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CNN IN THE MONEY
Bush Criticized By Republicans For Spending; A Look At Successful Women In Business; The Atkins Name Turned Gold
Aired February 16, 2004 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: From New York City America's financial capital, this is IN THE MONEY
JACK CAFFERTY, HOST: Welcome to the program. I'm Jack Cafferty. Coming up on today's edition of IN THE MONEY:
Freaking out the faithful: President Bush taking heat from the right wing of the Republican Party over issues like spending money. Find out what it could mean for his shot at a second term.
Also ahead, successful women and how they get that way: We'll talk to the author of "Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office." But they may have more fun
The diet that beefed up a company's book: See how the Atkin's name turned into solid gold as America went low-carb crazy.
Joining me today as always, a couple IN THE MONEY veterans CNN correspondent Susan Lisovicz and "Fortune" magazine editor-at-large, Andy Serwer.
So they've trotted out the pay stubs and the dental records and yada, yada, yada and we're continuing a national debate over two guys and what they did in the Vietnam War 40 some years ago.
ANDY SERWER, "FORTUNE" MAGAZINE EDITOR-AT-LARGE: You know, I'm hearing a grateful dead tune in my ear, "Alabama Getaway," you remember that one?
CAFFERTY: Of course.
SERWER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The president, I mean -- you keep having these pieces of paper saying he was there, but he's having trouble really getting people to saying, "Ah-ha, I remember that guy, there." He was a high-profile guy. On the other hand, as far as Kerry goes, you know, they haven't even begun to get the sharp knives out on this guy, and I think they will.
SUSAN LISOVICZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. It's getting ugly. But, you know, I think there is a certain element of the population that excuses what people did decades ago. Although, of course, now that we're at war, no WMD, it does resonate, because this has come out before, when Bush -- George Bush ran for governor in Texas the first time around just didn't have as much stick as it does now. CAFFERTY: There's also the issue, whether or not he wound up in Alabama or not is one issue, the other issue is whether or not the political influence of his father got him in to the National Guard at a time when that was a safe haven from having to be shipped overseas and perhaps seeing combat duty in Vietnam. Every kid who -- you know, in the country who had an I.Q. above 84 wanted into a Guard unit, there were long waiting lists for people to get in and there's some question about the propriety of George W. Bush's admission into the Guard and whether it was -- you know, politically greased, as they say.
LISOVICZ: There can't be any debate about that. I don't that -- I don't think there's a debate about that.
SERWER: I would think that's right and you look at Al Gore.
LISOVICZ: There were casualties every week, 300 deaths a week at the point he was in the National Guard.
SERWER: You look at Al Gore's situation, what's interesting, and he did go to Vietnam, also maybe help from the family there, because he was not -- wasn't exactly on the front lines in a firefight.
SERWER: But, you know, that didn't help his candidacy, particularly, did it? It does seem to be a bigger issue now, I think it's because Kerry...
LISOVICZ: Because we're at war.
SERWER: Well, I think we're at war, but also, I think, there is no question about Kerry. I mean, he went to war. But, that's not quite right, either. Because there are questions about Kerry because he came out against the war so vociferously afterwards. So, it's a big stew and it's very interesting going forward.
CAFFERTY: Be another real -- real friendly example of democracy in action as we head toward the general election in November. Huh? Could be an interesting campaign.
All right. The Bush campaign isn't just fighting charges about how its candidate behaved decades ago, it's also taking flack about George W's decisions in the White House during his first term from the very people who helped put him in office. For more on that, we go to Washington now, and Michael Franc, who's the vice president of government relations for the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank.
Welcome to the program. Nice to you have with us.
MICHAEL FRANC, HERITAGE FOUNDATION: Good to be here.
CAFFERTY: How serious, potentially, is the alienation that president Bush has been accused of creating with the right wing of the republican party? How much does he need them to get a second term? FRANC: Well, any president needs a political base to get re- elected and the president needs America's conservative base -- 40, 45 percent of Americans are clearly conservative. He needs them to get re-elected. Members of congress and, I think, the president of the last three, four, five months, has heard from them increasingly, that the government's spending too much money, they're frustrated by a whole range of decisions and discussions going on in Washington about their pocketbooks and they see this as being a problem. The message seems to have gotten through, however, to the president. He proposed a relatively tight budget, he's willing to see that budget be even stricter than it is right now, and he sent out a very firm veto threat to this bloated highway bill that's moving through the House and the Senate, here in Washington. It spends over $100 million more than what the president would propose and he's willing to exercise his first veto on this bill. If he does that, that'll send a clear signal to his constituency out there that he's putting a stop to this, he's going to exercise some adult leadership, step in and try to get -- regain control over a runaway federal budget.
