Many RIA principals are focused on a supposedly magic benchmark: $1 billion in AUM. You've probably heard other RIA principals preface statements with phrases like, "If I can just get to $1 billion," or "When I get to $1 billion ..."

To me, it all sounds a little too familiar. Back in 2000, though, the magic number was $100 million: An RIA with $100 million in AUM was considered large and successful; perhaps that firm had even met the magical goal of "scale."

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