Career Development

What Does a Paraplanner Do?

Find out what a Paraplanner does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a Paraplanner.

Paraplanners are responsible for creating and maintaining plans that help organizations achieve their goals. They work with clients to identify their needs, develop strategies to address those needs, and create detailed plans for achieving success.

Paraplanners may work directly with clients or they may work indirectly through other members of the organization’s staff. Regardless of how they do it, paraplanners must be able to effectively communicate their ideas in a way that is easily understood by others.

Paraplanner Job Duties

A paraplanner typically has a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Meeting with clients to understand their financial goals and then creating a customized financial plan for them
  • Conducting research on investments, such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds, index funds, ETFs, hedge funds, etc.
  • Preparing reports and updating charts to illustrate the client’s current financial situation
  • Reviewing and updating client files to ensure that all information is correct and up to date
  • Preparing tax returns for individuals or small businesses
  • Communicating with banks, investment companies, and other financial institutions to gather information about an investment or to make changes to an existing account
  • Determining the best strategies for clients based on their current financial situation and goals
  • Reviewing client statements and account activity to ensure that all transactions have been properly recorded and credited to the correct accounts
  • Recommending changes to the client’s portfolio based on new information regarding market conditions or potential investments

Paraplanner Salary & Outlook

Paraplanners’ salaries vary depending on their level of education and experience, the company size and geographic location.

  • Median Annual Salary: $52,500 ($25.24/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $73,500 ($35.34/hour)

The employment of paraplanners is expected to grow at an average rate over the next decade.

Demand for paraplanners depends largely on the health of the economy. As demand for financial planning increases, more businesses will hire paraplanners to help their clients plan for retirement and other long-term goals.

Related: Paraplanner Interview Questions and Answers

Paraplanner Job Requirements

To become a paraplanner, you will likely need to have the following:

Education: Most employers require paraplanners to have at least a high school diploma or GED. Some employers prefer an associate or bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as business, finance or accounting. Relevant coursework includes business law, accounting, finance, economics, statistics and computer software.

Training & Experience: Most paraplanner positions require at least two years of experience in a related role. Some employers may prefer candidates with experience in the financial industry, such as working as a financial analyst or a financial advisor.

Paraplanners can also receive on-the-job training to learn the specific processes and procedures of the company. They may also receive training in the use of the software and technology used by the company.

Certifications & Licenses: Certifications are not usually a requirement to become a paraplanner, but they can help you stand out from other candidates and demonstrate your professional commitment.

Paraplanner Skills

Paraplanners need the following skills in order to be successful:

Financial planning: Financial planning is the ability to create and manage budgets, track expenses and forecast future financial needs. Paraplanners often work with clients to create financial plans that help them save for large purchases, pay off debt and plan for retirement. This requires extensive knowledge of financial products and strategies.

Communication: Communication is the act of conveying information through verbal or nonverbal means. Paraplanners use communication to interact with clients, colleagues and other professionals. They also use communication to explain complex financial information to clients.

Technology: Paraplanners use technology to access client files, create spreadsheets and databases and communicate with clients and colleagues. They should be comfortable with technology and able to learn new software and programs quickly.

Organization: Paraplanners often use organization skills to keep track of multiple tasks and projects at once. They may also use organization skills to create and maintain files and databases for clients.

Problem-solving: Problem-solving skills allow you to identify and resolve issues that may arise during the planning process. You may use problem-solving skills to find solutions to scheduling conflicts, budgeting issues or other challenges that may arise during the planning process. Your ability to identify and resolve issues can help you create a successful planning process for your clients.

Paraplanner Work Environment

Paraplanners work in an office environment, usually in close proximity to the financial planners they support. They typically work regular business hours, although they may be required to work overtime during busy periods. Paraplanners need to have excellent communication and interpersonal skills to interact effectively with financial planners and clients. They must also be able to work independently and be self-motivated to meet deadlines.