LISOVICZ: You know, Michael, so we have the record deficit, we have this record spending, and you have the republicans controlling both houses of congress.
LISOVICZ: George Will wrote in a recent column that it is surreal for a republican president to submit a budget to the republican-controlled congress and have republican legislators vow to remove the waste that was put there. So, he is really under fire. He can't blame anyone.
FRANC: It's true. The Republican Party, as a whole, has suffered some credibility problems on this because they -- a lot of these members ran for office in the first place on the premise they could find ways to cut out wasteful spending and shrink the overall size and scope of the government. That's not been the case, but like I said, I think the message has gotten through and what you're going to see in the next few months, I believe, is a very sincere effort to try to either freeze or actually cut some of these programs. Now, the problem is, here in Washington there are literally tens of thousands of sophisticated lobbyists who represent very important constituencies back home, all of whom want more money. So the members of congress have to take the 30,000 foot perspective and do what's right for the overall country and not worry about individual requests that they get from their constituencies.
SERWER: Michael, what were they calling the president, I think, a don't tax and spend republican, if you will. I want to ask you, if this sort of ground swell of the people in the Republican Party continued, or had continued, who would they turn to? What are some other names in the Republican Party that people might turn to in terms of leadership and even looking down the road? What's the next generation of electable republican president's candidates? Who are they?
FRANC: Well first of all, in this election, they're not going to be turning to anybody else. The worst case scenario, I think, for Bush is if they decide to stay home and just not vote on Election Day, if they lose their enthusiasm, if they do not tell their friends, neighbor, relatives to go out and vote for President Bush. That's the big, immediate problem for him. But, I think he can overcome that, frankly. But in the long run, I think what you're seeing happening right now in Congress is you're beginning to see the emergence of the next generation of small government republicans who are going to fight things like this highway bill.
SERWER: Like who? What are some names?
FRANC: Well, a good guy, one guy who's very, very strong on this and has a very clear race coming up in Pennsylvania is congressman Pat Toomey, he's challenging the incumbent republican senator, Arlen Specter, and there's a very clear dividing line between those who wants to spend a lot and those who don't in that particular republican primary. There are other members of the House, Mike Pence who's from Indiana, Jeff Flake who's from Arizona, others like Paul Ryan from Wisconsin -- young members who have a really clear vision on this and they want to find ways to tilt the playing field in favor of taxpayers and ordinary Americans and away from all of the special interest spending that has become so dramatic.
John McCain of Arizona deserves a lot, a special mention here as well, because he stands up over and over and over again to budgets -- proposals like the highway bill or energy bill, the farm bill, that are just chockfull of special interest spending.
CAFFERTY: I read a piece, Mike, in one of the papers Friday that the time is fast approaching when the president's going to have to go hat and hand back to the congress and ask for tens of billions of additional dollars for the war in Iraq. How's that going to play with right wing of the party?
FRANC: Well, I don't think that's a problem at the right wing side. I think Americans who are inclined to be conservative give the president very high marks on how he's conducted the war on terror and see this as the ultimate and primary challenge for the federal government and everything else is secondary. So, he's not going to suffer at all from his base on that particular score, he just has to be able to make a compelling case that September 11 launched a long- scale, long-term international engagement of war against terror, and we have to conduct it like we would any -- a battle against the Ebola virus. This is a very serious situation and he has to convince more Americans to feel that way.
LISOVICZ: Michael Franc, the vice president of the Heritage Foundation, thanks for joining us.
FRANC: Thank you.
LISOVICZ: Still ahead on IN THE MONEY: Find out what successful women are doing right. We'll speak with the author of "Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office."
Also coming up: The one-man brand. Some people wondering if diet doctor Robert Atkins uses his diet himself. We'll see what that means for the company he founded.
And it's not what you've got, it's how you use it: Best selling writer John Gray will give us a Valentine's weekend look at money, love, and how each gender treats cash.
LISOVICZ: Being professional and diligent on the job doesn't always pay off. Our next guest says if you're a woman you may be working too hard, asking for too little and being too nice. Hmm, that's my problem.
SERWER: Huh, yeah.
