At least half of the 76 million baby boomers in the country are not ready for retirement. Mark Becque is on a mission to change that.

Twelve years ago, Becque stopped making house calls in Green Valley for financial planning and moved from Sierra Vista to set up shop in the retirement community.

"Unfortunately there is a lot of wrong doing with today’s seniors and retired folks," Becque said. "I just really felt there was a big need in Green Valley for someone who is permanent here to offer these services and it has proven to be true."

Becque’s office, at 241 E. Esperanza Dr. specializes in working with the 55 plus generation in planning for retirement.

"The sad part about the baby boomers is they are just spenders not savers," he said. "In Asia they save about 40 percent of their gross income. Here, I think we are lucky if we even see 5 percent. I recommend at least 20 percent."

This is in contrast to the generation before the baby boomers, Becque said.

"With the seniors we see today, about 99 percent of them save and have saved," he said. "They have parents that were in the depression and know what it is like to wait for something. Almost every one of them that come in here is debt free. I just don’t see that with the baby boomers. They are living for today, not 10, 20 or 30 years down the road."

Becque says typically there are two types of baby boomers that he sees. One that comes in and wants him to fix their financial situation.

"Which they have pretty much already destroyed and it is often too late," he said.

And the other that are typically the younger scale of the baby boomers that are spending more than they should, but not necessarily out of control.

"I really enjoy pinning them down and saying how much are you eating out, how much, realistically, can you put away each month for retirement and college funds," Becque said. "It is neat once you get them on a plan and it starts to work for them."

Though Becque’s forte is to work with people 55 and older, he doesn’t mind working with the younger generation because he knows the benefits of them saving early on.

When Becque brings someone in for the first time, it is strictly a fact finding meeting.

"We won’t sell any product or offer any product on the first interview," he said. "This is not a one size fits all business. A lot of people present it that way. But, everyone that comes in this office is unique and has specific needs and we are thorough to look at every situation before trying to offer a product."

That’s really one of the main things that separates Becque from other financial planning offices, he said.

"We do the whole planning picture with these folks. Though we don’t do any securities work in this office, we focus strictly on conservative investments where money cannot be lost. We are looking to preserve the capital then we’re looking to look at their estate plan, probate issues, health issues. A lot of people aren’t this thorough."

Not only is the office thorough, but Becque offers his clients access to a senior computer lab, an attorney for legal documents and a CPA for tax questions at no extra charge.

"They have full access to computers, copiers and fax machines. We even provide free overnight courier service to them if they have children in other parts of the country," Becque said. "If they need something notarized, I’m a notary and can get that done also. We are a full service office here."

The business has been around for 12 years but it was six years ago that Becque made this decision to turn his office into what it is today.

"It took me two years to find the right CPA to relate to the clients and take the time to explain everything to them," Becque said. "Most attorneys and CPAs don’t really want to be involved in this kind of capacity because they want control of the client. It took a long time. But it was my main goal to associate with other professionals that have the seniors’ interests at heart."

Since making the change, it has proved to be a successful one.

"Growth has been phenomenal," he said. "We’ve set records the last five years."

While the full service office is good, Becque attributes more of the success of his business to being a local.

"That’s important, because I am held accountable for everything I do. Clients see me at the gas stations, grocery stores or I go running everyday so they will see me running and they can say there’s Mark. I think it is comforting for them to see I am right here in the community."

Don Weaver has been a client of Becque for several years and enjoys having someone local to work with.

"It’s great because he’s right here," he said. "And I know he is going to be right here."

Weaver said he had some poor experiences with financial planners in the past, but is pleased with working with Becque.

"He makes it all make sense," Weaver said. "He takes good care of our retirement funds and I understand what he is taking about."

Becque has made education the most important aspect of his business.

"People don’t want to be sold on something," he said. "They want to be educated and they will make the decision they feel is right for them. There is no need to try and pull a fast one on them."

This is exactly what worries Becque about the increasing amount of financial planners that come down from Phoenix for a few days.

"There is an overwhelming amount of business in Phoenix," he said. "Why do they feel they need to come all the way down here for just a little bit. I think the answer is perhaps they’ve burned some bridges up there."

To make everyone more comfortable about working with him, Becque provides one more level of accountability.

"I have a rule, that anyone who comes through this office to work with me, I have to meet their kids," he said. "They need to know exactly what I am doing with mom and dad’s finances, that I’m not someone promising one thing and squandering all the money."

Becque said everyone he works with becomes family to him.

"I like what I do," he said. "It’s nice to be able to get out of bed and want to go to work. All the people in here are like family. I don’t have to worry about seeing them somewhere thinking I sold them something I shouldn’t have or lied to them. Because when you’re telling the truth there is nothing to hide."

 

Contact Joe Pangburn at jpangburn@azbiz.com or at (520) 295-4259.