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Building a home for sharing generations of memories

The Janesville General Motors (GM) Assembly Plant connected family members across generations in the Rock County area during its near-90 years of operation from 1919 to 2008. Some parents spent their entire adult lives helping to manufacture cars, followed by their children who shared the same commitment. Gary Nelson, a lifelong Janesville resident, spent 31 years working in the plant and his dad, Ron Nelson, 42 years. Gary’s wife Carla, a Blackhawk Community Credit Union (BHCCU) employee, also had family dedicated to GM. Her father, Bernard Fields, came to Janesville from Mauston, Wisconsin at 17 and lied about his age in order to work. He eventually was promoted to management. Gary recalls his time at GM as the first time a company offered him the ability to withdraw money from a paycheck to put toward savings. “It was the only way to save, buy a home to raise a family, own a car and put children through college. My son is now an engineer at J.M. Grimstad Inc. after

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Honoring memories: Janesville partners band together to build a legacy

In 1919 local firm JP Cullen completed the construction of Janesville’s General Motors (GM) Assembly Plant, the longest running General Motors plant in the country. Almost 100 years later, the firm is continuing as a partner and joining our efforts to remember the plant by building the new 10,000 square foot Legacy Center in  Reflections Plaza, which will also include the Blackhawk Community Credit Union (BHCCU) headquarters. Ken Kueng, a JP Cullen employee for more than 26 years, remembers the plant well. His dad worked for the company and he often told Ken stories of the long work weeks and manufacturing one of the country’s greatest automobiles. They produced 1,000 cars and 200 trucks per day and won quality awards including Four Wheel Magazine’s “Four Wheeler of the Year” award for the 1992 Chevrolet Blazer despite the fast pace production. Over the years, Ken helped build the plant’s many expansions and could be part of building its legacy. He has walked through the now

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Remembering General Motors: riding through time in a 1923 Chevrolet Superior Series B Sport Touring Phaeton Convertible

In 1919, Janesville welcomed what would become the oldest running General Motors plant in the country. At its peak, the 4.8 million square-foot plant employed approximately 7,000 people. Gary Mawhinney, a retired Wisconsin National Guard, rose to plant supervision at General Motors before retiring in 1995. Recognizing the significance GM played in his life, Mawhinney tracked down the first model-year car, a 1923 Chevrolet Superior Series B Sport Touring Phaeton Convertible, from Wisconsin to Ohio to Oklahoma. Once in his possession, Mawhinney had the car restored by Fagan Automotive and donated it to the Rock County Historical Society. Mawhinney is one of many Janesville residents that remembers his work in the GM plant with pride. “The pace at GM was challenging. We worked 55 hours, six days a week. We produced 1,000 cars and 200 trucks a day and we were number one in quality for trucks,” Mawhinney said. His car is just one piece of memorabilia that will sit on

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Be Aware of Fraud Scams

With summer vacations on the way, this tends to be a season we see increased attempts at fraud. Keep your personal information safe by following these tips: Guard your personal information - Crooks pretending to be from companies you do business with may call or send an email, claiming they need to verify your personal information. Do NOT provide your credit card or account information or your social security number. Be especially suspicious if someone claiming to be from a company with whom you have an account asks for information the business already has. Know who you're dealing with - In any transaction that you conduct, check out the business with the Better Business Bureau to see if the business is credible. Be cautious about unsolicited phone calls and emails - They can be fraudulent. If a phone call seems suspicious, end the call and call the company back at the phone number on their website. The best approach with email may simply be to delete them because responding

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Legacy Center Planned to Honor Our Founding Members

We are proud to announce our plans for creating a Legacy Center in Janesville to commemorate the generations of local residents with lifelong careers dedicated to General Motors, Fisher Body, and the UAW. Blackhawk Community Credit Union is a banking cooperative that was originally founded on June 18, 1965, to provide financial services to the employees of Fisher Body, General Motors and the UAW. Today, we serve thousands of retirees, those that still have a long-distance commute from Janesville to another plant, and their families. “As the bulldozers arrive and demolition of the oldest General Motors plant begins just before its centennial, it’s more important than ever to ensure that the strong work ethic and iconic history of our community is honored,” said Mary Frederick, the credit union’s Board Chairperson. The Legacy Center is a part of Blackhawk Community Credit Union’s long-term strategic plans for the future. Artifacts and memorabilia from the plant have been secured

