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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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The problem with the stocks you have chosen is that good dividend players tend to be low growth stocks. They can keep up with inflation and population growth, but good growth stocks can do quite a bit better. So to match the S&P you need to add some growth stocks to your mix.

As to how carefully to follow the Stock Advisor advice, that is up to you. But having paid the fees, I'd say you should either go with the program or cancel.
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Kind of along the lines Paul mentioned, if you are looking to stay with SA, I personally would keep the 5K you have invested with your original three as they are fairly good dividend payers. I would make suer you have a DRIP set up to automatically reinvest the dividends. With your $7K you have sitting in MM, i would research a few of the core SA stocks that interest you and start looking to invest in them. Maybe you could take the thirds approach sa to not jump "all-in" feet first.

Just my two cents, for what its worth. Oh, and also, browse over to the actual SA boards where you can find many conversations on the SA picks, as well as other ways to play them, including options.
I have found that the SA boards are worth far more than the small fee I payed to subscrib to SA.

Good luck and welcome to Stock Advisor.
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I wouldn't be in a rush to buy or sell anything just yet.

Instead I'd recommend reading through back issues of Stock Advisor, getting up to speed on the companies the service is covering and see what interests you. That will also give you insight into how the advisors for the service think and how they base their decisions.

Browse the message boards and see what other members are talking about. Ask questions on those boards about any companies that interest you in particular.

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Here's what I suggest:

First put your name on the waiting list for a subscription to SuperNova newsletter (withdraw some money from your investments to pay the annual subscription if you need -- believe me the subscription is worth it).

In the meantime, buy whatever companies you understand from the Core List and best buys now list of the current Stock Advisor. With 12k, I would suggest dividing it among 15 companies. Only sell when SA recommends selling.

If you're paying for Stock Advisor, use it. In my opinion, new investors (even seasoned investors) would have a very difficult time beating the Foolish brothers portfolio performance over THE LONG TERM.

Read one of my previous post about the Rule of 72, and about doubling $1000 ten times, and about patience.

I started as a Fool over 15 years ago and Stock Advisor/SuperNova stock selections have made my portfolio ..... I'll just say "very green".

For me, I was never into crunching numbers, nor did I find looking at financial statements fun. I wanted to follow a proven system to double my money, with the least amount of work possible, so I kept it simple: Rule of 72. Stock Advisor/SuperNova. Follow. Patience.

Guess What? It works. And I'm sure a few other Fools agree.

Fool on.

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