Dr. Mike and Connie Robinson, Father Daughter Dentistry, Anderson, IN

I think that’s the biggest thing for us personally is that we got to retirement and got there in pretty good shape, and it has taken the stress out of retirement. When you bring in a young person out of school, and they are trained in new technologies and areas we weren’t from when we were in dental school; they knew how to do that.


Dr. Mike & Connie Robinson

Dr. Mike Robinson and his wife Connie stop by the Four Quadrants Advisory office for their first annual client review in retirement to share their insights on a super-smooth and drama-free practice transition.



During Dr. Mike Robinson’s 35 year career as a dentist, he had a lot of “favorite” patients. Being a successful dentist in the tightly-knit community of Anderson, IN meant you were a part of your patients’ lives outside the office. But of all the visitors, a bright, focused girl named Molly -- who brought with her a plastic toy medical play kit when she visited -- made Dr. Mike light up the most. She seemed so at ease around the office, enjoyed the staff and was keenly interested in what Mike was up to. That’s something you can’t say for many kids.

Molly, as it turns out, is Mike’s daughter.

Eventually, she traded in that plastic med kit for a real set of dental implements and ended up joining her father in practice shortly after graduation from dental school.

What seemed like an excellent idea around the dinner table could have become an emotional roller coaster. How do you prepare a practice for a new associate and someone who will eventually buy you out? Is it a good idea to modernize and remodel so close to retirement? Will the staff adjust to the new policies, treatments, and procedures Molly wants to implement?

So many questions. So many emotions.

Fortunately, the Robinsons turned to their trusted financial advisors - Four Quadrants. Mike and his wife Connie stopped by the office during their first annual client review in retirement to share their insights on the super-smooth and drama-free practice transition.

Tell me how you would describe your practice before you officially retired last year?

Dr. Mike Robinson - It was a general practice. We were mostly doing restorative types of things. I had been there a long time; I grew up in the town. So we went back there and got a pretty good start on things. Got so busy that there were things I couldn’t do, so it gravitated towards restorative work. And that pretty much describes me.

What was it that brought you to Four Quadrants initially? What was it that made you say “We need to work with these guys.”?

Dr. Mike Robinson - When Molly was going to come on board, we realized we didn’t know enough to do that ourselves, and I talked to a couple of other folks before I even met Four Quadrants and had a poor experience, to say the least. They wanted to pigeonhole us into their process and the things I liked about Four Quadrants when we had that initial talk is that they were more interested in me and Molly and Connie and what we wanted out of life and our practice, what was our practice philosophy and they got to know us. And as we went forward they designed things to help us get the best out of our practice and help us with our life really.

Connie Robinson - We were excited that she wanted to come and be in practice with us. We knew that we were going to have to make some changes because we needed to remodel our office, update our equipment, have it state-of-the-art for her to come in with the kind of education she received. And we didn’t know exactly how to do that.

And the time she was coming in was the 2008 recession and our investments were compromised when the stock market went down, and we lost a lot and needed some help in establishing more financial stability. And to bring her in and have the financial means to support her as she got going and build a practice. It worked when we met with Four Quadrants, and they realized the types of challenges we faced, and they realized how to fix that. They have just been wonderful. I think the proof is in the pudding. We took a chance in trusting them and everything they have said has come true. I mean they have helped us achieved financial stability and helped with the transition with Molly.

Dr. Mike Robinson - Even though they were a financial group, they had contacts in the dental world. We needed to change some of our systems and policies and those things - things that they didn’t do - but they knew people, and we brought them in to help us do that. So that from a directional standpoint for our practice itself. It just helped us get better.

So we were trying to gauge things, for I wanted Molly to be successful, so we were changing. It’s hard for an old guy to change. And Molly always said she was proud of me that I showed enough change that we got things done, we got them accomplished. And they led the way.

Could you elaborate? What specifically has changed in your life since becoming a client here?

Dr. Mike Robinson - I think for us, personally, when we started, I know I wasn’t sure I would be able to retire with the way the markets were. At my age, late 50s, that there was enough time left. I think that’s the biggest thing for us personally is that we got to retirement and got there in pretty good shape, and it has taken the stress out of retirement. Having these guys help us and watch us. Help us structure retirement.

Connie Robinson - Yes, we have practice stability and financial stability. They have brought us into the 21st century. When you bring in a young person out of school, and they are trained in new technologies and areas we weren’t from when we were in dental school; they knew how to do that. They knew how to market us and gave us a logo, a name, and that has made a world of difference in how people view our practice.

They can look at our website, our great sign, and they like the family name. Since they picked Father Daughter Dentistry for us, it makes people feel comfortable because we are a family-oriented practice, and we have family values. I think Four Quadrants realized that and capitalized on it. Molly has more business than she knows what to do with.

Dr. Mike Robinson - When we started, Molly and I told Four Quadrants that everything had to be fair for both parties. We want Molly to be successful, and we wanted to be successful with us going forward. And it was a real good match. They took that to heart. In ten years, Molly and I have never had an argument. Part of that is the planning and structure they gave us.

Just for the record, after 35 years of practice, you were joined in practice by your daughter Molly. How important was Four Quadrants to the transition process?

Dr. Mike Robinson - Everything Molly and I said, come Christmas dinner, we want to sit across the table from each other and still be friends. So we started with that. I think there is no way you can go through a transition like that by yourselves. We would have never made that. They knew all the little things that we needed to do and look at and from each of our standpoints, and gave us those things to review. Then they put the package together for us. We were thrilled at the end. It was right for me. And I think it was right for Molly.

