Quicken Paul Gipson

Quicken Stories: Paul Gipson

Time To Read 5 MIN READ

Paul Gipson came up through the aerospace industry, watching far too many airlines go under—sometimes right beneath his feet. After 9/11, the company he worked for cut salaries across the board and significantly reduced their 401(k) contributions.

He spoke with us to share his personal journey as well as how he used Quicken to keep his retirement plan on track.

Paul’s background

“I had been in the airline business, working for different airlines, and they were always going under. Pension plans just disappeared overnight.”

Today, Paul Gipson and his wife are enjoying a comfortable retirement in Arizona, but they didn’t start planning for that retirement during their early years together. 

“We had always been a checkbook management house,” he told us. “That’s how we watched our money. We didn’t have a lot starting out, so we didn’t see money management as a big deal. For many years, what came in went right back out, but we knew we needed to start working toward the future.”

It was around that time, in the mid-90s, that Paul started using Quicken to keep track of the family finances.

“We needed a better way to keep track of what was coming in, what was going out, and what we were doing with it,” he told us.

Eventually, I got much more serious about how I was using Quicken, treating it like the money management tool it really is instead of just a record keeper.

 

When I started working with Quicken, it was an eye opening experience, suddenly seeing where our money was really going and how we were spending it.

From record keeping to money management

Tracking their spending by category helped Paul start looking for ways the family could save, and where they could put money away for the future.

 

Eventually, I got much more serious about how I was using Quicken, treating it like the money management tool it really is instead of just a record keeper.

 “It’s the ability to see your spending per week, or per month, or even over the last 6 months,” he told us. “All you have to do is look at the category. Suddenly, you’re asking yourself, ‘We spent how much on gas? Why did we do that?’”

He didn’t change his habits overnight, but being able to see and track that spending was crucial to making the decisions they were about to face.

“It might not make you change your behavior,” he said, “but it makes you start thinking about your behavior. Until you start thinking about it, there’s really no emphasis on it. You just keep trucking along the way you always have.”

And then, in 2001, the family would see just how much of a difference that could make.

Pivoting quickly under financial crisis

“After 9/11, the economy took a hit. Everybody in the company wound up taking a 15% pay cut, and they reduced company matching into the 401(k). I had to take a hard look at how to compensate for that.”

Paul had been using Quicken for several years and had a solid plan for retirement. He knew he needed to keep saving, but that plan took a double hit when his salary dropped after 9/11 and the company pulled back on its matching funds.

“At that point,” Paul said, “I had to take a hard look at what we were doing, asking myself how we were going to compensate for that. I was on a path toward retirement that I could identify, but a lot had changed. I had to figure out how to stay on that path.”

Fortunately, they were already categorizing their spending. Paul was able to look back over time to see where they had room to shift their priorities.

“We had enough of our data in Quicken by that point that we could see where things were—where we had discretionary spending we could cut back on, and also where we couldn’t. We used it to make those decisions: ‘Hey, if we quit doing this, we can put more money into retirement and make up for what the company isn’t matching anymore.’”

They also started funding a Roth IRA to supplement their retirement savings.

Moving into retirement

Now that he’s retired, Paul uses a cyclical routine to keep up with the family finances. He likes to export his Quicken data into spreadsheets to track his finances in a very personalized way.

 

Quicken has become our main communication with our bank accounts, investment accounts, credit cards, and everything else. I use the data from that to populate the spreadsheets. I tend to look at the spreadsheets as a kind of extension of the Quicken data.

He updates his data automatically in Quicken every day, taking a few minutes to review the day’s transactions, investment closing prices, and any changes in his investment funds.

On weekends, Paul uses Quicken to reconcile the past week and check on his cash position. Then, at the end of each month, he runs a spending report in Quicken and reviews his accounts, checking to see how his finances performed against his plans and projections.

The monthly spreadsheets are a “second look” at his finances, using a slightly different categorization scheme along with hand-picked benchmark data to get a bird’s-eye view of the year to date.

We asked Paul if he had any other suggestions for making Quicken your own. He told us his best advice is to think carefully about the categories you set up.

“Once you do that,” he said, “the rest of Quicken is pretty simple.”

We’d like to thank Paul for taking the time to speak with us and share his story. 

We believe every Quicken customer has a unique story to share. If you have a Quicken story, we’d love to hear more about how you use Quicken and your favorite tips and tricks. 

If you’re interested in participating in an interview, please contact us at interviews@quicken.com. Selected stories will be featured on our blog post and social media and will receive a special gift from the Quicken team. We look forward to hearing your story.