Starting your own practice takes time, money … and some fraught decisions, according to seven advisors familiar with the experience.

Just some of the challenges they faced: What types of business models and technology to use? How to set fees? How long can a new firm expect to be unprofitable? They are questions that an increasing number of planners are grappling with: The number of RIAs has jumped 16% in the last five years to 12,378, according to the SEC.

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