Paraplanner Trends

Here are three trends influencing how paraplanners work. Paraplanners will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Need for More Technical Skills

As businesses become more reliant on technology, the need for paraplanners with technical skills will continue to grow.

Paraplanners are in high demand because they can help businesses to utilize technology to improve efficiency and productivity. However, in order to be successful in this field, they will need to be able to understand and use a variety of different technologies. This includes software, hardware, and networking systems.

The Growth of Digital Paraplaning

The growth of digital paraplaning is a trend that is quickly gaining popularity among businesses. In this model, paraplanners work remotely and use technology to connect with clients and manage their projects.

This trend offers many benefits to both businesses and paraplanners. For businesses, it allows them to save money by not having to pay for office space or other overhead costs. It also allows them to hire paraplanners who are located in areas where there is a shortage of talent. For paraplanners, it provides the opportunity to work from home and set their own hours.

More Focus on Personal Development

As paraplanners become more specialized, they will need to focus on developing their personal development skills. This means learning new skills and improving upon existing ones in order to stay competitive in the job market.

In order to be successful, paraplanners will need to be able to communicate effectively with clients and coworkers. They will also need to be able to research and find information quickly and accurately. Finally, they will need to be able to work well under pressure and meet deadlines.

How to Become a Paraplanner

A paraplanner career path can be a great way to get your foot in the door of the accounting industry. As a paraplanner, you’ll work closely with CPAs and other professionals to develop and implement financial plans for clients. This role requires strong analytical skills and an understanding of tax law, so it’s important to have a solid foundation in math and accounting before embarking on this career path.

Paraplanners typically start their careers as assistants or interns, working under the supervision of more experienced CPAs. As they gain experience, they may move up the ranks to become junior paraplanners or senior paraplanners. Some paraplanners choose to specialize in certain areas of finance, such as estate planning or personal finance.

Advancement Prospects

Paraplanners can advance their careers by taking on more responsibility within their current position, or by moving into management roles. Paraplanners who take on more responsibility may be responsible for training new paraplanners, or for developing and implementing new processes and procedures. Paraplanners who move into management roles may be responsible for supervising a team of paraplanners, or for managing the paraplanning department of a financial planning firm. Paraplanners with strong writing and communication skills may also move into roles such as marketing or business development.

Paraplanner Job Description Example

As a paraplanner at [CompanyX], you will be responsible for providing research and analysis to support the financial planning process for our clients. This will include data gathering, financial analysis, and the preparation of client presentations. You will work closely with the financial planner to ensure that the client’s goals and objectives are met. The ideal candidate will have a strong background in financial planning, excellent research and analytical skills, and the ability to communicate complex financial concepts in a clear and concise manner.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Understand and document client goals, objectives, and risk tolerance levels
  • Research and recommend investment products and services that align with the client’s stated goals
  • Prepare draft financial plans for review by the financial planner
  • Analyze client portfolios and make recommendations for rebalancing
  • Stay up-to-date on changes in the marketplace that could impact the client’s financial plan
  • Update financial plans as needed to reflect changes in the client’s circumstances or goals
  • Maintain accurate records of all client interactions and communications
  • Assist with the preparation of materials for client meetings
  • Attend client meetings as needed to take notes and provide support
  • Follow up with clients after meeting to ensure all action items are completed in a timely manner
  • Train and mentor new paraplanners and administrative staff
  • Participate in continuing education opportunities to maintain knowledge of current industry trends

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in business, finance, accounting, or related field
  • 3+ years experience working in the financial services industry
  • Strong understanding of investment products, including stocks, bonds, and mutual funds
  • Ability to analyze client financial information and make recommendations
  • Excellent research skills
  • Exceptional writing and communication skills

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • CFP® certification
  • MBA or other advanced degree
  • Experience with financial planning software, such as eMoney or MoneyGuidePro
  • Series 7 and Series 66 licenses


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