So what’s the deal with #putbackin2016?

Some of you will have seen me Tweeting using the hashtag #putbackin2016. If you aren’t on Twitter scroll to the bottom of this post and you can take a look. I thought that it might be a good idea to put together a post explaining what it’s all about.

In 2014 I entered the IFP’s Paraplanner of the Year competition. At the interview I was asked about what I would do if I were to win. I’ve been fortunate to benefit from input from some great Paraplanners during my career. There are individuals that I have worked with who have encouraged me along the way and pushed me to develop. There are also people within the wider Paraplanning community who inspire and sacrificially invest in the good of the profession as a whole. I wanted to make sure that if I did win that I would seek to advance the profession.

I was fortunate to win this coveted award and it’s only right that I look to make good on my promise. Interestingly this idea of putting back in to advance the profession is something that previous and following Paraplanner of the Year winners have also spoken about.

What have I been doing?

There have been two strands to what I have been doing so far. Firstly I have been using the writing skills that I have from writing reports to write for Paraplanners. I have blogged on my own site (and on occasion contributed to others), but most of my writing has been through Professional Paraplanner both in their monthly magazine and online. I particularly enjoy writing to encourage Paraplanners to raise their standards and aim for utter excellence.

I’ve also looked to get involved in practical ways. At the start of summer 2015 I took part in my first PowWow Down South (a mini-unconference aiming to share good practice and fresh ideas in a ‘Chatham House Rules’ environment) which is a spin-off of the national Paraplanners PowWow that takes place each September. I’m looking forward to a repeat this year as it was great to meet other London based Paraplanners.

Since April 2015 I have also sat on the Personal Finance Society’s Paraplanner Practitioner Panel. This is a group of Paraplanners from across the country led by Cathi Harrison. We meet in person or via conference call on a quarterly basis to discuss how the professional body can best support Paraplanners.

So far we have put together the hugely successful Purely Paraplanning series of events which will be built upon in 2016. We have also been working on ways of introducing more people to the exciting career of Paraplanning. It’s amazing to see what has been achieved so far and I would invite you all to get in touch with ideas of what you would like to see. Why not use my contact page to get in touch and let me know what you would like us to be doing.

Where does #putbackin2016 come in?

One thing that particularly excites me about Paraplanning is that we are an extremely sharing community of professionals. We want to see each other grow, mature and provide excellence to the firms that they work for/with. Our job is all about clients and what they need, want and aspire to. Don’t they say that sharing is caring?

In December 2015 I sat down to consider what to write about in my blog for Professional Paraplanner. It struck me that it was about the right time to think about New Year resolutions. We often think about personal goals (get fit, take up a hobby, run a marathon) but it’s also good to have some professional goals too. I didn’t want people to just make a list of exams they wanted to pass.

So I set out three challenges (read about them here) or areas in which I think that every Paraplanner should seek to act upon in 2016. The third challenge was to put something back in to their Profession. This looks different for everyone and I set out 5 ideas about how people might do this.

This is pretty much where #putbackin2016 was born. As I promoted these articles on Twitter it seemed a logical hashtag and now it’s become a project in itself. My personal #putbackin2016 is all about helping and encouraging other Paraplanners to do this themselves. I am offering my support as a sounding board and to help practically (if I can) to build momentum.

What now…

We are only a short way in to 2016 and there are plenty of opportunities for people to get involved. You might want to run a PowWow or put on a seminar. You might want to share some ideas, tips and tricks that you have picked up along the way. Some of you might want to make yourselves available as a study buddy. We all have a chance to contribute to the debate about having a Paraplanner Standard too.

My definition of success for #putbackin2016 is to see a bubbling up of many new people sharing ideas and their excitement about Paraplanning. I don’t want it to be just about what the PowWows, CISI or PFS are doing. #putbackin2016 is all about stirring up everyone in the profession (at whatever stage) to sharing excellence!

So if you’ve got an idea that you want help getting off the ground, just want a chat, or have plans to take over the world (ambition is good!) then get in touch. I’ve got one of these funky Typeforms that you can use and I will try to get back in touch as soon as possible. I look forward to hearing from you!

Click here to contact me about #putbackin2016

About Dan Atkinson

A Paraplanner at EQ Investors since August 2010, Dan’s Music Technology degree helps him approach Financial Planning problems creatively. IFP Paraplanner of the Year 2014 and member of the PFS Paraplanner Practitioner Panel, Dan is working towards Chartered status and recently became a CISI Accredited Paraplanner. Dan is also involved in youth work at his local Church in Hatfield.

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