LISOVICZ: And, that could keep you stuck in a mid-level position. Lois Frankel is the author of the new book "Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office." She is also a psychotherapist and corporate coach. Read it and weep.
LOIS FRANKEL, AUTHOR "NICE GIRLS DON'T GET THE CORNER OFFICE": Thank you very much.
So, what evidence do you have to support this, other than my own case?
FRANKEL: Well, you're not unlike many of the women that I've worked with around the world. I'm an executive coach and I work with both men and women and the book is really based on my experiences of working with senior-level women and some junior level women and watching things they do that really sabotage themselves.
LISOVICZ: Like what?
FRANKEL: Well, one of the most important things I think that women do is explain ad nauseam, for example, whereas a guy will tend to be a little bit more crisp and clear and cogent in his response, often you'll hear a woman continue talking long after she's made her point.
SERWER: Listen, Lois, is there any chance that instead of the women having the change that maybe the men have to change?
SERWER: I mean, you're sort of suggesting here, that boy, women, you have to adapt to this workplace. What about men changing and listening to women a little bit more? I'm getting points, here.
FRANKEL: Well, I actually definitely think that men could do with a little bit of changing. As a matter of fact, what I say to women is, one of the reasons why you talk too much is because men often don't give you any reinforcement. So, you keep talking and you're looking for a head nod, a um-hm, you don't get it. So, absolutely, this is a two-way street, but in the case of this book I'm really asking women to be responsible for themselves.
CAFFERTY: What's the hardest part that they have to do, to go about changing their behavior? You said a lot of the stuff they do is unconscious, which a lot of stuff all of us do is unconscious. But, if it's unconscious, it's very difficult to be -- you know, in an ongoing work situation, to be aware minute to minute of what's happening. How do you go about making the changes?
FRANKEL: Well, that's the whole premise of the book, actually, is that women need to understand that they're engaging in behaviors they learned in childhood. That -- and that's why the emphasis is on "girls" -- "Nice 'Girls' Don't Get the Corner Office," I mean they have to understand that throughout our lifetimes we've been reinforced for acting certain ways. Not talking too much, being quiet, not having our voice heard, keeping our hand under the table when we're sitting at a table, those kinds of things, and I think we have to understand that those are old messages, and it's our responsibility to grow into adulthood, and the hardest part about that are the messages that you get in response.
LISOVICZ: But, you know, Lois, it's kind of like a double edged sword here, you know, a lot of people complained about Martha Stewart. Here is one of the great brand icons, a genius, and people said they really didn't like her because she was not nice all the time. And you know what? When you run a big empire, you're not going to be nice all the time. Isn't that something that women, because there are so few of us at the top, that we have to face on a daily basis?
FRANKEL: Yes. We absolutely do. There's something that's called the "likeability quotient," and we tend to support and like people who have a high likeability quotient. Unfortunately, Martha Stewart didn't have that and that likable quotient is different for men and for women. But, when you act in ways that are counter to what we expect it creates what's called "cognitive dissidence" and when that happens, people wind up not liking you, and I think that's exactly what happened to Martha Stewart.
CAFFERTY: You know, that phrase, "nice guys finish last," I mean, to what degree is the corner office overrated? A lot of the people that I've encountered, over the years I've been in the workplace, who wound up in the corner office are a bunch of obnoxious creeps who got there over the bodies of people that didn't deserve to get turned around by these clowns.
SERWER: Who wants it?
LISOVICZ: Tell it, Jack!
SERWER: Who wants it?
CAFFERTY: They're power hungry, they're selfish, they don't treat people with respect because they're busy protecting their turf and their empire. I mean, who wants the corner office?
FRANKEL: Well, actually I want those people in the corner office, because as an executive coach that's how I make my living. It eventually catches up with them, and what winds up happening is that eventually a call comes to a business like mean mine and says -- you know, we've got a person who really can bring in the numbers, but we're losing good talent all over are the place because they don't want to work with him or they don't want to work with her, and so it eventually -- I always say to people, "It catches up with you."
SERWER: Lois, isn't this whole notion though, of a glass ceiling a little outdated, here? I mean, over the past five years or so we've seen a tremendous -- I think a surge in women executives, Carly Fiorina, the CEO of Avon, Oprah's power, you seen in public service Madeline Albright, Condi Rice. Aren't things changing fast?
FRANKEL: No. Because...
LISOVICZ: Thank you, Lois.
