• Decoding the Rule of 72

    Time is money

    Learning to maximize your savings potential means really understanding how savings accounts work. At GCS Credit Union, we offer a variety of accounts for savers of all ages, starting with our Cub Club for all members 10 and younger. These accounts are designed to help parents teach their kids valuable tools to manage their own finances. One of the most important rules young savers can learn is the Rule of 72.

    The Rule of 72 helps savers figure out how compound interest works and how long it takes to double your investment with compound interest. The simple formula goes as follows: divide 72 by the interest rate on the account. The result is the number of years it will take for the money to double.

    Use the Rule of 72 to help your kids visualize long-term savings goals. At GCS Credit Union, we have plenty more advice for savers of all ages . Find out more about joining our O’Fallon credit union by calling (618) 797-7993.

  • Getting Yourself Financially Ready to Buy a House

    Buying a home is likely to be the biggest financial step you take in your life. It’s important to take the time to be sure you’re in the right place fiscally before you make the leap. The first step is to sit down with a representative from your credit union to learn the ins and outs of mortgages, so you understand the process and the responsibilities that come with your loan. If home ownership is your goal, here are some other things you can do to put yourself in the right financial position. 

    House and money

    Work on Your Credit Score

    Your credit score is one of the most significant factors affecting your ability to purchase a home. The higher your credit score is, the better the interest rates from your credit union will be. Lower scores indicate that you have had financial difficulties in the past, so you’ll be offered higher rates to offset the risk that you could fall behind on your payments. Check your credit report before you apply for a mortgage and have any incorrect negative information that may be dragging down your score removed. If your score is below 620, you may want to work on paying down some debt and letting your score increase before you apply for a home loan.

    Build Up a Down Payment

    20% of a home’s price is the gold standard for down payments. This kind of down payment helps keep your mortgage payment as low as possible. However, it’s important to talk to your credit union about your options. It may be possible to get a mortgage with a smaller down payment or even no down payment at all.

    Check Your Budget

    Before you start shopping for your home, triple-check your monthly budget numbers. Remember that you’ll have expenses beyond your mortgage, including insurance, HOA fees, and any necessary home repairs.

    Sit down with a loan expert at O’Fallon’s GCS Credit Union for great advice on purchasing your first home. Our credit union offers competitive rates for auto loans, mortgages, personal loans and more. Get answers to your questions about our credit union services by calling (618) 797-7993. 

  • Easy Ways to Pay Down Your Car Loan Faster

    Any time you have a loan, paying off more than the minimum requirement each month will save you money in the long run. When it comes to your car loan, paying it down faster will save you money in interest. Watch this video for simple ways to save up some extra money to put towards your car loan. 

    Take a close look at your expenses and see where you could cut back. Start carrying your lunch to work and cook at home more instead of dining out. Clip coupons for food and cleaning supplies. Even paying an extra $25 or $50 each month could add up to a few extra car payments per year.

    At GCS Credit Union, we can help you find the right auto financing for your budget . Call our O’Fallon credit union today at (618) 797-7993 to find out more.  

  • How to Start Saving for Retirement in Your 40s

    When it comes to retirement savings , the earlier you start saving, the better. However, many people don’t wake up to the reality of building a retirement nest egg until they are in their 40s. If you’ve hit your 40s and suddenly started thinking about how you’ll support yourself in your golden years, don’t worry. You still have time to get your savings in line and enjoy a comfortable retirement. Start by talking to an expert at GCS Credit Union about our savings products and what role our accounts can play in your overall plan. Here are some ways to start saving up for your retirement in your 40s. 

    Mature couple saving money in piggybank

    Re-Evaluate Your Budget

    To catch up on your savings, reconsider your spending priorities and divert as much money as you can to your retirement accounts. For instance, now may not be the best time to spend money on an extravagant vacation or a home addition. By putting the money you would spend on those things into your retirement accounts, you can quickly build up your balance. When you get a windfall, such as a bonus at work, funnel it into your retirement account for even faster savings.

    Keep Investing in You

    Most people maximize their earnings during their 50s, so there is a good chance that your highest-earning years are still in front of you. Make sure you position yourself to take advantage of all the opportunities that present themselves by investing in yourself. Take classes to stay competitive in your field and take advantage of networking events and training opportunities. The increased income your advanced credentials could bring will enable you to boost your savings.

    Build a Safety Net

    Try to shield yourself from financial disasters that could derail your savings plans. Make sure that you have adequate life, car, and home insurance to protect yourself and your family. It also pays to take care of your health, as medical expenses and long-term care needs can eat up your savings.

