Before we move on, you should know that Suze conducted a little secret experiment to illustrate one of her number one lessons about paying attention in our own lives. Suze, what'd you do?—Gayle King, Host of Ask Oprah's All Stars
Suze Orman: You know what's so important, especially when it comes to money? The contracts, the documents, the tax returns that you all sign. So many times, somebody's saying to you, "Sign this," and you say, "Okay." Many married couples, you just sign the joint tax return of your spouse and yourself and you never even look to see is it accurate, is it not? And you are legally held responsible for it, even if it isn't accurate. So, therefore, I just wanted to see: Do you pay attention to what you sign? You all came in today, and you all were asked to sign something, weren't you?
So our audience member Melissa had to sign some forms. I want you to read what you agreed to by your signature. What did you sign?
Melissa: By signing this agreement I unconditionally agree to get into a staring contest with Dr. Oz for no shorter than two hours, and no longer than six. If I lose, which I will because said-contest will be rigged, I will have to listen while Dr. Oz gloats over his victory and sings, "We are the champions."
Suze Orman: Now, this could have been "I want you to give me all of your money." Don't think it doesn't happen; it happens all the time, people. When somebody asks you to sign something, you better check it out. It's okay if they're in a hurry. You take a few minutes, read it before you do it.
The point really is: Read before you sign, everybody. [I read] everything that I sign, and most of the time I will make a change to something that somebody's having me sign. So, I go to these things and I have to sign and I will cross out, sign and say, "Nope, it's under my conditions or I'm not interested."
Next: How you can live your best financial life in 2011