FRANKEL: Yes. No, they're not changing fast. Because, the point at which you can name more than five or six women that have really arrived, then I'll say things are changing fast. You look at the top of Fortune 500 CEOs, I think something like three percent of Fortune 500 companies are run by women. Women still only earn 72 cents to the dollar, for working similar kinds of jobs. I think when that changes I'll say, we've come a long way.
LISOVICZ: Thank you so much, Lois, for that answer. In the meantime, because corporate America is so slow to promote women to the top, so many women are going into business for themselves. Oprah is a brilliant example of that, she's a nurturer, she's a philanthropist, and she's got a huge empire and she's got a huge likeability factor?
FRANKEL: Yes, absolutely, and she's a great example of someone who does have a high likeability quotient. We like her yet, she's smart and tough and she puts it all together beautifully, a wonderful role model for most of us. And yes, business -- Fortune 500 c -- Fortune 500 companies are starting to lose great talent, not only in the form of talented women, but also talented people of color.
SERWER: All right. We're going to have to leave it at that, Lois. A really interesting topic, I think. Lois Frankel, author of "Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office."
FRANKEL: That you so much.
SERWER: All right, stick around, we've go more to come on IN THE MONEY. Up next: Comcast puts on its mouse ears, we'll look at how stock in the cable giant is performing now that it's bidding now that it's bidding for Disney.
And later, the company that took the fear out of fat. Find out why low-carbs means high profit for the Atkin's diet people.
Plus, get out and meet people, please! By sitting in front of your computer, nibbling on those Valentine's Day chocolate, as we show you, the business of online dating.
LISOVICZ: Now our top stories in the "Money Minute." The Martha Stewart trial continues next week. Last week, the proceedings focused on Stewart's claim she sold her ImClone stock of a so-called stop loss order and not because of inside information. Jurors heard tapes of Stewart's stockbroker, Peter Bacanovic, claiming he set the stop loss order with Stewart in December of 2001.
The "Houston Chronicle" us reporting that former Enron CEO, Jeff Skilling, could be indict as soon as next week for his role in the collapse of the energy giant. Last month former Enron CFO, Andrew Fastow, pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy and attorneys involved in the case believe Fastow is providing information against his former boss.
And, prices for home heating oil and gasoline could be headed much higher in coming weeks. That's because OPEC says it will cut output this spring. Harsh weather has already boosted heating oil bills for most of this winter and OPEC's decision is expected to raise prices at the pump during the peak summer driving months.
SERWER: Comcast surprised Wall Street by making an unsolicited bid for the Walt Disney Company this week. Comcast CEO, Brian Roberts, says the roughly $50 billion deal would make Disney more profitable at a time Disney chief, Michael Eisner, is attempting to be oust him by Roy Disney, a major dissonance shareholder and nephew of the company founder, Walt Disney.
Comcast has gone from a small regional cable company, down in Mississippi, to the largest national cable firm. The big acquisition was the $29 billion purchase of AT&T's cable assets in 2002. Now, Comcast is setting its sights on the next big thing. So, that makes Comcast our stock of the week.
I mean this is high drama on Wall Street, as good as it gets and it ain't over and it's going to be interesting, because Disney heal really hasn't responded yet, have they?
LISOVICZ: Yeah, but Disney quickly hired a couple of big brokerage firms to advise it, how to defend itself. And coincidentally, this audacious bid came as Walt Disney as meeting, as scheduled with financial analysts down in Florida. So, Michael Eisner, who's already been embattled from so many sides had to present his case, and he says they're not selling.
CAFFERTY: Well, we'll see. He may not have a choice in whether they sell or not at the end of the day. One thing thought that was indicated by the rise in the Disney stock, maybe the Comcast bid isn't high enough, they're going to maybe have to put a little more money on the table or perhaps some other outfit might come in and start a bidding war.
The question I have is: This idea of marrying content with delivery systems. Sometimes looks really good on paper, like for example, with AOL and Time Warner, remember that deal?
LISOVICZ: Hmm, heard of it.
CAFFERTY: I took time Warner stock from $90 to $10. Is this a good idea?
SERWER: Well, I never really understood why you have to do these kinds of things. I mean there's this old expression, if you want some milk, you don't have to buy a cow. Right? You could just do a join venture with these companies. Putting these things together, there's never really been proof positive that it's worked. I think what Comcast was doing here -- they've got to get bigger and they've been an incredible growth story, it's actually a very complicated company with a lot of different pieces. It's smaller than Disney in terms of revenue, bigger in terms of market valuation. The thing is, the company may have been slowing down, it needs to find a new avenue of growth.
