CNN In the Money Transcript

, April 22, 2006


Chinese President Made Corporate America His First Stop This Week; Ted Fishman Interview; Tom Kloza Interview; Robert Manning Interview; Annabelle Gurwitch Interview; Expert Tips For Looking For Work Online; Tax Time Is Kickoff For Divorce Season

Aired April 22, 2006 - 13:00   ET


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: "IN THE MONEY" is coming up next, but first here are the top stories.
Taking a road trip this weekend? Well you are paying more at the pump. With crude oil trading at $75.00 a barrel the average U.S. price of unleaded regular gasoline has hit $2.88 a gallon. In his weekly radio address President Bush touted the developed of ethanol and other alternative energy sources.

There will be voting until 9:00 p.m. Eastern in New Orleans. Holding its first mayoral election since hurricane Katrina. This is one of 76 polling stations. Mayor Ray Nagin is running against 21 challengers. If no one wins a majority there will be a runoff next month.

The Iraqi parliament today re-elected Kurdish leader Jalal Talabani president. Talabani then asked the prime minister designate Jawad Al Maliki to form a cabinet. Al Maliki is to replace the Prime Minister, Ibrahim Jaafari who ended a political stalemate with his agreement to step down.

More news as it happens. Now, here's, IN THE MONEY.

ANNOUNCER: From New York City, America's financial capital, this is IN THE MONEY.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to the program. I'm Jack Cafferty. Coming up on today's edition of IN THE MONEY, forget Washington. China's president made corporate America his first stop this week. We'll look at what his country's moves mean for your money.

Also ahead, dream on, credit feels like cash without the consequences until the bill shows up. See if plastic's propping up the strong consumer spending numbers.

And what you pay for when you pay and pay and pay at the gas pump. Oil isn't the only thing driving the price of gasoline. We'll take a gallon apart for you and show you what you are really buying.

Joining me today a couple of IN THE MONEY veterans, "Headline News" correspondent Jennifer Westhoven and my old pal, Andy Serwer, "Fortune" Magazine editor at large.

Something very unusual happened this past week. Oil prices surging, stock market rallying.

ANDY SEWER, MANAGING EDITOR, "FORTUNE" MAGAZINE: You know I have been eating plate after plate of crow, Jack, and the reason why is because every day I keep saying that the market can't keep going up and oil prices can't go up at the same time. Every day I look stupider and stupider and dumb and dumber.

CAFFERTY: But the conventional wisdom is what you are saying, right, Jen?

JENNIFER WESTHOVEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes but I think this has a lot to do with what the market thinks about interest rates and that they don't think that they are going to skyrocket any time soon and they are not that worried about the housing bubble.

SERWER: Right, I mean the big news was the Fed minutes came out and it indicated that the Fed was probably going to be ending its campaign of raising the interest rates, but I think at some point these two things cannot go in concert. You cannot have rising stock prices forever and rising oil prices. Something has to give here.

CAFFERTY: But somebody pointed out this, what's the difference between $70 a barrel and $71 a barrel. And I suppose that is a good point, but the prices are so high that a buck or two one-way or the other is not really that significant.

SERWER: It is all these hedge funds and they are speculating, it is a lot of oil traders doing ...

WESTHOVEN: The economy has been handling it so far.

SERWER: That's true.

CALLER: All right. We'll see what happens.

In the meantime, this week's U.S. visit by Chinese president Hu Jintao wasn't just about flowery speeches and 21 gun salutes and playing the wrong national anthem in Washington, D.C., actually they played the right national anthem, they just called it the wrong national anthem.

Another diplomatic real smooth one in the nation's capital. It was also about a shady guy on a street in Beijing who will sell you a hot copy of "King Kong" piracies of movies, music, software, intellectual stuff as they say was one hot topic during this trip, there was plenty of other stuff on the agenda too, and one way or another most of it all comes down to money. Isn't it the truth?

Ted Fishman is going to talk us through the highlights of the visit. He's the author of "China Inc, How the Rise of the Next Superpower Challenge America and the World?"

Mr. Fishman welcome to the program, nice to have you with us. Tell me a little bit about the symbolism if you will of the fact that the Chinese president stopped in Seattle before he went to Washington and met with Bill Gates before he met with President Bush. The media made a big deal out of it. Was it?

TED FISHMAN, AUTHOR, "CHINA, INC": It was a big deal for the Chinese. Perhaps less so for Americans in the short term. The best constituency for China and for the relationships China wants to have with the United States is big business, particularly American multinationals. And if he can sway that crowd, then that crowd will go to bat for better relations with China over the long run, and then China wins the political battle, too.

