Interviewing Tips and Tricks

Caitlyn Medlock, Human Resources Coordinator


Let’s be honest, this job market is really a candidates market. With low unemployment rates, candidates really have the pick of the company they hope and dream to work for. However, to ensure you are landing your dream job, follow these interviewing tips and tricks below:

  1. Do your research!

Why would you apply for a company you know nothing about? Though the job title may be intriguing and you believe your skill sets may align quiet well with the role, it is essential to do you research on the company in which you may be applying for a role. Why would you want to work for a company that embodies the exact opposite in what you are looking for in a potential employer? What products does the company offer? How was the company founded? How long has the company been in business? What events does the company partake in within the community? Recruiters love when candidates know this information!

  1. Arriving to the interview:

A general rule of thumb it to arrive no more than 10 minutes before your interview. Though to may be really eager about the opportunity, you may have to wait up until 10 minutes dependent upon the recruiter or hiring managers schedule.

  1. Preparation

Bring copies of your resume. Bring any additional information that a recruiter may ask for – completed application, etc. dependent on the industry some may have everything electronic and some may only use hard copies still. Be prepared.

  1. Dress to Impress

When you are speaking with the recruiter, ask what their company dress code is. If employee’s wear jeans every day of the week then Business Casual is acceptable. If the dress code is Business Casual dress Business Professional. The goal is to dress to impress. Dress one step above what would be considered as general every day work attire within the company.

  1. Answer the Questions AND Sell Yourself

Interview questions can vary, but there is always an opportunity to provide the recruiter or hiring manager some insight on your best traits and skills! Keep in mind, always answer the original question but supporting details will never hurt your chances. This technique also helps the interview flow more like a conversation and eases everyone’s nerves.

Preparing for The Tax Season : 8 Tips To Get You Ready.


1. Create a Filing System

taxservicesfbIf you don’t have a filing system for your tax records, you should start one. It’s always a good idea to save tax-related receipts and records. Keeping good records now will save time and help you file a complete and accurate tax return next year.

2. Adjust Your Withholding

If you’re an employee and you think that your tax withholding will fall short of your total 2016 tax liability, you may be able to avoid an unexpected tax bill by increasing your withholding. If you are having too much tax withheld, you may get a larger refund than you expect. In either case, you can complete a new Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate, and give it to your employer.

3. Report Changes in Circumstances

If you purchase health insurance coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace, you may receive advance payments of the premium tax credit in 2016. It is important that you report changes in circumstances to your Marketplace so you get the proper type and amount of premium assistance. Some of the changes that you should report include changes in your income, employment, or family size.

4. Make Charitable Contributions

If you plan to give to charity, consider donating before the year ends. That way you can claim your contribution as an itemized deduction for 2016. A gift by check counts for 2016 as long as you mail it in December. Remember that you must give to a qualified charity to claim a tax deduction.

5. Pay Property Taxes

Pay your property taxes by Dec. 31 to count for 2016. That way you can claim your property tax payment as an itemized deduction for 2016.

6. Contribute to Retirement Accounts

You need to contribute to your 401(k) or similar retirement plan by Dec. 31 to count for 2016. On the other hand, you have until April 18, 2017, to set up a new IRA or add money to an existing IRA and still have it count for 2016.

7. Contribute to a Health Savings Account

For 2016, if you have self-only HDHP coverage, you can contribute up to $3,350. If you have family HDHP coverage you can contribute up to $6,750. You can make contributions to your HSA for 2016 until April 18, 2017.

8. Pay Estimated Tax if Required

If you receive income that’s not subject to withholding, you may need to pay estimated tax. This may include income such as self-employment, interest, or rent.

Let Guardian Credit Union enhance your auto buying experience!


Enhance your auto buying experience – by Dave Zwaska, VP of Lending

Purchasing an auto is a BIG deal! It’s important to find the car that’s right for your budget, but that’s not always as straight-forward as it sounds. While researching vehicles prior to shopping is a great first step, you also need to consider if any back-end items (defined in Section 4) may be needed.

Below are some tips and tricks to help you make your auto-lending experience through Guardian Credit Union as easy as possible!