LISOVICZ: And Disney -- and Disney was vulnerable, no question about it. But, one similarity is the egos and the ambitions of the people at the top: Michael Eisner and Brian Roberts.
SERWER: And, I think the real question, Jack, is: Would Disney be in this situation if they'd had a succession plan, where Michael Eisner would have been at -- because they wouldn't be in a position of weakness, they'd be -- still could be a stand-alone company. Big question.
CAFFERTY: And conventional wisdom is: Eisner doesn't last through this thing, whichever way it goes.
SERWER: I think that's probably right and I think eventually..
LISOVICZ: He's lasted 20 years.
CAFFERTY: Yeah. All right. On to other things.
Coming up, just as the Atkins diet crazy is becoming the heavyweight in the multi billion dollar diet industry, questions arise about the man who started it all. Could it slow a super business to a crawl. We'll take a look at what's at stake.
And if you're still looking for a sweetheart on this Valentine's Day weekend, call Andy. Then you should try the web? The online dating business is growing fast, but does true love online turn into real money?
Webmaster, Allen Wastler, will have some answers for that, stick around.
SERWER: Does my wife know?
CAFFERTY: New controversy this week over lowcarb guru Dr. Robert Atkins. Atkins died last year, and At the time of his death he was reportedly obese and suffering from a heart condition. And that's raised concerns about the safety of his hugely popular Atkins Diet recommendations.
Here with more on the fallout from all of this is CNN medical correspondent Holly Firfer.
HOLLY FIFFER, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Jack.
Well, yes. We heard about Dr. Atkins. He claimed that his weight loss program low carb could help you lose weight yet we find out that on his autopsy report he died actually from falling and hitting his head, it had nothing to do with his heart attack that he had, he was a little overweight. Now, he wasn't morbidly obese not even obese, he was little heavy.
Now, doctors, are saying that was from keeping him alive. He was in a coma. And we know when you are on life support you tend to gain weight, it can bloat you because they give you a lot of fluids to keep the organs going. But as far as his heart health goes, his doctor said, yes, he did have health problems but it came from a virus he contracted while in Turkey. It weakened the heart muscle and therefore he had heart problems, but it was a heart attack. And so now the Atkins people are saying the diet is perfectly safe, although they tweaked it a bit not quite as many high fat foods, meats, mayonnaise (ph), it's just not just butter beef and bread. They are saying more chicken, more fish. Sort of moderating, but they still claim it's still healthy.
CAFFERTY: There you go. CNN medical correspondent, Holly Firfer, thanks for being with us. I appreciate it.
CAFFERTY: Atkins advocates are nothing if not influential. Just last week the Atkins physicians council turned to Congress to support a new food pyramid that will minimize the intake of carbohydrates in hope of fighting America's obesity epidemic.
Dean Rothbart chairman and executive editor of "LowCarbBiz" is here to tell us more about the business of Atkins and a big business it is. Welcome to the program, nice to have you with us.
DEAN ROTHBART, CHAIRMAN, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, "LOWCARBBIZ": Good to be here.
CAFFERTY: Give us a sense of the Atkins food industry in this country. ROTHBART: Well, Atkins itself as a brand is approaching a billion a year. But the low carb economy as a whole passed $15 billion in 2003, and it is growing at nearly 100 percent.
SERWER: Dean, Andy Serwer here. You look good, you on Atkins yourself?
ROTHBART, Thanks, Andy. Yes, I have been on Atkins about three years, and have trimmed about 50 pounds.
SERWER: See, I knew that. I knew that.
SERWER: Listen, talk to us a bit about how Atkins has been changing the U.S. Economy.
Which businesses have been doing well, which ones have been getting hurt?
ROTHBART: The impact of Atkins is most felt by Fortune 500 companies. Companies like Pepsi's Frito-Lay unit or Kraft. Some of the huge manufacturers who suddenly have seen people stop eating their snack foods or eating a whole lot less of what they manufacturer. Pasta makers are hurting, orange juice makers are hurting. And the fortune 500 has been very slow in actually come into the market. We are beginning to see some brand line extensions like through Unilever or Frito-Lay test marketing a couple of brands. This has been fantasy land for small companies that have become big, and you if will excuse the expression, fat overnight.