WESTHOVEN: All right. It's obvious, the business reasons are so compelling, why we would want our multinationals to tap this kind of market to get in there and be doing business, but when we do we are finding that our companies have to do business a lot differently to satisfy the communist party.

We had Google with censorship; there have been stories about Yahoo! turning its users and they've been put in jail three of them by the Chinese government. What's the ethical or the moral cost here that we have to think about? How can we deal with that?

FISHMAN: You know it is something we do have to think about, you mentioned the information companies. These are companies that grew up in our ethical culture, where open expression created them from scratch. And do we want them to be our ambassadors in the world economy. And if we do should they promote the values that created them, and maybe we should be a little stricter about that.

But you mentioned that it's important for multinationals to be in China, and it might be worth mentioning that the game in China is very different for large corporations than for most of the American economy which is medium and small-size business because the rest of the economy doesn't have the patients and the money to buy connections to lawyer China. And it's a very, very different game and a very difficult game for most of the American economy to penetrate China as a participant inside that country.

SERWER: Ted, have any American businesses really made any money in China? Because it seems to me what happens is big American companies go in, they spend a ton of money to get market share and get a presence, get a footprint, whatever they want to call it. As soon as they start making money, or if they have a chance to make money up front, the Chinese government comes in and says, you have to partner with us, which means they get all the money. So isn't this a no-win zone for the U.S. economy?

FISHMAN: You know I'd encourage you to look at the split again between big companies and small companies. The U.S./China Business Council which is kind of the big chamber for America's biggest companies reports that their members make on average profits in China that exceed their global average. But if you look at business organizations that represent smaller businesses, and I think one of these is the U.S./China Chamber of Commerce, they report that almost 90 percent of their members have not made money in China. So there's a big split here.

CAFFERTY: Taking Andy's point just a little bit farther, what do we, as a people, get out of this relationship? Almost any way you look at it, it tends to be a one-way street and most of the benefit seems to accrue to the Chinese. Why should we be bothering?

FISHMAN: I don't think most of the benefit accrues to the Chinese. We have to think about that and our past in this regard might not be a prelude to our future. We bring in about a quarter of a trillion dollars of Chinese goods into the United States. Those are bought by American purchasers, corporate purchasers in the first instances and consumers in the second instance.

Americans don't like to loose money on their purchases, we like to make money and most of the price of the goods that come from China that you and I pay in the stores is money that goes to the American company that brought those goods in, not to the Chinese.

CAFFERTY: What about the $200 billion trade deficit? I mean, we're in the red on this -- on this supposed bargain shopping we're doing there.

FISHMAN: We're in the red. The trade numbers, certainly. And there will be long-term cost to that, and it also costs industries, whole industries, that we lose to China. But on those transactions, on the $200 billion that are reflected in the deficit and the other $40 billion in Chinese goods that come on top of that, there's money to be made and you know Wal-Mart is not losing money by doing business with China. It's making a lot of money by doing business with China.

WESTHOVEN: Do you happen to know? I seem to recall Warren Buffet had some stats out there about how Wal-Mart or doing business with China was saving Americans "x" amount of money at the cash register.

FISHMAN: Yes, I wonder if he got those in my book. Because I had an economist do this calculation for me, and if you look at the trade statistics and you extrapolate from those, China saves the American consumer on average about $600 a year, and that's more than the Bush tax cut.

CAFFERTY: We are going to have to leave it there Ted. Thank you for joining us. I appreciate it.

FISHMAN: My pleasure.

CAFFERTY: Ted Fishman wrote "China Inc, How the Rise in the Next Super Power Challenges America and the World."

When we come back, buried treasure. Oil's just part of what you pay for when you buy a gallon of gasoline. We'll break down the prices at the pump for you.

Plus, you want it, you got it, all sorts of things cost more these days, but consumer spending is going strong, and find out if America is bingeing on hard cash or plastic?

And field maneuvers, check out about a soccer ref who is giving the fans more then their money is worth. Our "Fun Site of the Week" is ahead. I can't wait.


WESTHOVEN: Americans are seeing gas at $3 a gallon again, already and this time there's no hurricane to blame. Our next guest will talk about what he thinks is behind soaring prices at the pump, who is making big profits and who is not, Tom Kloza is the publisher, chief oil analyst at the Oil Price Information Service. He joins us now.

Welcome to the program. My first question, all right, so some places in America were already seeing $3 and some people are talking about $4. What is your forecast for summer gas prices?

TOM KLOZA, OIL PRICE INFO. SERVICE: Well the $4 numbers are nonsensical unless we have a hurricane event like Katrina, but we'll see $3 very commonly in the next couple of weeks. But we're nearing the end of this chapter. This isn't the year that we're suddenly going to be exceeding supplies in the United States of running out of fuel constantly.

