Must be a member of a participating credit union. A copy of the loan document used to purchase the vehicle, current statement or membership card from a participating credit union will be required as proof of eligibility at the dealership. Not available with some other offers. See dealer for details. Discount is available to members no matter where they finance their purchase. 3) Tax, title, license, dealer fees and optional equipment extra. See dealer for details. 4) Tax, title, license, dealer fees and optional equipment extra. See dealer for details. The Credit Union Member Discount from GM provides a pre-established price from GM to the dealer. Dealers, however, may charge additional fees to customers in connection with the sale of a vehicle. These fees can be significant and vary from one dealer to another. GM makes no representation about the amount or existence of these fees, which will affect the final price you pay. Ask your dealer for details. 5) Not available with some other offers. Must be used toward the purchase of a vehicle. Take retail delivery by 2/28/13. See dealer for details. 6) Must turn in a 1999 or newer vehicle. Some customers will not qualify. Not available with some other offers. Excludes leases. See dealer for details. Take delivery by 2/28/13 .
The marks of General Motors, its divisions, slogans, emblems, vehicle model names, vehicle body designs and other marks appearing in this flyer are the trademarks and/or service marks of General Motors, its subsidiaries, affiliates or licensors. ©2013 General Motors. Buckle up, America!
If you’re seeking a higher-yield alternative to checking and savings accounts, a money market account could be a good choice. Money market accounts offer higher rates than the typical savings account, but there are restrictions. You will be limited to a certain amount of withdrawals or transfers every month—usually six.
The restrictions on money market accounts make them a smart choice for individuals who don’t withdraw from their savings very often. To learn more about the benefits and limitations of these accounts, watch this video.
At GCS Credit Union, we strive to offer a flexible money management experience for our members. Whether you appreciate the flexibility of a savings account or desire the higher rates of a money market account, we can help. To learn more about the benefits of membership with our credit union , call (618) 797-7993.
Mobile banking is the future of finances, with more than one billion people expected to be using mobile services in just four years. One in five Americans and nearly 600 million people worldwide already enjoy the conveniences of mobile banking, which include 24/7 access, instant account information and banking services , and top security. In addition, a third of adult Americans use telephone banking, which offers many of the same benefits as accessing an account from a mobile device. Take a look at this infographic from GCS Credit Union in O’Fallon, IL to find out more about the top trends in banking today. If you know anyone who is interested in improving financial access and control to keep up with the modern mobile movement, feel free to share this infographic!
Life is full of the unexpected and that’s why GCS Credit Union wants to make sure that you and your family our always covered financially. For more information about the proper life insurance for your family, call our O’Fallon, IL office at (618) 797-7993. Here are some resources to help you learn about the benefits of life insurance:
- Determining when to buy life insurance can be difficult. This useful guide from U.S. News and World Report can help.
- Are you confused about life insurance in general? Learn all you need to know by reading this comprehensive guide from The New York Times .
- The Globe and Mail offers useful tips on the amount of life insurance you’ll likely need.
- Auto liability insurance is required in Illinois. Learn the laws from the source by visiting CyberDriveIllinois.com .
- The Wall Street Journal provides advice on how much auto liability insurance coverage you need.
Check out this article about money management ! This article not only speaks about how to manage your money, but it educates readers about debit cards, credit cards, tracking your spending, and the history of money.
A shout out to Aaliyah and Danielle, from North Central Plains Charter School in Texas! They’ve been using our blog as a resource for class. Danielle found this article about money management and was nice enough to share it with us.
Congratulations on being featured in the Student’s Showcase, keep up the great work Danielle!
If you’ve overspent over the holidays, start the New Year off right with a new membership at GCS Credit Union . To learn more about the benefits our members enjoy, call our O’Fallon, IL office at (618) 797-7993. Here are a few more resources to help you learn about the credit union advantage:
- As debt builds up over time, your credit rating can suffer. Learn a few tips for quickly recovering your credit score from MSN Money.
- Get more tips for building a solid credit rating from Entrepreneur.com .
- Credit unions offer lower fees, more free checking, and higher yields on savings than banks. Find out more from Kiplinger .
- Time magazine offers useful strategies for paying off holiday debt .
- Do you want to know what you could be doing wrong in your debt reduction plan? AARP details the wrong ways to pay down debt .