Few people get thrilled about the idea of reading thick documents filled with financial statements, fine print and legalese. But the excitement level surges a bit once they find out they could be paid hundreds if not thousands of dollars for plowing through those piles of paper.

Curious yet? The documents in question are securities class-action notices. They outline how much money shareholders of a company that is accused of wrongdoing get paid after that company agrees to settle lawsuits filed against it.

Think of these documents as the guide on how the spoils of the multimillion-dollar securities lawsuits being settled are split among the wronged shareholders. They describe who qualifies, how much they get, and when they get it.

If you don't know how to find these documents and read them, this is a good time to learn. In this cleanup period after the rash of corporate scandals, knowing how to read these documents is a skill individual investors should have...
[read more at usatoday.com]