We'll go up, we also go up in the spring. We typically go up about 55 percent or so. We're a little bit above that now. And then prices will be more temperate into the summer and it will be all about the hurricanes at that point.

SERWER: Tom a couple of things different this year, prices are higher and there's the almost hysteria level. Maybe the media going on after this stuff, but what is going on about prices? Is it purely what's going on in Iran and Nigeria, or is it traders? Tell us about that.

KLOZA: Well, this is really a money flow market. It's a like the housing market, but probably the housing market a couple of decades ago or in the last decade, but there's tremendous money that is flowing into the futures exchanges and the derivative markets and the over the counter markets and that's a comfort level being long which is to say have a speculative long position in crude oil or refined products.

The amount of money that's going in from index funds, pension funds and hedge funds for investment, not necessarily for speculation is probably propped up world crude oil prices extensively, and there's the anticipation that there's going to be calamity rather than any real calamity. Right now inventories are fine for crude oil and they are really OK for gasoline, given that we're going to have one million barrels a day or so capacity coming back online in the next 30 days.

CAFFERTY: To a degree, the thing about the summer prices going higher is obviously very true. Exxon made $36 billion last year. And that's the kind of number that gets the motoring public a little stirred up. Are oil company profits out of line? The politicians are beginning to snark around about this. They never do anything about it, they just complain when it gets to a certain point. What about profits? Are they justified at those kinds of levels? KLOZA: You know justification is kind of a semantic question. They are making incredible profits on crude. It's still only costs $5, $6, $7 a barrel, bring a barrel of crude oil to the market and they are getting multiples of 13 or 14 times like that.

Refining margins used to be ten or 20 cents a gallon and now they are 40 cents or 60 cents. These are excessive numbers, but there is nothing that is collusive happening out there. There isn't a gang of despots out there maneuvering this. The market and to extend the trading community and the investors are sort of carrying the water for the major oil companies and the refineries right now.

WESTHOVEN: What do you think New York Senator Chuck Shuchler? He's a Democrat he's been calling for an FTC investigation into this. It sounds like you don't think that there is any "there" there, but do you think should they go and have this investigation so maybe the motoring public would feel better?

KLOZA: Well I think these investigations always turn up that they haven't done anything collusively and they haven't gotten together to do anything to sort of prop up prices. The fact of the matter is there are tremendous beneficiaries of the high numbers and they are beneficiaries of the hysteria. At some point in the next couple of years, it could be because of bird flu, it could be because of recession, but they'll be hysteria working in the other direction as well. Right now, it doesn't look like that's a prospect anytime to come.

SERWER: Tom do gas stations make out like bandits right now?

KLOZA: Absolutely not. The myth is when prices are moving higher that the retail stations do well. First of all, the reality is that most of the retail in this country is no longer owned by major oil companies. They get excited about finding oil in the Gulf of Guinea or in some God-forsaken part of the planet. They don't get excited about retail.

Right now if you add up the costs and the profits that are going to refiners and producers, retailers are lucky if they are able to get ten cents a gallon and probably 60 or 70 percent of that 10 cents is going to the credit card companies. Because who has the cash to pay for a fill-up these days?

CAFFERTY: Tom, that is pretty lucid stuff you're giving us here, I appreciate it. We are out of time we're going to stop. Tom Kloza the publisher and chief of Oil Price Information Service, thanks for being on IN THE MONEY.

KLOZA: Thanks, nice to be here.

CAFFERTY: All right. Now it's time for this week's look ahead. So we shall. On Monday, the conference board will release its April consumer confidence numbers and we'll all get a better idea what Americans think about our economy and how they fit into it.

We'll get a reading on the housing market, there's beginning to be talk that we may be flirting with some sort of bubble in places like Los Angeles, San Diego, and Boston, existing home sales come out, and on Tuesday new home sales figures will be released.

Coming up after the break, as IN THE MONEY continues, part blue grass, part bonsai. Toyota is making the pitch that it's good for the USA. We'll take a look at the stock.

Plus, "you're fired" is a national catch phrase, thanks to the guy with the funny hair that would be him there. We will look at why you shouldn't be so obsessed with getting the ax.

Who do they call first, the accountant or the lawyer? Why some couples decide to get divorced after they file their taxes.


SERWER: We talked a lot on this program about the continuing decline of American auto companies but what about the flip side? The flip side in this case is well represented by a little company called Toyota, and as you can see the stock is on a tear. Check out this three-year chart going from $40 bucks a share in 2003 to more than $110 bucks a pop today.