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Teaching Money Lessons to Kids

Teaching Money Lessons to Kids Being able to buy virtually anything online with a smartphone means that teaching kids about finance is that much more important than it was when you were a kid. The impulse to buy can be tempered by activities and real-life contexts. Even everyday activities like buying groceries can become recurring money lessons. In time, teaching financial literacy through activities will help your kids learn to save and spend wisely. Try starting with a few of these: Three piggy banks Instead of giving children one place to save money, give them three. Designate a piggy bank for saving, one for spending and one for charity, and explain how each should be used. The spending one should be for cheap activities, candy or toys they want right now. The savings piggy bank should be their option for more-expensive items that they need to save up for over time. The charity one is for donations to organizations they are interested in. Money from chores or

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GUEST POST: Taking Action Against Elder Financial Abuse by John Gower of NerdWallet

John Gower is a writer for NerdWallet.com, a personal finance website dedicated to helping you make smart financial decisions. Taking Immediate Action against Elder Financial Abuse Once you know the signs and the perpetrators of elder financial abuse, you will be more likely to recognize it. The next step is to act. Witnessing this form of exploitation can be devastating ─ especially when the abuser is a relative who you and the elder both trust. While you may still be in shock and need time to process the information, it’s vital to take measures to stop it immediately. Following these steps is a good place to start: Take Financial Control If an aging loved one is being pressured into giving money to another family member or a caretaker, take control of their accounts. The elder may have a difficult time saying no to the abuser or may not even realize they’re being taken advantage of. For example, let’s say you’ve known your sister has been in debt before. You’ve noticed

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GUEST POST: Protecting Seniors You Know from Abuse by John Gower of NerdWallet

John Gower is a writer for NerdWallet.com, a personal finance website dedicated to helping you make smart financial decisions. Knowing the signs and stopping the crime are the steps to take in the immediate event of abuse, but what about the future? You don’t need to wait around to protect aging loved ones from being targeted for financial exploitation. Build up reinforcement measures and guard their finances against those who would like to use them for their own purposes. 1. Check in occasionally It may seem obvious but this step is often overlooked. By checking in with the loved one, you can tell if any changes occur, whether in health, habits, or even conversation topics. These can help you assess their psychological condition (if you think an onset of dementia or Alzheimer’s is coming) and how they’re spending their time and money. Any abrupt changes in financial habits such as forgetting bills, spending far in excess of normal monthly obligations, or excessive gift-giving

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GUEST POST: Identifying Elder Financial Abuse by John Gower of NerdWallet

John Gower is a writer for NerdWallet.com, a personal finance website dedicated to helping you make smart financial decisions. Identifying Elder Financial Abuse: The Signs and the Perpetrators As people grow older, they unfortunately become more vulnerable to certain types of crimes. We all know about the dangers of walking alone at night, or carrying lots of cash, but elder financial abuse is another common risk that many seniors and their families fail to understand. Sadly, it often occurs at the hand of a person the elder knows and trusts. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) defines financial abuse (or exploitation) as “the unauthorized or improper use of the resources of an elder for monetary or personal benefit, profit, or gain.” More specifically, this means any forging, misusing, or stealing money or possessions from an elder. This includes forcing or deceiving the elder into surrendering his finances, as well as wrongfully using guardianship or power of attorney for

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Guest Post: Four Ways to Budget Smarter, Not Harder by John Gower of NerdWallet

4 Ways to Budget Smarter, Not Harder Creating a budget is a life necessity - one that consumers, businesses, and governments alike must address. Unfortunately, more than half of Americans lack a budget to help track and understand their personal spending habits. Why do so many people continue to turn a blind eye to their personal finances? Many would likely claim that a budget is either too tough to follow, or too time-consuming to prepare. However, if you can learn to make smarter decisions, and take simple actions to control spending, then maintaining a solid budget could become second nature. Here are four tips to help make your budgeting process smarter, more efficient, and easier to follow.  1. Understand opportunity cost If you’ve ever taken a class in economics, you may remember this term. Opportunity cost is, to put it simply, the benefits you sacrifice by choosing one action instead of another. When applied to your budget and spending, this concept is an important

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