The truth is, you should read every contract that you sign. It doesn’t matter if you’re busy, the contract is long, and the print is small. The second that you sign your name, you could be signing your life away (or at least a significant portion of your income). Take the time to read each contract. If that simply isn’t feasible, there are a few contracts that you certainly shouldn’t skim or ignore.
- Apartment Lease It’s easy to skim your lease, especially if you’ve been searching for an apartment for a while and you just want to get it over with. Or conversely, you’ve found the perfect unit quickly and it’s the last one left so you want to nab it ASAP. It’s important to read all documents related to your new apartment to avoid legal problems and expenses that you might not have considered.
- Car Loans You’ve found a super nice car salesman who is offering a great deal on the car of your dreams. Stop! While the car salesman may indeed be nice, he or she also has a job to do—get as much money as possible while emptying the existing inventory. Read contracts fully to understand your monthly payments, the duration of your payments, interest rates (and if they can change) what is (and isn’t) covered by your warranty etc.
- Gym Membership Hopefully you get an apartment with a great community fitness center but if you don’t, do not rush into signing a gym membership. Most gyms offer promotional discounts that will end, leaving you paying a higher monthly cost than expected. If you sign a contract for an established duration of time, you must make payments whether you go to the gym or not.
- Credit Cards I don’t know anyone who loves their credit card company. Unfortunately, the fault is often on the cardholder, not the bank. When signing up for credit cards, be aware of promotional interest rates, when those rates end, what your rate will be after it ends, and how those rates may be affected by late payments and other variables.