Paraplanners are professionals who work with financial advisors and financial planners in a support capacity. A career in paraplanning can be a stepping-stone to becoming a financial advisor or planner, as it can be an opportunity to gain valuable work experience within the financial services industry. If you’re considering this type of role, you may be interested in the average paraplanner salary as what the job itself might entail.
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What Is a Paraplanner and What Do They Do?
A paraplanner is an individual who provides support services to financial professionals, including advisors, financial planners and insurance agents. Paraplanners can perform many administrative and clerical tasks, which can include:
- Replying to emails and managing advisor inboxes
- Managing advisor schedules, including scheduling client appointments and other necessary meetings
- Taking notes during client meetings and transcribing them for advisors
- Organizing client records and documents, including financial statements, and ensuring compliance with document management
- Generating reports that advisors use to analyze their clients’ financial situations
- Preparing annual reviews
A paraplanner may sit in client meetings though they may not have any direct interaction with clients themselves. Again, their leading role is to act as a support for the advisor or financial planner they’re working with.
What Is the Average Paraplanner Salary?
There’s no single number that paraplanners earn; annual salaries can vary based on several factors. In terms of what determines salaries, the list includes the level of experience someone has, the hiring firm, the geographic region and whether the job requires the paraplanner to report to an office or perform their tasks virtually.
With that in mind, here’s how the average paraplanner salary compares at several top career sites as of January 2024:
Keep in mind that these represent the average salary for a paraplanner. The salary range runs from around $44,000 at the lower end to about $75,000 at the higher end. Financial advisors, meanwhile, earn a mean or average annual wage of $137,740, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The BLS does not compile wage information for paraplanners.
Types of Paraplanners
Paraplanning professionals generally fall into one of two categories: Career paraplanners and those who are interested in eventually becoming financial advisors.
Career paraplanners work in a paraplanning role long-term. They may get promoted to senior paraplanning roles throughout their career but they’re not seeking to transition into a position as an advisor or financial planner.
Some paraplanners, however, may be looking for a way to gain the experience and skills necessary to obtain the credentials needed to become a financial advisor or financial planner. They may work in a paraplanning role for several years as they prepare to take the CFP exam or obtain a Series 7, Series 65 or Series 66 license.
Is there a difference in paraplanner salary between the two? For two people who are just getting started in their careers, probably not.
Entry-level salaries are likely to be at the same level, regardless of how long you plan to stay on the job. A better comparison is to look at how much a career paraplanner might earn over their lifetime versus someone who works as a paraplanner for a few years and then moves on to an advisory role.
How to Become a Paraplanner
There are no industry-specific requirements to become a paraplanner. However, it’s generally expected that candidates will have at least a bachelor’s degree in a finance-related field such as accounting. While it’s not necessary to obtain a professional certification to become a paraplanner, it’s possible to do so through the College for Financial Planning.
Completing the Foundations in Financial Planning program allows you to earn a Financial Paraplanner Qualified Professional (FPQP) designation. The program is aimed at those who are new to the paraplanning profession and those who may already have experience working as paraplanners and want to expand their knowledge.
There are two options for enrollment: Live online classes or self-paced, on-demand learning. The program covers important aspects of financial planning, with an emphasis on how to apply the concepts in real-world situations. Topics include estate planning, tax planning, retirement, insurance and investing.
Is earning the FPQP designation worth it? It can be if you’d like to be able to better assist the advisors or financial planners you work with as well as their clients, or if you’re hoping to transition into an advisory role yourself at some point in the future. Even if you don’t plan to become an advisor or financial planner, holding a professional designation could allow you to command a higher paraplanner salary or make it easier to move up through the ranks.
How to Find Paraplanner Jobs
If you’re interested in paraplanning jobs or other financial planning jobs, the first thing to consider is what type of role you’re looking for. Specifically, do you want to work in-house, or would you prefer remote work? Are you equipped to handle a higher-level position, or do you need to start your job search with entry-level roles? And what kind of paraplanner salary do you expect, based on those criteria?
Once you have a better idea of what kind of paraplanner job aligns with your needs and experience, you can begin your search. Some of the most popular places to look for paraplanning and financial planning jobs include:
- Traditional job boards, like Indeed.com or Monster.com
- Virtual job boards, including
- CFP Board Career Center job board
- Social media
You can also visit the ‘Careers’ page of advisory firms you’re interested in working with to see if any paraplanning job openings are listed. And don’t forget to tap into your network. You may know someone who could connect you with an advisor or financial planner who’s looking to hire someone. Once you find a role you’d like to apply for, take time to review the qualification requirements as well as the salary and benefits package.
A job in paraplanning might be right for you if you’re interested in finance and want to gain some valuable experience working in the industry. While salary is just one thing to consider when applying for paraplanning roles, it’s important to understand how these skills are valued by hiring firms.
Tips for Growing Your Advisory Business
- If you’re interested in moving beyond paraplanning to a career as an advisor you’ll need to know how to attract clients. Developing a sound marketing plan is a step in the right direction, though it can take time to see results. If you’d like to get on the fast track to making client connections, you might consider getting help from a lead generation service. With SmartAdvisor, for instance, you can get matched with leads that fit your ideal client profile.
- Obtaining a professional license or certification can help you advance your career and potentially increase your lifetime earnings. The types of credentials you’ll need can depend largely on what you’d like to do, though you’ll typically need to complete education, training and examination requirements to obtain them. If you’re interested in becoming a certified financial planner, for example, then passing the CFP exam is a prerequisite. Doing a little research into what’s required to obtain a professional designation and what it allows you to do can help you decide which ones may be most beneficial.
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