When running a small business, it can seem like your to-do list is never ending. To make matters worse, over time it can begin to feel like your peers have it all figured out while you continue to fall more and more behind.
But the truth is, they don’t!
In fact, chances are they don’t know any more than you do. The difference is they’ve simply taken advantage of a best-practice that the top financial planning firms have been utilizing for years: outsourcing.
Hiring someone to help manage your workload is a proven method of releasing stress and getting more done. That never ending to-do list can come to an end when you take things off that you don’t necessarily need to do and hand them off to someone else.
That’s where paraplanners come in.
With the internet creating a new wave of online workers and entrepreneurs, it’s also expanded the role that paraplanners play in the financial planning process. Over the years, the term ‘paraplanner’ has come to mean many things. In a broad sense, a paraplanner is someone with a financial planning background who can prepare documents, run financial projections, and construct financial plans for clients.
But that, of course, is not all.
There are actually a few distinct categories of paraplanners, and they can all do different things for your business. Depending on your firm, that may mean hiring one person for a specific type of task or many people for a number of different things. To help make sense of the options available, let’s dive into the different types of paraplanners that you can hire, and what services they offer.
Client Facing Roles
These roles will have the paraplanner interacting with your clients and representing your brand face-to-face. While traditionally paraplanners have not done a lot of client facing work, this is becoming a more common aspect of the role.
The role of an Associate Planner includes tasks such as taking notes during meetings, presenting topics, communicating with clients, and acting as the main support to the lead planner.
While the Lead Planner may share some duties with an associate planner, their primary responsibilities revolve around plan delivery and client relationship management.
An internal role, as the name implies, is an individual that works behind the scenes — freeing up your time so that you’re the one in front of clients and generating new business.
Traditionally a paraplanner is an entry level role, designed to provide back-office support to financial planners, but this is not always the case. More recently, some financial planners with years of experience have transitioned to working as virtual paraplanners to take advantage of the flexibility that is not possible while working in a traditional office setting.
Tasks include: data gathering, inputting data into financial planning software, running projections and scenarios and preparing the plan for delivery.
Client Service Associate
This role is primarily operations including account paperwork, managing account openings and transfers, managing CRM, and filing documents. In some instances, this role can be combined with the Paraplanner role.
Clearly, there are a number of different responsibilities that fall under the paraplanner umbrella, but before you hire anyone here are two questions to ask yourself:
What is my biggest professional pain point?
Is it client onboarding? Do you hate running projections? Identify the biggest bottleneck in your business and find an experienced paraplanner that can help.
How much can I budget to outsource this?
It’s no secret that hiring a paraplanner will mean extra money going out each month. However, having a rough number in mind of how much you can afford to pay someone is a good starting point for beginning research on a paraplanner.
The great thing with virtual help is that they are comfortable working on an as-needed basis. As a result, you will have some flexibility based on your business needs, and the amount of money you’re comfortable spending per money.
With these questions in mind and an understanding of the different types of paraplanners out there, you should be able to find one that fits your business needs and corporate culture very easily.
Need help identifying and onboarding your ideal virtual paraplanner? We can help! Click here to learn more about the service packages we offer for growing financial planning firms.