And now Toyota is launching a campaign trying to show how its fortunes are good for America. That makes Toyota our "Stock of the Week." You can buy this stock, by the way, here in the United States, as something called ADS, an American Depository Share, so you don't have to go on the Tokyo Exchange. Obviously this company has been radically successfully at the expense of the other companies. I just want to read one number really quickly here. Market value of the company, $190 billion, GM, $12 billion, Ford, $14 billion, Chrysler, $58 billion.

CAFFERTY: So Toyota is worth more than the three major American automobile companies combined, so while Toyota may be good for America, it's been kind of crummy for Detroit, hasn't it?

SERWER: It sure has. You know, and I think that it's about to become the number one automaker in the world.

WESTHOVEN: It's right on the edge. To me, I think it's great that we're talking about Toyota for Toyota. I think the argument that what is good Toyota is good for America is definitely arguable, and I just can't help but flip right back, to me this is such a lack of leadership on GM's part. If we want to determine our future, we need that company and Ford to be making cars that people buy, and there's all kinds of areas you can blame, quality, styling and whatever, but people aren't buying them.

CAFFERTY: To the what degree did Toyota come in here and take market share away from GM and Ford and Chrysler and to what degree did those three companies simply surrender because of their legacy costs, because of some factors beyond their control, but some factors very much with in their preview that they didn't respond to or ignored or failed to implement? SERWER: Well you know it's interesting when you talk about the problems of Detroit, because GM in particular, which is in the spotlight right now, because they are the closest to the brink, they point the finger at the united auto workers and say it's about costs, costs we pay them too much.

There's some truth to that, they made a deal with the devil and they paid these guys a lot of money and let the next CEO figure it out cut costs, well that is a problem. But I think the bigger problem is design, making good cars, making cutting-edge cars, making cars that have good features and that people want to buy, and Toyota has stepped right in there, Jack. No question about it.

CAFFERTY: Can you buy the stock here?

SERWER: I think you can. Even though it's so much bigger than the other ones. Ask yourself a question; do you think the Toyota story is over? I don't think the Toyota story is over. And you know as far as the billboards go, they have a lot of plants in the U.S. They are not importing cars anymore. They are made here. They are Asian cars, Japanese cars made in America. Hundreds of thousands of jobs, not union jobs in particularly and they got plants all over and expanding them.

WESTHOVEN: And I think they grow soybeans here and send it back to Japan. Because we make good soybean apparently.

SERWER: Well there you go that will even it all out.

All right. Coming up on IN THE MONEY, fantasy bucks versus the real thing. Find out which version you are living on as we look at debt and spending in America.

Also ahead, how a few little words could land you a job interview. We'll tell you about using key words and other tricks for making your online resume work harder.

Forget the game check out the referee. We'll show you one guy who can outshine the players, that is on our "Fun Site of the Week."


WHITFIELD: Hello, I'm Fredricka Whitfield at the CNN Center in Atlanta. IN THE MONEY continues in a moment. But first, these top stories.

Four U.S. soldiers have been killed in Iraq. The U.S. military says a roadside bomb blew up their vehicle while they were on patrol south of Baghdad today, 2,386 U.S. troops and military civilians have died in Iraq since 2003.

How high will they go? Gas prices are edging closer to $3 a gallon today, and in some areas prices already top that. President Bush is touting the use of alternative fuel technology in cars, but that could take a while before there is widespread use. It's Election Day in New Orleans. Voters are casting ballots for mayor and city council in the city's first election since hurricane Katrina. Mayor Ray Nagin is facing 21 challengers.

Coming up at the top of the hour, we'll hear from Katrina evacuees who are back in New Orleans to cast their votes. Now back to more of IN THE MONEY.

CAFFERTY: You may not have set your alarm last Wednesday morning for the release of the consumer price index. I did. And it was pretty good stuff. Maybe you and your fellow consumers should have prices are up on everything from food to fuel to lodging, and yet you are still buying a lot of stuff you don't need, aren't you? Fess up.

A separate report out last week shows consumers are feeling pretty good about the state of the U.S. Economy and they are out there shopping in it with a vengeance. But are we paying for it? Let's find out from Robert Manning who is the author of "Credit Card Nation." Bob nice to have you with us. Welcome.


CAFFERTY: Is consumer confidence misplaced given the current state of affairs?

ROBERT MANNING, AUTHOR, "CREDIT CARD NATION:" Well there's only the lagged affect and one of the unique factors about the United States is the promotion of the optimism, that no matter how difficult a financial situation is now, it's only going to get much better and it helps to give a context of why Americans are much more willing to assume debt than any other society in the world.

