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‘Benefit base’ is key in annuity payouts (access required)

Your answer last month to CC in Vancouver, Wash., about taking $9,000 from his annuity for income confuses me. His adviser said that if he took more than 6 percent of his initial $112,000 investment, or $6,720, his annuity value would be reduced by the difference between the $9,000 he would take and the $6,720 he was allowed to take, or $2,820.

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Broker’s no joker: Sell RAX shares (access required)

In the summer of 2009, I had $5,000 to invest in my individual retirement account, and my broker recommended I buy 500 shares of Rackspace US Inc. at $9, and I'm glad I did. The company is in San Antonio, and my husband and I have a friend working there who tells us how enthusiastic he is about this company.

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Congress backs the drug industry, so invest (access required)

HSBC Holdings PLC was fined $1.92 billion recently for helping terrorist nations launder trillions of dollars, and its stock actually appreciated after the announcement. The increase in stock price certainly impressed me. So do you think 200 shares of HSBC would be a good long-term investment?

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When it comes to stocks, dad doesn’t know best (access required)

I'm 41 and divorced with two children. And, thanks to my super dad, I've had a great job for 11 years, with excellent benefits and a very good retirement plan. I have an individual retirement account worth $109,000, consisting only of stocks you have recommended in the past eight years. I got a good bonus this year, and my dad, who retired from Kimberly-Clark, recommends I buy 100 shares of that corporation. What do you think?

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If you must sell a stock, then sell … (access required)

I want to make a gift to Morning Star Development, an evangelical missionary organization that sends laypeople, doctors, nurses and teachers to Afghanistan to provide schooling, irrigation projects, medical care and nursing care to the poor people who live in the mountain villages. I have three stocks, each worth about $6,000, and want to contribute one of these three for the organization to sell and use the proceeds for its good work.

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Why economy’s pains don’t stop market’s gains (access required)

I am 63 and recently got laid off after 31 years with a Fortune 500 company. Considering the economy here and overseas, why would stocks increase in price? We have a record national debt, and the Federal Reserve prints $85 billion of new money every month and gives it to the banks that won’t lend it to consumers, who are charged $49 to bounce a check.

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Outs-go with Invesco: Sell, sell, sell (access required)

We bought 260 shares of Invesco Ltd. in December 2007 at $31.45, and the stock hasn’t been back there since. We have nine other stocks, but this is the only one we are concerned about. We need to raise about $7,500 more in cash to modify our home so our Marine son, who was injured in Afghanistan, can move in with us until he recovers.

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