3 Quick Tips From Our Best Practices Calls
One of the things we love about having a portal full of driven and experienced paraplanners is that there’s so much knowledge in our community. And there’s nothing like a community call to show it!
At Simply Paraplanner, we’re here to share our insights and support as you develop your paraplanning career, but the truth is that all of you already bring plenty of tricks of your own to the table—and we’re happy that we get to help spread those ideas! On a recent call, we got to hear some of your best practices, including the three great tips you’ll read below. All of these are great ideas to incorporate into your day-to-day workflow, so check them out!
1. Ask for more money when the situation warrants it.
In the world of financial planning, problems can pop up unexpectedly. Sometimes, questions require a little more research than anticipated, or a client asks for additional information and brings their concerns to your advisor’s attention—which (of course) makes more work for you, as the paraplanner.
But some of us charge clients on a project-by-project basis…which means that we don’t actually earn more money for all that extra time spent running down rabbit holes. Fortunately, it’s worth knowing that if a project takes longer than expected, there’s no shame in asking for more money as needed.
We’ve heard from many paraplanners who’ve had success by simply reaching out to let their advisor know that the project ended up taking more time than anticipated. In cases like this, any advisor worth their salt should perfectly fine with paying a little more to make up for the additional time. Advisors should understand that even the best-laid plans don’t work perfectly when they come into contact with the real world, and that clients’ changing questions and intentions can throw a wrench into the works. So if you have payment concerns about a particularly tricky project, don’t be afraid to bring your thoughts to your advisor.
Have an attorney review your clients and contracts before getting started.
Before you even start hiring clients, you should have an attorney review the contract. More specifically, you should find a trusted attorney who’s based in the state in which you work. When you’re navigating the shifting landscape of finance and law, a good attorney can provide a wealth of advice and information on everything from litigation to LLC protection. However, these topics can vary wildly from state to state, so it’s crucial to get someone who knows exactly what they’re doing.
Websites like Rocket Lawyer might be helpful when you’re just starting out, especially if you can’t afford a dedicated attorney right off the bat, or if you don’t yet have the needs for a long-term legal solution. Rocket Lawyer and similar websites allow you to get affordable legal help on a monthly subscription basis, or to seek legal help for a specific question, document, or consultation. Of course, every situation is different, so don’t forget to make sure you do your own independent research before using this resource in your business.
(Plus, any members who need a little extra help getting started with the contracts themselves, be sure to check out the resources waiting in the Paraplanner Portal! We’ve got tips to walk beginners through the basics of these complex documents, meaning you’ll know what to expect on the front end.)
Take on extra non-financial planning tasks when you can.
Just to be clear, when we say “non-financial planning tasks,” we’re not talking about the day-to-day administrative duties of a business, such as answering emails or managing appointments.
These may or may not be part of your role already, but they don’t necessarily net you any valuable experience. Instead, we’re talking about tasks that help both you and your advisor team develop new skills and stand out from the crowd.
For example, you might decide to investigate and create some blog articles or podcast episodes, or you might dive into some extra research regarding a financial planner’s question. You could also set up some sort of training or education for your team to explain how you’ve been using your firm’s software to create their financial plans.
These are all tasks that will greatly benefit your team in general and your advisor specifically, as they often don’t have time to take care of these types of tasks themselves—and we’re here to save our advisor’s time!
Even better, an advisor will never say no to great content, whether you prefer to create blogs, podcast episodes, articles, website content, or education and training. Researched and well-written content can give your firm a leg up on the competition in many areas, and tackling these types of tasks can slowly help you become a better writer over time.
And if it’s your first time trying to create something like this, don’t stress! Just let your advisor know that they might sound a little rusty at first before you hit your stride. More than likely, they’ll be so grateful that you’re picking up these “backburner” tasks that they won’t mind a little experimentation on your part.
No matter what you choose to do, any extra non-financial planning tasks can be a great way to add value even if you aren’t sitting in front of a client or actively working on a financial plan.
We hope our quick tips will help you keep these critical best practices in mind! If you’re part of our Paraplanner Portal, you’ll already have access to our regular tips and tricks—but if not, feel free to sign up for our waitlist to be notified when we open the doors again!
The Paraplanner Portal will be opening back up again this month, providing great tips and free resources, including technology resources like eMoney, MoneyGuidePro, and RightCapital—allowing you to get your hands on them for a test run before you start using them with your planners.
Until then, check back on our blog for more sneak peeks into the kinds of tips we’re providing our members, including topics like cold emailing, working with multiple advisors, and much more.