SERWER: Robert how long can we cry out wolf on this one? My goodness, I've been hearing about how we're about to fall off a cliff because we are over leveraged, over borrowed, over spent? It's been going on and on for a while, hasn't it?

MANNING: There's a short term and a long term. As we look at the pressure of having a massive balance of trade deficit with China and we expect the Chinese to help finance our over consumption. The near term could lead to serious foreign policy issues of whom we are going to borrow money for and at what cost for the first time since 1933 we've had a year of negative household savings rate.

And, of course, in the long term, what we're talking about is the under funding of households for retirement. People need to be investing and saving now, as the public sector is not going to be able to afford their retirement in the next 20, 30 years. And, in fact, what we're seeing is the opposite.

WESTHOVEN: OK, so here's your shot, inspire me, inspire all of us, how do you get people to actually start taking some personal responsibility or paying off those credit card debts? Lord knows our federal government is not setting an example here. MANNING: Absolutely. I mean all sectors of American society are taking the easy road out and giving us the fantasyland of plastic money that we don't have to repay, that we can refinance with our home mortgages. You know, over $400 billion have been taken out through home financing and home-equity loans over the last five years and Americans think it's funny money and they can continue their lifestyle.

The reality of it is we need to start planning and we need to start looking at the difference of what the interest is we are paying on our debt service and turn it upside down and look at the interest that we're getting from our investments.

Americans have to take the pay me now or pay me later approach, and unfortunately if we don't start planning for our financial future, it's not only going to put our nation at risk, but it's also going to put the retirement security of our baby boomers at risk, and, given the long-term dependency that we're seeing of households of supporting their children, even in their 30s and 40s, we're going to see even more financial distress on households.

CAFFERTY: History suggests that while those are all very sound suggestions, we won't pay one bit of attention to any of it because just how we are. Instant gratification in this country let the good times roll, and Americans don't tend to respond to stuff until things get really bad. Let's take a look in the future Robert and lets do what-if. What if you don't save for your retirement is I expected to support you in your old age? I mean you look like a nice guy but I don't want to pay your bills, you know what I mean?

MANNING: That's exactly the case. Some people are going to be getting this message and optimizing the tax advantages that Congress gets them for their 401(k)s or their IRAs. We're talking about the end of the defined-pension plan, which puts the onus of responsibility on individuals to plan for their retirement future, and, hey, I'm not planning on my Social Security in 30 years.

SERWER: Well, let me ask you, Robert. Isn't this -- you're talking about taking the long term and the short term. So let's take the long term for a second. Isn't this generational and it's historical? I mean, you go back to the 1930s and '40s, the greatest generation, a thrifty generation, and a generation that sacrificed.

I guess this generation is the not-so-greatest generation, because we sure ain't doing it and it will sort of unwind and we'll all go broke and it will continue on after that. I mean, isn't that ultimately what's going on happen here unfortunately?

MANNING: Well, we're seeing a huge watershed shift in people's attitudes towards credit and debt. I look at it as people's attitudes towards their credit cards as a form of yuppie food stamps. And we see the most profound changes, people that use to train their children about money and the investing in the future by playing Monopoly, now have their children playing Mall Madness, which turns those values upside down. And my recent study of living with debt, what's astounding is that we are seeing generations through the life cycle today that are accumulating more debt, not less debt as they get to the final financial finish line of retirement.

WESTHOVEN: One other question. Do you have some hope that maybe this will slow down a little bit? Because so many Americans got a lot of extra credit when they started refinancing their houses? So suddenly people were able to get it but maybe if the housing market is slowing down they won't have that opportunity?

MANNING: In 1986 the tax reform act was to encourage consumers to reduce their debt, because that's when consumer borrowing, that interest was no longer deductible after the five-year phase-in, in 1990. We've seen what happened, over the last ten years, we've seen consumer debt double and over the last five years mortgage debt double.

We're approaching a $10 trillion mark of consumer financial liabilities. This is extraordinary given the fact that congressional policy is discouraging us from going into debt, and the fact that the market gave many indebted consumers an opportunity to refinance and to pay off their debt faster. In fact, the opposite has occurred over the last five years.

CAFFERTY: We've got to stop. It's good to have you with us, depressing subject aside. It was illuminating to hear your thoughts on the fact that we're going right down the sink here. Seriously, Robert ...

MANNING: It's a blunt way to put it.

CAFFERTY: Robert Manning, wrote "Credit Card Nation."

As we continue up next, lights, camera, reaction. Woody Allen fired our next guest, actress Annabelle Gurwitch and that gave her an idea. Find out how she turned getting fired into her own small business.

