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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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For the housing market, signs of recovery (access required)

The housing market is getting healthier. The number of foreclosed and real estate-owned properties on the market is diminishing, thus pushing home prices up to more realistic levels. The foreclosure inventory has been falling as requirements from the national mortgage settlement "influence the pace of first-time foreclosure starts," Lender Processing Services stated in a recent report.

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Mom’s health complicates home sale (access required)

I live in a home that my mother and I financed jointly. I have been on the note and deed for about 10 years and have always made the payments and lived there. Our verbal agreement was that after two or three years she would give me the house because she wanted to go into a facility with people her age. She often forgets that the house is in both of our names. The last two years she was living in the home we agreed to sell it a number of times, but she would refuse to sign the final documents. I also tried to buy her out with the same result.

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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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Trusts can have downsides (access required)

DEAR BENNY: What are your thoughts on placing residential rental properties into a charitable remainder trust to be able to collect the rents and have the income offset by the charitable donation write-offs over the years allowed and sell the properties at a later date to avoid capital gains? Would you know what the requirements are as to how much must be retained in this type trust for the charity? Are there pitfalls to be aware of placing property into a CRT? —Jame

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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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Resolving property line disputes
 (access required)

My husband and I have owned our home since 1973. At the time we purchased the home, there was an existing fence between our neighbor's house and ours that we had assumed was on the property line. Our current neighbors moved into their house in 2000. They recently had a "topographic survey" of their property performed for a proposed landscaping project. The survey shows that the fence is not on the property line, but that it extends in the range of approximately 2 to 4 feet at various points onto their side of the property line.

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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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How to keep fraud, and negative headlines, away (access required)

Two Charlotte-area cases of embezzlement recently became public. In one, Jeremy Russell, former chief of the Mint Hill Volunteer Fire Department and director of the fire/EMS division, pleaded guilty to stealing approximately $225,000 over a three-year period. In another case, a former project manager for Boggs Paving is accused of stealing more than $888,680 over a six-year period.

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