Connie Robinson - They understood the kind of production that we would need to support two dentists for a while. They understood what Molly needed coming out of dental school. They educated us as to what young people will look for when they shop for a dentist. They led us in fee schedule and led us in practice management — although it was delegated out — the people that we were working with were excellent in their fields. We couldn’t have had a better guidepost. Financially they set goals for us, and they told us how to get there. It was always positive, never negative. The thought we could do this - and we did.

Once Molly settled in, the new dynamic meant a lot of changes were happening. How important was Four Quadrants’ guidance during all of that change?

Dr. Mike Robinson - We did a major remodel. We brought in, with their help, a couple of consultants to help us with our exam process, our financial process, all those kinds of things. With the staff as well, I have been there a long time and a lot of those folks had been there with me since Molly was four or five years old. It was hard for some of the staff to see Molly as Dr. Weiandt now.

We had some conflicts that way; I won’t kid you. One of the consultants we brought in was to help us ascertain: Do we have the right people in the right job or do we need to make changes? And we did have to make a couple of changes because some of the staff just couldn’t make the transition. It was good guidance.

So it sounds like not all of the staff was ready for the transition. Was everyone on board?

Dr. Mike Robinson - It just happens. It was much better off making that... I’m not sure I could have done that on my own without some help and direction. The other thing was, we had a couple of people in the wrong position. We had someone working as an assistant that was really much better suited for the front office. So we made a switch.

So, let’s pivot back to today. What was the best news you received in the meeting today?

Dr. Mike Robinson - We are on track. Even though we have retired, they have kept close track of us, and we frequently meet and discuss things. In the first year of retirement, it’s a little scary when you drop from having some sort of income source to whatever you’ve got. They have helped us set up budgets and those kinds of things, and it was nice to know that we are on track and that things are going well. We tweaked a couple of things, and we are good to go.

Connie Robinson - We never thought we would be here, in such a good situation, eight or ten years ago. They have made it happen. We can retire, and we thought we were going to have to work until 75-plus because of all the financial hits that happened back in 2008, and they have just pulled it off. I feel stable, I feel comfortable, I feel secure. So that when we head into retirement we are comfortable with our income.

One of the best things I liked about Four Quadrants is that they listened. They listened to what our practice was doing what our family was doing, what our needs were. They tailor-made a plan just for us. They were concerned about our family and our practice; they were concerned about our finances and the actual running of the practice. They covered the whole gamut of the needs he had at the dental office and that we had as a family. They responded to that really well and no one had done that before.

Dr. Mike Robinson - And I will say that we have a son that has a disability, and they were Johnny-on- the-Spot in helping us handle that. How we manage finances with him and so forth and never balked once, but he is part of the family, and they took him in as part of the family and helped guide that also. My comfort level at this stage of my life is really good. And part of that is knowing we have financial stability, and we have someone looking after us that we really trust.

How has your income as well as your retirement savings improved since becoming a client here?

Dr. Mike Robinson - I think it’s better than our original projection. They gave us a pretty good projection to start with if we made certain things happen and we did make those things happen, and it’s turned out better than I ever thought it would. So each year we tweak that and look at it, sometimes at six-month intervals, and all those things came true. They take a pretty conservative approach, but we are conservative, so that fit us very well. Preservation of capital and growth of capital and that was their premise, and they made that happen.

The two biggest things for us was getting Molly ready, and we needed to offer more services, so I was doing a lot of restoratives but not doing a lot of surgery. So they helped us gear out some of those things for her. But the retirement thing for us personally is huge. Especially when we have our son at home that we still care for - having that financial stability makes all the difference in the world knowing that he’ll be cared for.

What advice would you give to prospects who are considering joining Four Quadrants?

Dr. Mike Robinson - Do it sooner. I was late in life when I got going on these things. The sooner you do that, the better off you are. Take the plunge. You have to take a good look at yourself, and maybe sometimes you’re afraid to self-analyze. Dentists . . . we think we are really smart. And sometimes that’s a hinderance going forward. But you need to get in and do it. And sooner than later. These guys are the guys to do that with

Connie Robinson - It’s money well spent. It is. One can’t know everything about everything. We knew about dentistry, but they knew about all the other aspects of it. I remember one time we wanted to go off on our own a little bit because we thought we knew how to do one area. And we sat with Four Quadrants, and he said: “Well, you can try this if you want to, but you will be coming back to us soon.” And we did, and we came back to Four Quadrants. Because they just know so much about what they’re doing. And we trusted them.

Dr. Mike Robinson - Even though we have retired, they have kept in touch with us on a really good basis. Caring about their clients and doing the right thing and they go hand in hand.

Connie Robinson - Four Quadrants is part of our family.

Dr. Mike Robinson - We are very, very happy and very pleased with how things have gone. I can’t say enough superlatives. I am kind of a skeptic and am resistant to some things, but fortunately that turned around and it’s all been very good.

Connie Robinson - It was the integrity. When they predicted or made a promise, they always kept it. They just had a lot of professionalism and integrity and treated us with dignity and respect. And even though there was a generational gap, they respected our way of doing things, but they also brought in the new way of doings things and blended it so well.

Dr. Mike Robinson - Things change and you have to have more business sense than what we started out with.

You get caught up in your sphere, and you aren’t pushing out the limits to get better. As you do more, and more you get narrower and narrower, and it’s tougher to push out.

Connie Robinson - It’s also about the needs of the patients. They surfed the internet and said well I learned this and that and you have to teach them. It’s a different mindset of people coming to your practice. They have the same needs to be cared for, but they have different expectations. There is different competition there with dental practices. They steered us very well.

Dr. Mike Robinson - When I started, the generation that came, you explained what was going on, and they said: “OK, whatever you say.” Now we have guys coming in that have Google doctorates, so you spend more time explaining things. I don’t think that’s a bad thing; I think it’s a good thing and a real long-term change. I just had trouble getting there a little bit.