And from people told to take a hike to a guy who is taking a walk. Find out about that in our "Life after Work" segment. Taking a walk.


SERWER: Don't you just hate those glass half full people, the ones who also turn life's lemons into lemonade? Can't we just feel sorry for ourselves when something bad happens like getting fired? Our next guest thinks so, she got canned once and with some help from other victims of the act has a book about the whole terrible experience, it's called "Fired! Tales of the Canned, Cancelled, Downsized and Dismissed."

Author Annabelle Gurwitch joins us now. Ms. Gurwitch is also a contributing writer and commentator on NPR's "Day to Day." Annabelle welcome to the program. Right off the top I want to ask you about your personal experience with Woody Allen. Because it's kind of out there.

ANNABELLE GURWITCH, AUTHOR, "FIRED!": Well, yes. I was actually fired by Woody Allen and I think, you know, when you've been fired by a cultural icon, you know, it can be devastating when the person that you sort of dreamt about working with your whole life says, you look retarded.

SERWER: Didn't you want to say, hey, buck-o; there are some things I can say about you?

GURWITCH: Yes. Well, you know, it can -- it can be a little distressing, but you know, what I found is, is that after I drank a little, crumpled in a heap of complete depression, I found that everybody else in show business had also been fired.

People told me the best, most hilarious and inspiring stories, everything from being fired, from being a teenage mutant ninja turtle to being fired, Patricia Heaton from "Everyone Loves Raymond" fired as a crossing guard, fired once as a hostess in a restaurant, she was so depressed when he was greeting the customers, they had to try to cheer her up.

WESTHOVEN: Annabelle you have such a good attitude about this, and it's in your past, too, right? What do you say to people that are having this happen right you now, you've got the nauseating feeling in the pit of your stomach, how do you get to laughing about it?

GURWITCH: Well you know first of all there is just no getting around it, it hurts to be fired on my way to Atlanta, where I am right now. I was on a plane and the woman next to me told me that both she and her son was just fired. Her son was laid off by Kodak and they laid off 10,000 workers and she was fired, she's a nurse, and because her boss said she reminded him of his mother.

You know the crazy thing is whether you are fired from a downsizing or you are fired because you remind someone of their mother, it still hurts. And I recommend a number of things. You know, I'm not a business expert, but I am in show business, and what I have learned is being in the entertainment industry, you have to become so resilient, and I think everyone in every industry can learn from that. So first when you get fired, it's really important to write a nasty letter to the person who fired you, get it out of your system. Don't mail that letter.


GURWITCH: Whatever you do, don't mail that letter. I think it's important to, if you can, talk about your story. It's very good experience. People have written me so many letters that reading my stories and reading about how other people, successful people have been fired really helped, so I think finding a community I think that really helps.

CAFFERTY: Let me go back to asking you how Woody Allen could tell anyone on this planet that they look retarded? I'm having real trouble getting past that.

GURWITCH: Well, first of all, let me just say, the funny thing is when you work with someone who is a cultural icon, you know, you have their face, their visage, the sound of their voice embedded in your head, and you know, it can be very intimidating. Actually, it was hard for me every day just to say hello to him.

CAFFERTY: A lot of people have that reaction to Woody, I have a feeling.


CAFFERTY: Let me ask about somebody who is friend of mine and a friend of Andy's, Andy Bolich you write about him in the book. What happened to Andy?

GURWITCH: Andy was a writer. Hired as a writer on what he calls -- what the worst show on -- he was the worst writer on the worst show ever on TV "The Facts of Life." Andy's story is so funny, because he was basically fired because he didn't get Tootie, as they said.

WESTHOVEN: I don't either.

SERWER: Right.

GURWITCH: You know, so he's on this show, and, it's just not working out for him. He says, I became a cancer on the "The Facts of Life." the whole time he is there, they keep saying to him Andy, you don't want to be like this guy Paul, this writer who we had to fire, don't be like Paul. The caveat to this story is that Andy does get fired from "The Facts of Life." Of course goes on right then and there to create "Fresh Prince of Bel Air."

It is so much more successful after that experience. But as it turns out this Paul who everyone said was the worst, even worse than Andy, turns on out to be Paul Haggis who ends up winning an academy award for both "Million Dollar Baby" and for "Crash." So you don't want to be like Paul Haggis who gets fired once from the "Facts of Life."

WESTHOVEN: Thank you so much for joining us and hopefully you're kind of light take on this and all these kinds of stories can help people get through a really tough time.

GURWITCH: Oh gosh I hope so. Thanks a lot.

WESTHOVEN: In this weeks "Life after Work" a lot of Americans spend their retirement taking long walks. This man is taking a really long walk, and it's all to make a point about fitness.