LISOVICZ: Dean, just to go over sort of the basics of the Atkins regimen. No bread, no pasta, no fruit, no quality of life. I mean, there's no point in getting up every day and having a good dinner.
SERWER: It's not that bad.
ROTHBART: I've got to tell you, on the way in to the studio today, there's a chain I'm out of Denver called Einstein Bagels, believe it's national. I stopped in and I had a bagel with cream cheese, a low carb bagel they just introduced.
LISOVICZ: That's a New York kind of breakfast.
ROTHBART: That's a New York kind of breakfast.
I mean, the -- there's an image of the Atkins diet of being bacon cheeseburgers without bread. But in fact, the industry is so quickly creating just about anything you can eat with full carbs, these days there's a low carb variety of from ice cream to pasta to pizza to my bagel this morning.
LISOVICZ: Isn't it a fad?
Won't Americans get sick of this? ROTHBART: Let me tell you, Atkins I believe as a brand is going to -- is going to be something where people will eventually turn bored with Atkins as a brand. But the low carb diet as a whole is not going to be a fad largely because you have two major trends that are not going to go away soon, and that is we have a fat population. I mean, a medically obese population, and because we have an increasingly diabetic population. We know low-fat has not worked. This country has been on a low-fat diet for 30 years and we have all gotten fatter. So low carb has that promise. I think people may tire eventually of everything Atkins, but there's a lot of other people coming down the road with good product that are low carb.
CAFFERTY: Isn't that the key word, promise?
Aren't people in this country literally desperate for anything that promises an easy way to lose weight?
I mean, if you want to write a best-seller write a diet book. For the last 30 years plus, the best sellers that come out that have to do with diet, they zoom to the top of the best seller list like that.
To what degree, and I don't single out Atkins for that, but to what degree do all of these ideas about losing weight pray to a degree on the desperation or maybe even the gullible of people who will try anything to shed a few pounds?
ROTHBART: Well, I think -- first of all I agree with you almost 100 percent. And the only area I would tell you different is that what I think manufacturers do wrong in low carb, low fat, whatever the diet happens to be is they promised a magic bullet. You go on low carb, eat as much as you want and you'll lose weight, and that is wrong. The reality of it is that I -- from everything that I can study low carb diets work if you want to do a low fat diet it works, but the truth is you need some self-discipline. You need to exercise and people don't want to hear that. And, so, it's a bit of a conspiracy between the manufacturers who don't want to tell them that and the dieters who don't want to listen to it.
SERWER: Some of that is common sense. Stop eating so much French fries if you are 40 or 50-years-old. You shouldn't do that.
We have got to leave it at that. Dean Rothbart, our former journalist and chairman and executive editor of "LowCarbBiz", thanks much.
ROTHBART: Good to be here.
SERWER: There's much more to come on IN THE MONEY. Still ahead -- sweetheart deals. Find out why men and women can look at the same dollar bill and see something completely different. We'll speak with author John Gray.
And take your mouth for a joyride, we will point you towards our fun site of the week.
SERWER: Consumers are expected to shell out about $13 billion for Valentine's Day this year. A big jump over 2003. But don't let Cupid fool you, love and money don't often get along that well. After splurging on fancy dinners and flowers, couple also come back to what they fight over most -- money.
Joining us today to talk about why men and women understand money so differently is author and family therapist John Gray. A new edition of his best seller "Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus" has just come out in paperback, obviously a huge franchise.
Welcome. Nice to see you here on the show.
JOHN GRAY, AUTHOR: Well, thank you. It's a pleasure.
SERWER: Some of this is intuitive I guess. Talk a bit about why men and women look at money so differently.
GRAY: First of all, at our own marsvenus.com poll we find the number one thing people fight about is money. That's been my experience. As a therapist, and you are going deeper into it, although money is the charged subject, it's always about personal value. People -- money means something different to both people. To men, money means a sense of esteem, what he can accomplish, what he can achieve, and where he has his power, sort of control in life. And for women money has a different connotation, it means security. Women tend to be much more security oriented. We need to protect for the future what might happen. We need money. So often the biggest conflict is in spending habits. How he spends, how she spends what he is spending money on, what she is spending money on. The arguments emerge from that. Where as the man might want a big screen TV, and she says why spend money on that and she says I haven't spent money on myself. Or he buys shoes, and she says want shoes. Why do get shoes? I need shoes, you don't need shoes. When are going to where shoes?