Many people go into the car-buying experience not truly understanding what they can afford. When looking at a member’s financial picture, our skilled lending staff reviews a member’s debt-to-income, employment history, value of collateral, credit score, and credit history. While all of these factors paint a well-rounded picture of your financial situation, only you know your actual budget and lifestyle. It’s critical that you take time to assess your budget on your terms to understand the monthly impact of your auto purchase.

There are definite benefits to both – it comes down to what you prefer.
New vehicles come with the reassurance of a new car warranty and the likelihood of no immediate repair costs. The downside is higher up-front costs since new vehicles are more expensive, and a vehicle significantly drops in value once driven off the dealership lot.
Pre-owned vehicles have already begun to depreciate (lose value), making the purchase price much less than a new vehicle. This immediate savings is great, but repair costs can arrive somewhat quickly since the vehicle is pre-owned. No one likes this kind of uncertainty, so there are back-end items you can use to off-set these higher, potential repair costs. By working with a member of our staff, you’ll be able to get all the tools you need to feel safe and confident with your pre-owned vehicle purchase! (See Section 4 for more details.)


Here at Guardian Credit Union, your financing experience is our #1 priority! We want to make sure you’re comfortable throughout your entire financing journey as the process can very overwhelming.
You can rest assured that we have the rate and term to match your financial needs, and you don’t even need to have your car picked out to get started. You can simply choose to apply online, over the phone, or at any one of our branch locations. If you have specific questions, one of our friendly Branch Loan Representatives is there to help you every step of the way to get you in your new vehicle as soon as possible!

Back-end products are additional financed products that will help cover your vehicle in a variety of ways, and Guardian Credit Union offers them all!
GAP insurance: In the event of a total loss situation, GAP insurance will cover the difference between what you owe and the replacement value of the vehicle. If you owe more on your vehicle than it’s worth, this product is definitely beneficial for protecting your financial health. Plus it comes at a very reasonable cost.
Warranty programs: A warranty program will lower your potential repair costs on pre-owned vehicles for certain types of repairs, and these protections last for years to come! Although these warranty programs come at a higher cost, the benefit can far outweigh the costs of the repair.
Other back-end products: Unemployment protection, credit/life insurance, and disability protection safeguard your loan and credit from unfortunate circumstances.

Be sure to apply at Guardian Credit Union to begin your auto buying journey! You can apply at, or call one of our representatives at (414) 546-7450.

Protect yourself from Ransomware


 Ransomware by Nate Tullis -Systems Administrator at Oak Creek

Ransomware, it’s out there and more dangerous than ever. For those who may be wondering what ransomware is, it’s a type of malware that will try to encrypt just about any file it can touch, rendering the files unreadable without a specific decryption key. The developers of the malware will then demand a ransom, usually in the range of $200-$400, before they give you the decryption key.

Why has it been so successful for hackers and criminals? For one, it generally doesn’t require special privileges to install, it can run and begin encrypting files almost immediately upon execution. Second, ransomware can easily disguise itself in fraudulent emails and compromised websites, making it very easy to distribute across the Internet to millions of unsuspecting people. Lastly, we’re only human and we hate to lose files such as pictures, music and videos that are precious to us, so many ransomware victims end up paying the ransom, and in most cases they receive a decryption key, but not always. When ransomware developers receive ransom payments they naturally are encouraged to continue using it and further develop it so that it becomes harder for us to guard against it, so it’s very important that we do not pay these ransoms.

So how do we protect ourselves? First and foremost, the surefire way to beat ransomware is by backing up your files, every day. If your files fall victim to ransomware and you can simply restore them from backup then no serious harm has been done, although you will definitely need to clean your PC at that point before using it again. The easiest way to back up your files every day is by using one of the many cloud based services that do it for you automatically; some are even free up to a certain data amount (e.g. 5 GB). These backup services work by installing a small program on your PC that will first backup everything and then backup any new or changed files on a nightly basis. When you need to restore a file you can simply log onto an online service and download the back-up copies from there or through the program installed on the PC (make sure you restore files that are dated before the ransomware attack). Again, it’s also important to make sure you run malware removal programs after that to ensure your PC is clean. If you really want to be thorough you can even completely wipe your hard drive and start over with a new installation of Windows.