WESTHOVEN (voice-over): John Nolan looks like your typical retiree, spending his golden years outside, smelling the roses after 30 years in banking but this is no ordinary walk. John Nolan a walking cross country. JOHN NOLAN, STEPS ACROSS AMERICA: Last fall, in November, I was looking through a local Web site, and there was an advertisement through a national running club for walkers to walk across America. And I read the application and it was extremely interesting, so I filled it out and sent it in.

WESTHOVEN: John is the oldest of 12 people walking across the country to promote physical fitness in a three-month hike, Steps Across America.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ready, set, walk!

WESTHOVEN: The walk is backed by corporate sponsors. John and his teammates set out on the first leg from New York. The finish line? Los Angeles. Each two-person team must walk a leg, up to 20 miles, and hand off to the next pair in the cross-country relay.


WESTHOVEN: So John won't walk the whole way himself. But 20 miles every few days is no walk in the park. So at 65, and happily retired with his wife in South Carolina, the big question is why?

NOLAN: I think this is a great opportunity for me to talk to people in my age group and say, folks, you can still do it. Put on your walking shoes and go out, even if it's around the block. Start somewhere, and I think at my age, there will be a lot of people out there looking up and saying, well, if he can do it, maybe I can try it.


WESTHOVEN: There's more ahead up on IN THE MONEY. Coming up, the job market will feel a little less like a meat market. We'll tell you how to find work on your terms by jazzing up your online resume.

And let us know what you think about the program, drop us an e- mail,


SERWER: Job creation has been on the upswing lately but the opportunities won't exactly fall into your lap. So we've collected some expert tips for looking for work online that should help your resume stand out.


SERWER (voice-over): Still combing through the help-wanted ads? Well it might be a waste of time. A recent study by a Booz Allen Hamilton a consulting firm found that 51 percent of new hires in 2005 were hired through online sources. Good old newspaper classified ads accounted for only five percent. Job board Web sites like and and have developed as an alternative to classified print ads. And many companies have their own extensive recruiting Web sites. MICHAEL WORTHINGTON, RESUMEDOCTOR.COM: Years ago you used to had to print a resume up and put a stamp on and it address the envelope and put some thought into it. Now a days it's really a mouse click away. So what we're seeing is a lot of employers, inboxes being bogged down with literally hundreds of e-mails overnight.

SERWER: With so many resumes out there you have to work harder to make yours stand out. But job experts agree there are simple changes you can make to get noticed. First, when using online job Web sites, don't just post your resume, apply for a position.

WORTHINGTON: One of the biggest mistakes we see a lot of job seekers make is I'm just going to my resume post it up there and expect the phone to ring. Find the job that you meets your requirements, that you have the skills for. Customize the resume to match and then directly send to it the employer.

SERWER: Second, whenever possible, apply for a job directly on a company or organization's Web site. Booz Allen Hamilton study showed that applying for a job directly on corporate Web sites was the most effective way to get hired last year. Twenty one percent of new hires in 2005 applied directly on a company Web site, while only 15 percent were hired from general job posting sites like Monster or Careerbuilder. Also, make sure to customize your resume to the job description.

WORTHINGTON: The job requirements will specify years of experience or level of expertise. And a handful of skills, if those are the key points that the employer is seeking, that's what we got to concentrate on. Create a summary section and literally bullet point that which they are making their decision on. Hand to it the reader on a silver platter and that's what's going to get you into the door.

SERWER: In addition using key words can help your resume get through computer sorting software.

JOHN CHALLENGER, CHALLENGER, GRAY AND CHRISTMAS: Companies are using recruiter software to sort through the thousands of resumes they get every week; they are trying to find the right candidates in that big pile.

SERWER: The computer programs scan through resumes in search of key skills and basic job requirements.

CHALLENGER: The key words that companies use to sort candidates in are often the credentials that are most required by that job.

SERWER: So if a job posting requires a certain license, degree, or skill set, be specific. Also, make sure your resume is computer friendly.

WORTHINGTON: When you're a recruiter getting and looking at literally hundreds of resumes a day, they are not printing them out. So the key to having a more successful resume is making sure it reads easily on a computer screen. SERWER: Worthington recommends that you stay away from fancy formats, templates, columns and textbook boxes and keep it simple. Also, make sure the most important information is within the first one-third of the page. There's no guarantee that a recruiter will read to the bottom. Finally, always network.

CHALLENGER: Why networking is so important to the search, still, even with all this technology, is you get past all the screens when you know someone in the company, and they introduce you to your future boss.


SERWER: And you can get the latest updates on the job market and some more job search tips by going to and clicking on the jobs and the economy link on the home page.