LISOVICZ: First thing, you know as a women is you always spend money on shoes. Never deprive yourself of the shoe.
SERWER: Sarah Jessica Parker, right.
GRAY: She can buy as many shoes as she wants.
GRAY: You know what will happen for a guy, he will go to the store and buy a Sony head phone or something or a little radio or something, she'll say why did you buy that, you don't need that? He says I wanted that. She say, but you already got one, is it broken?
So there's this whole sort of interrogation, and that can cause a lot of annoyance and irritation.
LISOVICZ: How do you work it out?
Women basically have been handling the finances forever. But the dynamics have changed as women have increasingly gone into the work force, and now increasingly drawing the pay equity with husbands.
So, has that changed the dynamic at all?
GRAY: Well, putting conversations about money -- spending money to the side, just the fact that women are the major providers in the family, that has a stress on a mans self esteem, because historically men have always found their self-esteem in what can I provide for her? What can I provider for her?
And if suddenly she is providing more what does she (sic) provide for her?
Not only is this a stress on him but also a stress on her. Many women are saying what does he provide for me?
It's like I'm his mother now. I take care of him, cook for him, I do this for him, and pay his way, what does he give to me?
It's very important for relationship to work that there's a clear feeling of I can depend on my partner and I'm getting something from them.
CAFFERTY: John, let me ask you a question based on a personal tragedy in my own house this week. My cat was sick, it's a cat. Went to the vet, they did a couple things, they gave it an IV, took an X- ray. When the cat comes home, stayed overnight one night, he is still walking around kind of like he ain't feeling real good and I said how much was the bill?
Well, the bill was $530. But the price of asking that question was much higher. Let me tell you.
What do you mean how much did it cost, this is a life, it's a cat. And I got in a lot of trouble.
How do you resolve conflicts over money if you have them?
It's not an ongoing problem because I usually just give it to her and keep my mouth shut.
But how do you resolve it?
I mean, if you have conflicts like that what do you do about it?
GRAY: There's two things. One is, once you've had the problem how do you resolve it at that point, which I will address real quickly. But the other one is how to avoid those problems. And one of the ways you avoid those problems or try at least try to avoid those problems is have a discussion when you are not heated up and talk about your spending priorities. Where your values are, the way your parents spent money, how you think it should be spent and how you would like communication between you and your partner to be. That's really important.
I've had lots of conversations with my wife where I told her I don't like if she challenges me on what I'm spending money on if it's a small expense. And we sort of put, based upon our income, we put a bracket. If I spend a few hundred dollars on something I don't want her to interrogate me. Do you need that? Why do you need that? You already have one. It's just annoying, I work hard, I should be able to spend the money I want to spend. But I can't go out and buy a ranch, OK, that's a different story. I need to bring her more into the play.
CAFFERTY: Next time what I will do is discuss the issues when the cat is feeling well and see if I can help myself. John, I have to leave there. Where pressed for time -- what?
GRAY: How do you resolve it?
You don't say anything, you made the mistake, let her talk and then you say I'm sorry, I was insensitive.
CAFFERTY: That's right, when she's happy, everybody is happy. When she's not happy, nobody else have a chance. John Gray, nice to have you with us. "Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus."
Just ahead on -- it's a true story. I got in so much trouble.
SERWER: I bet you did.
CAFFERTY: Coming up on IN THE MONEY, love stinks. If all this relationship stuff isn't for you, then the fun site of the week is just the thing. We'll show you some items you can buy for your less than loved one.
And speaking of lost love, if you are lonely, feel free to e-mail us at IN THE MONEY. Trouble us with your problems like we care -- no, we really do. We want to hear from you. We have this guy Jake on the staff who has an ongoing relationships with many viewers in the audience. He writes back forth with them. So you can write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And we'll be back after this.
CAFFERTY: Well, if you find yourself alone this Valentine's weekend, fear not. Our Web master Allen Wastler has everything you need to know about finding love online.
SERWER: You can find it there.
ALLEN WASTLER, MONEY.COM: You can find a lot there.
WASTLER: You know what else you are finding there with love, a lot of green. It's getting to be a big business. In the first half of 2003, $214 million was made off of people going to the online personals, all right.
SERWER: Wow. WASTLER: If you want to put it in real people numbers, that's about 20 million people, 14 percent of the Internet population. I know what you are thinking, Jack. You're think, OK, we've got losers. A bunch of guys -- a bunch of guys just clicking on. I want to find love.