Aside from that, the best course of action is to scrutinize the validity of any e-mail you receive and any website URL you’re thinking of clicking because avoidance is key with any type of malware. Anti-malware programs are also important, and many will help to stop ransomware before it can execute, but they will never be 100% effective, so file backups and malware avoidance are still your best bets. It’s also important to make sure you’re installing security updates on your PC on a regular basis. If you do all of these things, you should be well-guarded against not only ransomware, but malware in general.

With October being Cybersecurity Awareness Month, let’s all be diligent in sharing tips with our friends and family on how to keep our data safe!


10 Bits of Financial Advice for Millennials


Managing money is generally not taught in elementary school. About 17 states require students to take a personal finance course in high school, but only a handful require testing on the topic, according to the Council for Economic Education.

When it comes to money, it’s better to learn from other people’s mistakes than to make your own. Follow these tips when you’re young to avoid financial hardship in life.

1. Go to college

You may want to do something that doesn’t require a college degree, such as playing professional golf. But give serious consideration to enrolling in college anyway. Yes, it’s a major investment, but if your parents are unable to help you pay for it, make it happen yourself, even if it means taking out loans. Just don’t get in over your head; try to borrow no more than the amount you expect to earn the 1st year after graduation. That way you can pay off the loans within 10 years. One way to save on costs: Go to a community college first; then transfer to a 4-year university after 2 years.

It’s easier to get a degree when you’re young than when you have a home, family and all the attendant adult responsibilities. Your earnings potential increases significantly with a college degree — which will come in handy if your other dreams don’t materialize. Plus, you will likely experience a love of learning that you will never outgrow.

2. Find your purpose

If you’re having trouble figuring out what you want to do with your life, look within. You were born with certain talents and natural abilities. You know which subjects you excel in and which ones you struggle with. Choose a career that enables you to maximize your gifts in a way that fulfills you or helps others. As you grow, your career may change along with your desires. But for now, gravitate toward a field that feels like home.

3. Begin retirement planning with your 1st job

This tip is so important. If the company you work for offers a 401(k) plan, sign up at your 1st opportunity. If there’s no such plan, divert some of your paycheck into an IRA. Believe it or not, if you’re lucky, one day you’ll find you are older, so it’s best to be prepared. Setting up automatic contributions to either one of these retirement vehicles at a young age will help you build wealth painlessly.

Naturally, the more you earn, the more you can stash. Sock away at least 7% of your earnings in the beginning, and increase it each year until you’re diverting 15% a year.

4. Place a value on money

It doesn’t buy happiness, but it can certainly make you comfortable. Just understand what it’s worth. Money is what you earn in exchange for your time in some productive pursuit. Let’s say you earn $20 an hour at your job, and you’re considering purchasing a TV for $500. You may calculate that you spend 25 hours, or about 3 days, earning that money. It’s worth it, you may think. But that’s not an accurate value estimate. If you’re single, you’re in the 25% tax bracket, so you actually spend about 33 hours earning the net income required to make the purchase. It still may be worth it, but there may be competing demands for that money, such as rent and car payments, not to mention your retirement fund. Each purchase represents a trade-off. Make these decisions wisely.

5. Use the credit card sparingly

This tip is also really vital. It’s easy to spend now with plastic and much harder to pay later. Use credit responsibly. Comparison-shop for your card. Remember that you’ll be relying on your future earnings to pay for today’s credit card purchases. And if you keep a running balance, you’ll also be paying interest, sometimes at usurious rates. Don’t fall into this trap. Instead, save money to meet financial goals.

6. Follow the golden rule

Contrary to popular belief, the duplicity and craftiness of Machiavellian tactics won’t really help you survive. Instead, they’ll engender mistrust in your relationships. Treat others fairly, the way you wish to be treated. No one looks good when trying to make others look bad. When you’re on the job, avoid gossip. Beware that when someone takes you into his or her confidence to point out someone else’s foibles, it’s only a matter of time before your foibles come to light.

7. Select your partner wisely

Choose someone whose values match your own — not just where money is concerned, but more importantly, ethical and moral values. Get to know your soul mate over the course of at least a year. Passion is important, but trust even more so. Make sure you are free to be yourself. If you hook up with an angry or overly critical partner, you will be subjected to hostility and may lose your sense of self. Conversely, if you’re the one with anger issues, resolve them before they poison a perfectly good relationship. Learn to make decisions with your heart, along with your head.

