• What to Consider When You’re Planning for Retirement

    Retirement is the time when you get to sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor. However, without careful planning, it can instead be a time of financial stress. The key to successful retirement is planning. Even if you haven’t yet thought about retirement, the time to start is now. Sit down with a representative from your credit union to explore all of your saving options and to make a plan that works for your goals and budget. Here are some things to keep in mind when you’re planning.

    There is never a wrong time to start saving for retirement.

    The ideal way to save for retirement is to start when you are young, so you have the maximum amount of time available to you to allow interest to work in your favor. However, if you didn’t start young, that doesn’t mean that it is too late. There is never a wrong time to start saving. You simply have to adjust your strategies based on your current stage of life, so you can maximize your returns.

    Goals will help you stay on track.

    Setting aside money without any goals in mind is an ineffective way to plan for your retirement. Instead, set savings goals, so you know exactly what you want to achieve. Know how much you want to have when you retire, and then set mini-goals along the way as you strive to accumulate that amount. You’ll feel more motivated if you’re hitting goals as you go, plus, you’ll be better positioned to do the things you want to do during retirement.

    Financial windfalls can pay dividends in the future.

    If you come into some extra money, such as an inheritance or tax refund, don’t start looking at the short-term rewards you could give yourself. Put that money in a retirement account so that it starts working for you. You’ll be glad you focused on the long-term potential of that money when retirement comes around.

    Let GCS Credit Union help you build a retirement savings plan that works for you by leveraging our competitive interest rates and member-focused financial services. To discuss your goals with a representative from our credit union in O’Fallon, call (618) 797-7993.

  • Understanding Mortgage Insurance

    If you get a home mortgage loan and don’t put down 20% as a down payment, then you may need mortgage insurance. This video explains more about mortgage insurance and what it could mean for your overall home mortgage loan payments.

    Mortgage insurance protects the lender in the case that you default on your loan. Once you reach 20% equity in you home, you can typically get rid of the mortgage insurance, as long as your lender agrees.

    GCS Credit Union can answer your questions about home mortgage loans in O’Fallon as well as all of our banking products, including checking accounts, online banking, and more. Call us today at (618) 797-7993.

  • The Young Adult’s Guide to Home Mortgages

    Buying a new home can be an overwhelming process at any age. For young adults, who are just starting to build their financial management skills, applying for and paying home mortgage loans can be particularly complex. The age at which people usually get home mortgage loans has increased over the years, which means young adults may have even more than questions than in the past, because they have fewer peers going through the process. However, mortgages are accessible to young adults, and it is still possible to become a homeowner in your 20s. If you are considering applying for a home mortgage loan, here is what you need to know.

    Pay Attention to Your Down Payment

    Having a down payment of 20% is standard for a conventional home mortgage loan. If you don’t have that amount of money, there are alternatives, such as using a lower down payment but carrying mortgage insurance until the equity in your home is equal to 20%. However, it is usually a good idea to come as close to 20% as possible, even if your lender is willing to give you a loan with less. A strong down payment will help you get the best interest rate on your loan and keep your monthly payment under control.

    Manage Your Debt

    One mistake that many young adults make is using financing to make purchases excessively. Although financing large purchases can make the cost manageable, it also leaves you with a lot of debt. Mortgage lenders look at your whole financial picture, including how much debt you already carry, so keep yours in check if your goal is to buy a home.

    Consider the Full Cost of Home Ownership

    Your home mortgage loan payment is just part of the cost of being a homeowner. When you are deciding what kind of payment you can afford, keep in mind that you will also need to pay for insurance, maintenance, landscaping, and home repairs, so you can budget effectively.

    If you’re looking for a home mortgage loan in O’Fallon, contact GCS Credit Union. Our team members can walk you through the process and help you get the right loan for your budget. To schedule an appointment at our credit union, please call (618) 797-7993.

  • Advice for Choosing the Right Credit Card

    A credit card can be an important part of your financial picture. It can help you build a history of smart financial management as you leverage the purchasing power than comes with the ability to charge purchases. However, not all credit cards are created equal, and choosing the right one for your needs is not always easy. Your credit union can offer plenty of advice when it comes to selecting the best card for your needs. These tips will also help.

    Skip the Mailbox Advertisements

    There is a good chance that you are bombarded with credit card offers in your mailbox, email inbox, and even when you’re out shopping. However, choosing a card simply because you have seen it advertised many times isn’t a good strategy. Cards that promise low introductory rates, great rates on balance transfers, and more great introductory features often have a lot of fine print that makes the deals less attractive. Pay attention to all of the details, and look especially closely at what the interest rate on the card after the introductory period has expired.

    Be Realistic About Your Spending Habits

    How you spend can have a big impact on the kind of card that is right for you. For example, if you plan to pay off the balance of your card in full each month, you can use a different set of criteria than if you plan to carry a balance. It’s important for your credit card to help manage your finances as effectively as possible.

    Know Your Credit Score Before You Apply

    Knowing where you stand with your credit can help you narrow down the selection of cards you can consider. Apply for the very best one you can get with your credit, but avoid applying blindly to multiple cards. The multiple credit queries on your account can drive down your score.

    The Visa Rewards credit card from GCS Credit Union was designed for the needs of our customers in mind. Talk to a representative at our credit union in O’Fallon today by calling (618) 797-7993.