    GCS Credit Union is invested in the lifetime financial health of our members. Our O’Fallon credit union offers a comprehensive range of services, including debit cards, checking accounts, and auto loans. Learn more by calling us at (618) 797-7993. 

  • Listen to Ethan Jones Sing about GCS Credit Union

    When Ethan Jones isn’t competing on American Idol, he’s singing about his favorite credit union in Illinois: GCS Credit Union! Since 1941, GCS Credit Union has provided the men and women of O’Fallon, IL with the highest quality financial products and services. Whether you’re looking for a high-yield savings account, a low-interest auto loan, or safe and secure online banking, turn to GCS Credit Union for all of your banking and financing needs. 

    Watch this video to hear Ethan Jones sing about the perks of becoming a member at GCS Credit Union. You can become a member online or by visiting any one of our branch locations. If you have any questions, please call us at (618) 797-7993. 

  • Understanding the Home-Buying Process

    Owning your very own home is one of the great American dreams. It’s also one of the most important purchases of your life, and arguably the most expensive. From finding a great home in your budget to finding a great deal on a mortgage , there are a lot of very important steps involved in the home-buying process. To help get you started, here is a look at the basics of buying your very first home. 

    Happy young couple buying new house

    Get Pre-Approved for a Loan

    To avoid the heartache of falling in love with a home that’s out of your price range, get pre-approved for a home loan through your bank or credit union. Based on your income and credit profile, you will be pre-approved for a loan amount that can help you narrow down your search to homes you can actually afford.

    Look at Homes

    Searching for homes for sale online can bring up thousands of listings in your area. Narrow down your search based on where you would like to live, how much you would like to spend, and the features you are looking for in a new home, such as a built-in garage, basement, or swimming pool.

    Make an Offer

    Once you find a home that meets all of your requirements, it’s time to make an offer. If you are working with a real estate agent, you will complete an offer sheet that your agent will present to the owner and the owner’s representative. The owner will then either accept the offer, reject it, or make a counter-offer.

    Close the Deal

    GCS Credit Union is a full-service, member-only financial institution serving O’Fallon, IL and the surrounding counties. Visit our website or stop in today to check our home loan rates or to submit an application. We also offer great deals on auto loans, boat/RV loans, and personal loans. For additional information about our credit union, call us today at (618) 797-7993.

  • How is Your Credit Score Calculated?

    You probably already know how important your credit score is, but do you know how that three-digit number is calculated? Most Americans don’t, which is why so many people struggle to raise their credit score. Your FICO Score is calculated from several different pieces of credit data in your credit report. Your payment history and the amounts owed from credit cards and loans account for 65 percent of your FICO Score. Your length of credit history, new credit accounts, and types of credit used account for the other 35 percent of your score. 

    credit

    To talk with a financial representative who actually cares about your success, come to GCS Credit Union. As a full-service financial institution, we offer the products and services you need to get your finances in order and build wealth. Visit one of our credit union locations to become a member and open a checking account, or visit our website to check out our rates on auto loans , mortgages, and other types of loans. If you have questions, please call us at (618) 797-7993. 

  • Surprising Factors That Can Affect Your Credit Score

    Did you know that the rate you get on an auto loan or home mortgage is primarily determined by your credit score? This three-digit number can also have an impact on housing applications and even employment opportunities. Needless to say, your credit score is very important. But despite what most people think, paying your credit card bills and other recurring debts on time each month isn’t a guarantee of a good credit score. Here’s a look at some surprising factors that can affect your credit score and your ability to get a mortgage or auto loan.

    Cutting a credit card

    Closing a Credit Card with a Zero Balance

    Paying off a credit card is a major milestone, and it may be tempting to close that account for good. However, breaking ties with your credit card company can actually hurt your credit score in the long run. Cancelling or closing an account can reduce the length of your credit history and lower your credit utilization rate, two of the most important factors used in determining your credit score.

    Not Using Your Credit Cards

    You should obviously avoid accruing large sums of credit card whenever possible, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use your credit every now and then for minor purchases. After six months of inactivity, your credit card company may stop reporting to the credit bureaus or even cancel your account entirely. To avoid this, use your credit cards to make small purchases, like gas and groceries every month, and then pay off the balance in full when you receive the statement.

    Here at GCS Credit Union, your financial success is our primary concern. We are a full-service financial institution serving O’Fallon, IL and the surrounding counties. You can become a member on our website, or visit any one of our credit union branch locations to become a member and open a checking account in person. If you have any questions about our credit union services, contact us online or call us at (618) 797-7993.