Coming up next, it's all about the money, honey. Find out why so many couples won't file for divorce until they filed their tax returns.

And, it's time to hear from you as we read some of your e-mails from the past week. You can send us an e-mail right now to, we're at


CAFFERTY: Well, filling out the income tax forms for some couples is just half the fun. The other half is filing the divorce papers right after you file the income taxes. Webmaster Allen Wastler has the scoop on why tax time is the kickoff for divorce season. There's a happy little doubleheader. Plus, he takes a look at our "Fun Site of the Week." Mr. Joy.

ALLEN WASTLER, MONEY.COM: I suddenly -- we're getting a lot of evidence that there's a spike in divorces right after tax time.

WESTHOVEN: You're supposed to be getting relief.

CAFFERTY: Well ...

SERWER: You get double relief.


WASTLER: What you get, this is more of a testament that money is at the issue of a lot of arguments in marriages, what you get is a glimpse as to exactly where the family finances are. Honey, that Swiss bank account, are you sure there's for your mother?

So you get a glimpse of what the other partner is doing. More importantly, you get a glimpse into how money is being spent. All right? And, remember, when you file -- when you file jointly and you sign that thing, both of you are responsible for the taxes then.

CAFFERTY: Or liable as the case may be. WASTLER: Right. So if all of a sudden you get a glimpse into your spouse and you are doing what? And I could go to jail for your -- then you get that tension going.

CAFFERTY: It's a big deal.

WASTLER: Another reason might be just a lot of people, let me get the taxes over with, and then I'll get rid of the person and stuff like that. So you got to sort of timing issue there of what do I have time for and moving along like that. But it's interesting that you're seeing the spike in that.

There are other things that have been popping up in tax trends, the rise of the post nup. Apparently this is a new type of arrangement where people are coming out, well, what I want to know is when do you bring that up with your spouse?

CAFFERTY: Never. The answer's never.

WESTHOVEN: During the pre?

WASTLER: Apparently it's a way of way of handling spending and it's on the rise out there. There's a spike in over-60 divorces. Used to be 40 was around the time those people, and now they are seeing more and more people over 60 getting divorce.

And you're getting a new trend in jobs related to actual divorce issues. There's a new job called the parent coordinator, which is someone who, if there's disputed child custody, they'll step in and handle it.

CAFFERTY: Can you imagine anything more unpleasant than negotiating visitation between two people that hate each other, for their little rug rats? Not me.

WASTLER: Mooco moola.

WESTHOVEN: If you were doing it with ...

CAFFERTY: What's the "Fun site of the week?"

WASTLER: Speaking of stepping in between warring parties, what about a referee? We've got a referee that brings a little artistry to his job.

SERWER: I like that one.

WESTHOVEN: I like the when it's set to music.

SERWER: You know, there's something very Jim Carey about this guy.

CAFFERTY: Yes, there is.

SERWER: I really can see him doing this.

CAFFERTY: Not Harry Carey.

SERWER: Well, in the younger days perhaps.

WASTLER: Look at it, he's got such style and panache. How come we can't have that in American umpires?

WESTHOVEN: Oh, god, you could throw things at him.

SERWER: He was very graceful.

WASTLER: He was very graceful.

CAFFERTY: It's time now to read your answers to the question of the week about how the United States should deal with the possible nuclear threat from Iran.

Alvaro wrote, "We should follow the follow the policy that helped us win the Cold War; naturally assured destruction. We should make it clear to the Iranians that if they ever use a nuclear weapon, we will destroy their country. We will nuke first and ask questions later."

Steve from Canada weighed in with this: "We need to ignore Iran's president. I don't believe his country is as close to having nuclear power as he says, let alone nuclear weapons. He is trying to scare the U.S. with empty threats, and he is succeeding."

And Rainado from Miami, Florida wrote, "Just keep sending Iran's president DVD's of the Ben Affeck/Jennifer Lopez movie "Gigli" until he watches it. After that, he'll know we mean business."

I don't think I even understand. Here is or giggling as they call it in the box office. Next weeks email question of the week is this, are you taking on more debt to pay for higher gas prices and other expenses?" Send us your answers to, you should also visit our show page at, which is where you will find the address of our "Fun Site of the Week." Dance along with the soccer referee.

Thank you for joining us for this week's edition of our tidy little program. My thanks to "Headline News" correspondent Jennifer Westhoven, "Fortune" Magazine managing editor large Andy Serwer and managing editor Allen Wastler.

Hope to see you back here next week Saturday at 1:00, Sunday at 3:00. Till the next time enjoy the rest of your weekend.




This story ran on on April 22, 2006.