At some point in time, many financial planners hit a wall in their practice. They’re unable to continually keep up with maintaining solid client relationships, meeting with and onboarding new prospects, completing financial planning work, and checking off all the small to-do’s that crop up as a business owner. Running an RIA can be exhausting work. The more you scale, the harder it gets to remember why you fell in love with the financial planning profession in the first place. A paraplanner can help you to offload some of the more technical and time-consuming aspects of your financial planning practice which frees you up to continue doing fulfilling client-facing work and to reconnect with your “why” as an RIA owner.

What Does a Paraplanner Do?

A paraplanner fills many roles in a financial planning practice, all of which are directly connected to the tasks that are actually related to financial planning. Your paraplanner team member can help you to construct financial plans for new clients, monitor financial plans for existing clients and adjust them as needed, and research any financial planning questions the two of you may run into. Your paraplanner can also sit in on client meetings and, with time, they should be the initial point of contact for your prospective clients.

Many people confuse an admin staff member with a paraplanner. The truth is, many of the services they offer will be similar. A paraplanner will ultimately be able to help you enter client data into your financial planning software, draft financial plans, and even add their own analysis and recommendations – giving you a second set of eyes on each plan.  The difference is that a paraplanner will bring an elevated level of expertise to the tasks at hand. An admin team member won’t be able to answer questions regarding financial planning specifics, and they definitely won’t be able to help you build and adjust financial plans for clients. A paraplanner can help you check off all of these items on your to do list, making them an invaluable part of your team as your practice continues to grow.

What Does a Paraplanner Empower You To Do?

A paraplanner keeps your RIA running behind the scenes. They’re helping you to create exceptional financial plans and offer next-level service to your clients. You may be wondering: I do all of that anyways, why do I need to hire someone else to fill that role?

When your financial planning practice starts to grow, you need to create scalable systems. A paraplanner helps you to continue providing excellent service to existing clients while fielding new prospect inquiries for you. This frees up your time to focus on working on the business rather than in the business. You’ll be available to tackle client and prospect facing marketing, initial prospect meetings, and other big-picture tasks that will ultimately help you continue to grow your business. Who knows – with time, you may need to hire another paraplanner, admin, or operations consultant to keep up with all of the new business you’re bringing in in your newfound free time!

What Can You Expect When Working with a Paraplanner?

When working with any new contract team member, it’s important to set expectations up front. The more clear that both of you can be, the better the working relationship will go. Most paraplanners should be clear about the services they provide – and the services they don’t provide. Typically, paraplanners are entirely back office without any client interaction. When client interaction is required, you might actually be looking to fill an associate advisor type role.

At the end of the day, every paraplanner-business owner relationship is unique. You should expect a teammate who you can rely on to help you grow your business and provide exceptional financial planning to your clients. Anything beyond that scope is something the two of you should discuss. You may even think about going over their future at your practice, and what you see their role being 2-5 years from now.

When Should You Hire a Paraplanner?

There’s no right answer to the When should I hire a paraplanner? question. The truth is that you should hire assistance before you’re underwater and overwhelmed. It can be tricky to try and estimate when, exactly, this might be. A few good indicators that you’re in need of assistance might be:

  • You’re regularly overwhelmed with client work.
  • You’re unhappy with how busy you are as a business owner.
  • You’re starting to miss things – no matter how small they may seem.
  • You’re feeling perpetually behind.

You don’t want to put yourself in a position where you’re under-serving your clients are stalling out your growth. Reaching out to a paraplanner in advance of when you truly need them will help to provide a seamless client experience while helping to keep your stress at a minimum as your financial planning practice grows!