8. Be prepared for the unexpected

Someday you may lose a job through no fault of your own. Prepare today by stashing money into an accessible emergency fund. The easiest way to do this is to automatically divert a portion of your earnings into a savings account in addition to the amount you’re contributing to a 401(k) plan or IRA.

Try not to use that 401(k) money for emergencies. It will cost you plenty, between income and penalty taxes. For instance, if you have $10,000 in your account and you’re in the 25% tax bracket, you’ll lose $2,500 to taxes, plus pay another $1,000 penalty for breaking into the money before you reach age 55. (For IRAs, the early withdrawal penalty applies up to age 59 1/2, with certain exceptions.) Bottom line: Your $10,000 dwindles to $6,500. Worse, you will have lost the opportunity for that money to compound and build wealth for your retirement.

9. Learn about investing or hire help

It’s not rocket science; in the beginning you just need to overcome fear and select 1 or 2 good, cheap mutual funds. After you’ve amassed some wealth, it may be time to hire someone. If you do, you will obviously have to pay for the service. Get referrals and then check out the qualifications and credentials of a prospective financial adviser or broker.

Make sure you understand the fee structure of the services. Is it commission-based or do you pay an hourly fee or a percentage of assets or some combination of these fees? Ask for a complete breakdown. Also, check with the appropriate authority to see if any disciplinary actions have been taken against a certified financial planner or broker before you initiate contact. If you’re confident enough to choose your own investments, you might find that going with a robo-adviser is the best bet.

10. Be thankful for your good fortune

It’s not all about money. If you work at it, you will have abundance — through strong family ties and solid relationships, as well as monetary assets. Take some time out each day to reflect on the good in your life. Spend at least 1 day a week in a recreational activity or hobby that you enjoy, and take a minimum 1-week vacation annually if you possibly can so you can totally unplug and unwind. Again, save for the trip.

If you have children, spend as much time as you can with them when they’re still young and dependent on you. Before you know it, they’ll be old enough to get a driver’s license, and you’ll see less and less of them from that point on.


Money Talks.


Garden of Savings by Misty DeGraveBranch Supervisor at South Milwaukee

In this installment of Money Talks we will talk about all the benefits of having a garden. You have little space for a garden, no problem. You can kill a cactus, no problem. There are some great gardening experts that can help you have a bountiful garden and we will introduce them to you.  What to do with all the food from your garden? I have some great recipe sites for you to try.

I used to think you needed a big yard to have a garden. Once I found the Smiling Gardener & Wisconsin Garden, I knew this was the year I was having a garden!  Phil Nauta is an organic gardener who runs the Smiling Gardener. You can find Phil at  to learn more about him and the help he can give you for your garden.  Phil is really good for the beginner gardener and can give you options for a small container garden.  For the gardener who is looking to go to the next level Wisconsin Garden is for you!  Richard & Lynn Voigt run the Wisconsin Garden and live in Milwaukee. They have over 600 videos on gardening. They understand Wisconsin weather and how it effects your garden. You can find Richard & Lynn at for all your garden questions.

How much could be saved having a garden is a question the National Gardening Association wanted to answer so they conducted a study.  The study was sponsored by Scotts Miracle-Gro Co, a company trusted by all gardeners.  The study found that the average family with a vegetable garden will spend about $70 a year in maintenance & seed coast. They will harvest an estimated $600 worth of fresh vegetables!  CEO and Chairman of Burpee seed company, George Ball, says that $1 in green bean seeds could yield you $75 in crops.  How much you save will be based off your space available and the type of food you grow.  The first year of your garden will be the most expensive starting from scratch, then it should be a smaller maintenance cost and bigger savings each season after that!

When gardening involves critical functions including strength, endurance, dexterity, learning, problem solving, and sensory awareness. Its benefits are likely to represent a synthesis of various aspects. Some studies have shown gardening can reduce the risk of stroke or heart attack by 30%.  Some rehabilitee programs offer gardening to stoke patients, because it helps them with dexterity and they are getting vitamin D from being outside.  Researchers have found a bacteria in gardening soil that can help alleviate symptoms of psoriasis, allergies and asthma.  The bacteria has also been shown to help with depression.

