6 Ways Paraplanners Can Help Financial Advisors Manage Their Time
As a financial planner, your job revolves around your clients. It’s part of your role—and it’s simply what you do.
In an ideal world, you’d spend the majority of your time working closely with your clients, face to face.
Unfortunately, this isn’t an ideal world. When it comes to time management for financial advisors, the reality is that most advisors don’t have that luxury.
One study from Kitces research found that financial planners spend roughly 50% of their time on client-related tasks like planning and research, and only 20% of their time meeting clients face to face.
(That’s right: most financial advisors spend only 20% of their time giving advice!)
The problem is those back-office tasks, the administration-heavy duties that drain away so much of your energy.
Isn’t it time to delegate? With a little extra help, you can revamp your to-do list and spend more of your efforts focusing on the tasks that are most important to you—and to your clients.
You need a paraplanner, someone whose role is literally to free up your schedule, offering focused support so you can concentrate on your clients and your business. Whether they’re present in your office or working remotely, a paraplanner acts as a behind-the-scenes, back-office helper who can take some tasks off your plate.
Not sure how a paraplanner can give you a little extra support? Well, that’s why we’re here—to talk about time management for financial advisors!
We’ve put together a list of 6 ways paraplanners can help you manage your workload and focus more energy on what matters.
Creating financial plans
Arguably, this is the most important responsibility of any paraplanner. It’s also (most likely) where a significant portion of your time is lost: a recent Kitces study showed that 26% of an advisor’s time is spent creating financial plans. In other words, it’s a great area to leverage paraplanners to do this task instead, freeing up time for financial advisors to focus on clients.
Of course, creating these plans can look different from office to office, but it usually involves things like gathering and entering data, managing the financial planning software, running different models, as well as creating and printing the final client-facing plan.
Maintaining and updating financial plans
When it comes to time management tips for financial advisors, this can be a big one—especially if your firm’s list of clients goes into the double or triple digits. As your clients’ situations change, you’ll need to update their financial models and projections. A paraplanner can take on these tasks as well, producing an updated deliverable for any meetings and yearly reviews with the client. This often simply involves some basic data entry on the part of the paraplanner.
Answering financial planning questions
Most likely, a client has asked you a one-off question that really stumped you during a meeting. With a paraplanner’s help, though, it doesn’t necessarily need to be you finding the answer to that question—your paraplanner can do it instead. Simply send any questions with no immediate answer to your paraplanner, who can do some digging and return to you with a solution.
Preparing reports for client meetings
All of the client-facing meeting documentation should be prepared in advance by you paraplanner. This includes products that may match the client’s goals, reports and recommendations, and selections of product quotes. As we mentioned above, a paraplanner should be maintaining the client’s records, ensuring that all information going into the meeting documentation is accurate.
Assisting in client meetings
Once upon a time, paraplanners were “back-office” workers only, and they rarely (if ever) were involved in client meetings. Today, that’s quickly changing. While it’s not necessary to bring a paraplanner into client meetings, it can take a load off your shoulders. With a wealth of online calling and screen-sharing websites available, virtual paraplanners can easily jump in to participate in these meetings.
There are a number of ways a paraplanner can help you during a client meeting. For one thing, since your paraplanner should be the person responsible for creating and updating your client’s financial plans, it stands to reason that they should also be accessible to that client during meetings. Because they work so closely with the client’s data, they may be more capable of replying to certain queries than even you are.
In addition, your paraplanner can take meeting notes to help you focus more fully on the client, including jotting down any important takeaways or next steps to keep in mind. They might be responsible for assigning follow-up tasks to your financial planning team, and for scheduling later meetings.
Helping with administrative tasks
If you like, you might have your paraplanner help with certain administrative duties as well, particularly those with a financial planning focus. This might mean answering basic questions in client emails or calls, freeing you up to answer only the more complicated queries.
Depending on your firm, your paraplanner might also help by reaching out to financial consultants, including accountants and tax or mortgage specialists, to bolster the information included in a client’s financial plan.
If your firm is particularly small, with each employee acting as a “jack of all trades,” you may need to count on your paraplanner for even more administrative duties. This could include scheduling meeting, filing paperwork, or even managing your calendar.
One note: with everything included in this list of time management tips for financial advisors, it’s important to remember that you’ll still want to supervise the paraplanner’s work! For example, when a financial plan is created, you may want to add some alternative recommendations once the paraplanner has finished their research.
At the very least, you should still look over the plan before it’s delivered to the client. But most of the heavy lifting, initially your responsibility, will now be completed by your paraplanner. All you need to do is look it over and sign off!
So. Now that you’ve heard our tips on time management for financial advisors…are you ready to get your time and energy back? It’s time to start delegating those tasks—and that means hiring a paraplanner.
Luckily, you don’t have to do it alone! At Simply Paraplanner, we offer a thorough, 6-step candidate screening process to make this one of the easiest hires you’ve ever made. From handcrafting your job listing to presenting the top candidates, we’ll take care of everything to ensure you’re getting the best fit for your business.
Schedule a 15-minute consultation with a member of our team today, and find out what we can do for you!