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This is my first-ever post, and I'm looking for some advice. A little background...

I've followed the Fool for years, but have never pursued the advice. I primarily invest in real estate (small timer), and I am very comfortable in that arena. However, I would like to expand into stocks. In August of 2011, I invested $5000 (within an IRA set up with TD Ameritrade), split equally between shares of Proctor&Gamble, Waste Management, and Dominion. The logic was a little shady, but I pretty much made the decison based on the fact that these seemed to be pretty good dividend payers, the prices were relatively cheap (compared to their 52 week highs) at the time, and they were in "necessity" industries. I have been thinking that I have been pretty smart (but really lucky) as these stocks have done pretty well over the past year. However, when I set up my Scorecard, I realized that I am underperformig the S& I'm probably not as smart/lucky as I first thought...

I have recently subscribed to Stock Advisor, and have seen that the first step for new investors is to purchase 3-5 Core Stocks. While I have 5k invested, this IRA holds $12,000 total (i.e. 7k is sitting in money market funds, uninvested otherwise). Since my current holdings are not on the list, I have several questions:

1. Should I sell my current holdings and start fresh with 3-5 Core stocks?
2. Several of the Core stocks I'm looking at are trading near their 52 week highs. I understand the philosophy of long-term investing and that we buy good businesses at fair prices without worrying so much about today's price, but buying near the yearly high makes me somewhat uneasy. Do I understand correctly that the Fool advice is go ahead and buy any from the Core list and forget about today's price?
3. Should all 12k go into Core Stocks, or should some percentage go into Best Buys Now or Recent Recommmendations?

I realize there's no perfect answer here...just looking for advice from someone who been investing sucessfully longer than I have.

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