• Home Equity Loans: Dos and Don’ts to Know

    If you have a home mortgage, a home equity loan can be an affordable and convenient way to get money for unexpected expenses. However, it’s important to tread carefully when using a home equity loan, since your home is the collateral. These dos and don’ts of using home equity will help you decide if this kind of loan is the right choice for your financial goals.

    Do Use Equity to Invest in Your Home

    One of the best ways to use your home equity is to make your home better. Spending money from a home equity loan on improvements that will increase your property value can be a wise investment for your future. Avoid using home equity loans to make small repairs and instead use the money to invest in one-off renovation projects or major repairs, such as roof replacement.

    Don’t Pay for Your Lifestyle with a Home Equity Loan

    Knowing that you can easily access the equity you have in your home can make it tempting to use it to indulge in things you want, like a boat, sports car, or extravagant vacation. However, using your equity for these purchases give you secured debt for expenses that should be in your household budget if you want them. It’s risky to use your home as collateral for unnecessary purchases.

    Do—or Don’t—Pay off Debt

    There is disagreement about using a home equity loan for credit card debt. Credit card debt is unsecured, so if you don’t pay, you don’t run the risk of losing your home. However, it is also high-interest, so paying it off with a home equity loan gives you the chance to save a significant amount of money. Keep in mind that if you use a home equity loan to pay off your cards and then run them up again, you’ll be further in debt and will now have debt that is secured against your home. Your credit union can help you weigh the pros and cons.

    GCS Credit Union offers competitive rates on home mortgages in O’Fallon and can help you decide what kind of borrowing is right for you. To speak to a representative at our credit union , call (618) 797-7993.

  • Spotlight on GCS’s Elite Money Market Account

    If you are looking for a high-interest account for managing your money, then the GCS Credit Union Elite Money Market account could be right for you. This high-interest account offers the credit union’s highest interest rate while giving you the maximum flexibility for managing your funds.

    The Elite Money Market account allows you to make six withdrawals per month, with a minimum amount of $5,000, before a $15 fee applies to withdrawal transaction. You get direct check writing ability and free online banking and eStatements. The account requires a $150,000 opening deposit. Maintain a balance of a $150,000 to avoid monthly service fees in the amount of $15.

    The Elite Money Market account is just one solution from GCS Credit Union that helps you manage your money as efficiently as possible. Find out how our credit union in O’Fallon can help to make your money work for you by calling (618) 797-7993.

  • Why Mobile Banking Apps Are Safer

    Using online banking is convenient, and if you’re always on your smartphone, using mobile banking apps can make your life even easier. The question most people have about using a banking app is: Is my information safe?

    Mobile banking apps have sophisticated security systems built into them. When you download the app from the app store, you can be confident that it’s legitimate and not a phishing site.

    GCS Credit Union is pleased to offer safe and secure mobile and online banking in O’Fallon to our credit union customers. You can learn more about our credit union and our membership requirements by calling (618) 797-7993.

  • Maybe Baby? What to Know About Saving for the First Year

    Starting a family is a major decision. Among the many factors you have to weigh when you’re thinking about having a baby are your finances. Are you ready to add a new baby to your family now, or should you spend time saving? Your credit union can help you explore your financial health and make smart decisions about planning for the future. This information will also help you decide if now is the time to plan for a pregnancy.

    Check Your Savings Account Balance

    Experts recommend that you have at least $20,000 in your savings account before you start a family. Medical care during pregnancy, labor, and delivery can be expensive, and it isn’t always completely covered by insurance. Having this amount of money in your savings account will help you face these expenses as they arise. It will also give you a foundation from which to grow your family’s savings during your baby’s expensive first year of life.

    Save 10% of Your Salary

    Ideally, you should be able to comfortably save 10% of your salary for baby expenses, in addition to your retirement savings. Ask your credit union to set up an automatic transfer to your savings from your checking account on every payday. Unexpected expenses can occur with babies, and having a nest egg will help you deal with them.

    Consider Your Child Care Plans

    A significant expense for new parents is child care. Decide now what you will do for child care, so you can save accordingly. Research infant daycares and nannies in your town, and decide if you have family or friends who can provide care on some days. Calculate how much child care will cost, so you’re not surprised when the need arises.

    GCS Credit Union provides members with the financial advice they need to reach their goals, from starting a family to buying a house . Find out how to join our credit union or talk to a representative at our credit union in O’Fallon by calling (618) 797-7993.