CLIENT STORIES

Dr. Tom and Tamma Kennedy, Thomas Michael Kennedy, DDS, Madison, IN

It was just becoming the ‘same old - same old.’ We were getting paychecks every week, but our retirement accounts weren’t growing much. In this first year working with Four Quadrants, it’s just been phenomenal what they have saved for us just by restructuring everything.

 

Dr. Tom & Tamma Kennedy

Four Quadrants worked with Dr. Tom Kennedy to reorganize and consolidate accounts, lower his overhead dramatically and predict accurately his tax liabilities, so he didn’t have to hoard cash or take out a loan to pay the IRS. This freed up cash flow that continues to swell his retirement savings accounts.

 

FOUR QUADRANTS CLIENT SPOTLIGHT

Dr. Tom Kennedy had built a successful practice filled with appreciative patients over his long career as a Dentist in Madison, Indiana. A relationship that begins in childhood develops as a friendship over decades in this small Indiana town. Now some of the patients Tom saw as children are bringing their children to see him.

But as his waiting room and appointment book stayed busy, Tom and his wife Tamma also witnessed a lifelong expectation unravel: the amount he would receive from the sale of his practice down the road may not be enough to maintain the lifestyle he had grown accustomed to when he was ready to retire.

The Kennedys knew they needed to line up investments to fund their retirement, but other priorities kept cutting in.

Alas, as he entered his 60s Tom thought he had waited too late. Luckily he found Four Quadrants and in his first year we worked with him to reorganize and consolidate accounts, lower his overhead dramatically and predict accurately his tax liabilities, so he didn’t have to hoard cash or take out a loan to pay the IRS.

This freed up cash flow that continues to swell his retirement savings accounts.

Tell us a little bit about your practice.

Dr. Tom Kennedy - It’s a solo practice. You could describe it as a boutique practice, but I think what we try to do is emphasize the quality of care versus the volume of procedures as our business model. I guess the boutique solo practice label fits the best.

What was it that brought you to us initially? What was it that got you to the point where you said let’s give Four Quadrants a try?

Dr. Tom Kennedy - As the age was creeping up, and having handled things on my own for a long time, I got to the point where I really needed to do something (about retirement.) I was looking at the retirement account numbers and came to the realization that the original model my generation assumed — that you just sell your practice and retire on that — the reality is that doesn’t really work it more.

Four Quadrants came to a dental society meeting and the more they talked about issues, the more I said to myself, ‘That sounds like something I really need.’ I need somebody to guide me in all aspects of planning for retirement. I knew I needed to do something I just didn’t know what it was.

Tamma Kennedy - “Shepherding,” I think is the word you can use. We needed someone to help us, to guide us through to a better retirement.

Tamma, as his wife, do you agree with that? Were you at the point where you realized something needed to be done?

Tamma Kennedy - It was just becoming the ‘same old - same old.’ We were getting paychecks every week, but our retirement accounts weren’t growing much.

In this first year working with Four Quadrants, it’s just been phenomenal what they have saved for us just by restructuring everything. We had no clue what we could or could not do or how we could restructure the practice. It’s just been amazing.

You started working on your retirement later in practice than many dentists, what pieces of advice would you give a younger dentist or one just starting out thinking about how to plan for retirement?

Dr. Tom Kennedy - For someone my age I would say saving for retirement can be done later in the game, like me. Don’t be afraid like I was, wondering if I had late waited too late. I wondered if I would have to go to work for corporate dentistry until I’m 80? Saving for retirement no matter how late you start actually can be done.

Tamma Kennedy - Our only regret is we didn’t work with you ten years before.

Dr. Tom Kennedy - For someone just starting out, and whether to work with Four Quadrants on their retirement or not? I just say ‘jump on it.’ Retirement seems so far away, something that you say ‘I’ll get to it soon enough,’ but it comes sooner than you think. There’s always going to be something that comes along to take away from your savings strategy if you try to do it on your own.

Tamma Kennedy - Yes, weddings, college or something.

Dr. Tom Kennedy - If you put a structure in place early, you are just that much more ahead of the game.

Tom, you are a pretty even-keeled guy, but I can imagine the uncertainty of changing the way you save for retirement at this stage of your life caused some anxiety. So how would you compare the state of mind you had when you first started working with us, to what you have today?

Dr. Tom Kennedy - I was somewhat skeptical at first, but my questions have been answered. One of the takeaways from the annual meeting we had with the staff is that the future is a lot clearer this time than last year. We looked at a lot of strategies, but I wasn’t really clear on how it would all end up; how it would go. Now that we’re a year out, I see how the strategy makes sense, and how things are going to proceed.

Tamma Kennedy - We feel so much more secure now than we did a year ago.

To follow that up, what has been the biggest value Four Quadrants has brought to you in the last year? Maybe something you didn’t expect to learn?

Dr. Tom Kennedy - I think just the direction that they’ve given us. I’m willing to make changes; I just need to know which direction I need to go and then run with it. I feel like we are heading in the right direction. If you tell me to run this way, okay fine, I can run, I just need someone who’s been there before to point in our direction.

That’s what I was seeking, and that’s what I found with Four Quadrants.

Tamma Kennedy - And for us, when you think about your practice, our emotions are involved with it. But Four Quadrants has an outside perspective that is knowledgeable but not emotionally attached as we are. So they can more easily see what we need to do and tell us.

What is something you achieved this past year that you would not have been able to without us?

Tamma Kennedy - Four Quadrants has really helped on our taxes. The tax savings has been tremendous.

Dr. Tom Kennedy - I’d agree, taxes have always been a challenge. Each year we wonder what kind of hit we’re going to take. Are we going to have to take out a loan? There’s so much uncertainty. Now that is pretty much under control; we don’t really fear any surprises with taxes anymore.

I know they’re going to take a little bit away from here and put towards there and it’ll be nice and smooth. As far as a peace of mind and stress reducer, having certainty with our taxes has been really important. It was a nice surprise not having a surprise.

Honestly, one of my anxieties was that Four Quadrants was going to change all of these things and I worried that all those changes would add to my stress level too. But it’s gone the opposite direction; all these changes have reduced my stress and anxiety a lot.

Before I didn’t know what the tax bill was going to be; you could try to guess. I could go on my computer and try to see if I was going to owe more or less, but I was always wrong (laughs). It’s so nice to have that predictability with taxes now because I really tried my best to predict what would happen and just couldn’t do it.

Tamma Kennedy - Four Quadrants has cut overhead too.

Dr. Tom Kennedy - Yes. When (Four Quadrants staff) told me what my overhead was and what we got it down to, it was a lot higher than I thought it was when I started working with them. Four Quadrants wanted to get me down to certain level and I said “right.” I wasn’t sure I believed them.

But sure enough we did drop it dramatically, and that was a nice surprise.

Almost every business owner thinks overhead is a necessary evil but it doesn’t have to be that. I know you guys are heading out, is or anything else you’d like to add in general? Maybe a general review of your first year with us?

Dr. Tom Kennedy - Our first year has been positive. I’ve been feeling more motivated now after I’ve seen what’s happened in the first year.

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