There’s no more tangible measure of one’s power to cause positive change in the world than to nurture a plant from seed to fruit-bearing.  A great way to boost your self-esteem is having a great colorful flower garden.  Flower garden benefits are truly for the sole, but you can eat some flowers and they add great flavor to your salad.  When you follow this link you will find an eatable flower chart . Your next garden salad will taste incredible and smell great as well!

Once the garden is in full bloom, it is time to get your recipes out and start planning.  I have 2 sites that are my go to for great never fail recipes. Taste of Home and Cooking Light.  Both sites are very easy to use and offer many variations to most recipes.  On Cooking Light they have a great recipe for a Cobb Salad Pizza. This pizza is very close to the kind of pizza you would get in Italy, all fresh ingredients!  On Taste of Home, I love the Mexican Garden Salad and the Garden Casserole, both easy to make and crowed pleasing.  The Vegetable Gardener has a great recipe for candied flowers and some great desserts to make from your garden. You can find them at and they have some recipes I will be trying this year with my harvest.

Thank you for joining us this month and hope you have learned a little something and, maybe, inspired you to find the gardener in you.  Who is ready for a “vacation”?  In July we will be giving the Do’s and Don’ts when on vacation to make it fun and safe for all.


Money Talks.



Money Folklore by Misty DeGrave

Welcome to GCU’s Money Talk, a bi-monthly blog giving fun information and tips on money.  At GCU we are here for our members and like to have fun helping our communities.  In this month’s article you will learn a little about the origin of money and some weird superstitions of the world.  In our next GCU Money Talk we will give you tips on how to save on having your own garden, it’s easier than you think!

Can you believe the first type of currency was shells?  The shells were primarily used in China and India, and by American Indians. The American Indians used the shells as ceremonial gifts, embroidered onto decorated belts and other garments. By the end of the 6th century metal currency started being adopted throughout the region.  Once you have coins, you need a mint and the first recorded mint was in the 7th century, in Turkey.  The coins were bean shaped and marked on one side with a lion head.  China was the first to experiment with paper money, during the Five Dynasties period.  By the end of the 15th century, in China, inflation had become such a problem that paper currency was abolished in the Ming Empire.

Now that we have some info on the beginning of currency, let’s learn some of the superstitions about money. According to the Greeks, money attracts more money, so it’s bad luck to completely empty your pockets, wallet, or account.  In Turkey if you hold gold in your hand during a dream, you will earn money in real life.  On the Caribbean islands of Trinidad & Tobago, some believe that spotting a brown spider or grasshopper in your home means you will get money.  The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary even has an entry called “money spider”.  In China, the ancient art of Feng Shui has several beliefs about how to achieve financial prosperity.  For instance: adding plants with round leaves (especially with red or purple flowers) is believed to enhance your wealth areas, while opening the doors is believed to invite wealth in.

Who would like to know how to grow a money tree?  Yes, there really is a money tree, but it will not bloom real money. Legend has it that a poor Taiwanese farmer found a small Pachira plant growing in his fields one day.  The farmer found it so beautiful, that he started to sell them at market.  The poor farmer became very wealthy from the plant, so he dubbed it the money tree.

Now, to end with some facts you may not have known.  In Ben Franklin’s day, people repaired torn bills with a needle and thread, money was cloth, not paper.  The first U.S. cents were 100% copper, while todays pennies are 95% zinc and it costs $2.41 to make a penny.  Sailors used to pass the time by banging the edges of coins with the heel of a spoon, then cut the middle out of the thickened rims to make rings for their loved ones.  The $10,000 bill was the largest made, as of 2009 there are only 336 left in the world.  A stack of $1 bills, a mile high, would be $14.5 million dollars.  The earliest record of forgery was by Polycrates of Samos, he used fake gold coins to pay his debt to Sparta.

We hope you have been entertained, and maybe, even learned something new about money.  Please check out our blog often for new promotions, articles and tips on saving and more.  Please stop in at any of our 6 locations to learn more about us and the services we offer and how we can help you save and grow as a member.