WASTLER: Actually only 50 percent of that is males, 40 percent are women. They are doing it through regular subscription services, you basicly pay around 20 bucks...
LISOVICZ: Whatever happened to the blind date?
WASTLER: It can be pretty blind on this, too.
SERWER: This is the original blind date...
WASTLER: At least you get a data file. You get a little data file to tell you a little bit.
SERWER: Look at that. Did they met online. They meet online. Those two -- they met at a bar.
Now, so more and more of the Internet business makers are look at this as a serious way of getting in. If you look at Yahoo!'s latest results, about one fifth of the revenues came from this personal service. So, they are thinking we can build it.
CAFFERTY: It must work or it wouldn't be the growth industry you are talking about it being. So people must find...
WASTLER: It actually skews to the Internet population really well, because you got -- it is a basically a younger set looking for this and they are very time compressed. They are just going through the data files saying, OK, I want someone who's a nonsmoker, who's very polite, (UNINTELLIGIBLE), boom, boom, boom.
You narrow it down.
SERWER: A lot of people who met online are married. I mean, it's definitely happening now.
LISOVICZ: Now Allen, fun site of the week?
WASTLER: Yes, we talked enough about love and everything, OK. So the fine folks at Despair Incorporated, they've came up with bittersweets. You know the little heart things, they usually say hug me or love you?
These have messages like "i miss my ex," "table for one," "dignity free." LISOVICZ: How about prenuptial.
WASTLER: Here you go, prenupt agreement.
SERWER: You must have read that, Susan.
WASTLER: "p.s I luv me," is my favorite.
SERWER: You know what, they're garlic favored too, I bet.
CAFFERTY: Thanks, Allen.
Coming up, we will read your thoughts on when you can retire, and we'll bring you our new e-mail question of this week. Don't be shy, you can e-mail us now if you would like, we're at email@example.com.
First, Susan got the latest edition of "Money and Family."
LISOVICZ: Sending your kids to college these days is not cheap. So, if you are a parent applying for financial aid, here are a few tips to get the money you need. To be eligible for government grants or subsidized loans your child has to fill out the free application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. You can get a copy online at fapsa.ed.gov. This is how the system works. You send the forms to the government and they send them to your prospective colleges. Even though the governments deadline isn't until June 30. Don't wait to send in the applications. Most colleges of your prospective colleges will have their own deadline that can be as early as February. So, find out the deadlines of each school your interested in. It's best to apply for financial aid as early as possible. Don't wait until April because you are worried about including recent tax information. It's completely legitimate to estimate tax figures based on last year's return and update them later.
Also be sure to fill out the entire FAFSA form correctly. If there are omissions or mistakes, the central processor will reject your forms, sending it back to you without mailing it on to the colleges. The safest route is to fill out the forms online because it will alert you of missing information or mistakes right away.
I'm Susan Lisovicz for "Money and Family."
CAFFERTY: It's time for your answers to our e-mail question about what it will take for you to retire at age 65.
Richard from California wrote this -- "The economic downturn has cut into my savings so much that nothing short of a miracle will make retirement at 65 possible. But working past 65 was always my plan. I find the idea of putting on slippers and reading the paper somewhat abhorrent. Gregory from California similar response -- "What will I need to retire at 65? More than I've got or will have. Right, now I'm looking at retiring at 85."
Perhaps our older viewers could learn a lesson from young Mike in Los Angeles who wrote this, "I'm 19-years-old but my parents and I have already begun planning for my retirement by setting up a Roth IRA in my name. I'm also on the proper career path and making other investments to hopefully retire before I'm 65."
CAFFERTY: Mike, you and I are just the same. When I was 19 I was doing that, too.
CAFFERTY: Now our e-mail question for this Valentine weekend, you have ever had an office romance and if so what are the consequences?
And if you have pictures you can send some of those too.
send your answers to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also learn more about the show and get the much desired fun site of the week by logging on to our show page. It's money.com/inthemoney.
On that note, thank you for joining us for this week's edition of IN THE MONEY.
Thanks to the gang around here, financial correspondent, Susan Lisovicz, "Fortune" magazine editor-at-large, Andy Serwer, and my old pal, money.com managing editor, Allen Wastler. Join us tomorrow at 3:00 when we'll look at President Bush's standing among conservatives.
Is Mr. Bush alienating his core supporters with heavy government spending and nation building? That's tomorrow at 3:00. Hope to see you then.
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