Beth Messenger set up outsourced paraplanning service BAM Paraplanning in October 2023. Not satisfied with doing just that, she has written a four-part financial wellness course for women and has become a mentor for The Paraplanner Club. She also found time to talk to Rob Kingsbury about how redundancy fired her up to make a difference.
Redundancy can be a powerful motivator to take stock and make changes in one’s life. This is exactly what Beth Messenger, founder of BAM Paraplanning, did in 2023. With nine years of experience within financial advice firms under her belt, first as an administrator and then moving into paraplanning, redundancy gave her time and some money in the bank to set up her own outsourced paraplanning business.
Just four months in and she is quickly running out of time in the diary, solely through referrals and recommendations. She established her capacity based on the number of advisers she was working with when employed, taking that as a starting benchmark.
But it hasn’t been all plain sailing. “It started off slowly and there was a lot of stress setting up the business, not knowing if I was doing things right, and dealing with frequent bouts of imposter syndrome,” Beth explains. “Then I was given some good advice, which was to do one thing a day that pushes me out of my comfort zone. If you do that, you soon realise that you can do more than you think, and what seems difficult becomes easier to deal with”.
At the same time Beth became involved with the charity, the Women Empowered Group, which based in Manchester. The group provides support, guidance and opportunities for women to learn new skills and build self-esteem, offered in a safe and supportive space. Beth became a consultant and has created and will be delivering a Financial Wellness Program for the charity.
With this in mind, she has developed a financial education course for women, covering a wide remit, from those who need basic financial education around budgeting, saving and spending, through to how to set up a business.
Envisaged as both in-person and webinar-style events, the four-part course plays out with the following sessions. The first one will cover basic financial education, including budgeting, saving and spending, and changing financial habits. The second session, which will include a guest speaker, will go a little deeper into the savings, investment and pensions world.
Just as important as it is for people to save money, people need to be earning money, which leads to session 3, which is being accompanied by a Recruitment Consultant, and offers help finding a better job, CV writing and educating on what employers are looking for.
The final session will involve speaking with new, and small business owners and encouraging women to follow their dreams into self-employment and being their own boss. The session covers what is involved in starting a business, the good, bad and the ugly (which no one tells you!) and how to do it.
Women can sign up to whichever parts of the course are relevant to them.
Beth says: “I realised there are gaps in women’s knowledge which need to be filled if they are to properly get to grips with their finances and build better financial futures for themselves. Within the industry we assume a certain level of knowledge and that people will know what to do and when they need financial advice. We forget that a lot of people don’t know about basic finances and how they can improve them. There’s a lot we can teach people from that basic understanding.”
“Whether it’s the smallest piece of information that you give someone, or it’s someone who really engages with you in a more personal conversation about their finances, you are going to be helping someone. And I think there should be more of that, there should be more information that is readily available to help people fill their knowledge gaps.”
Beth is launching part one of the course, in conjunction with the charity, as an in-person event in Manchester in March. “We’ll see how that goes and then I’ll decide how and when to roll out the rest of the course,” Beth says.
Also aligned with the idea of making a difference, Beth has recently become a mentor for The Paraplanner Club.
“The Paraplanner Club offers a level of support which isn’t available elsewhere. I joined because I know that if something like this had been available when I started in the industry, I would have used it. I was lucky to have mentor in the first financial adviser who gave me a job. I probably wouldn’t be here doing this if not for that mentorship.
“I think it can be the difference that helps people move forward – from knowing which exam to take next to having the confidence to move jobs or start their own business. I’d encourage more paraplanners to get involved.
“Get your name out there, push yourself, help others along the way, and get out of that comfort zone!”