Your Money Or Your Life
To Mom and Dad, Kathleen and Patrick Cavuto. You‘ve left this world, but to this day you
remain the guiding force in my world.
1 Your Money, but Not Your Whole Life 7 2 Fighting Terror 23
3 The Iraq War 31
4 Foreigners! 47
5 Honor, Duty, Country...Gratitude 63 6 71
7 Taking on Taxes 81
8 Deficits 101
9 Greenspan or Green-spin? 109 10 Bosses 119
11 Responsibilities 131
12 What About Bill? Pondering the Man from Arkansas 141
13 Taking Issues...With the Day 149 14 Advice 159
15 Right to Life 179
16 Rants! 185
17 Being Upbeat! 193
18 Being Right 203
19 Being Wrong 217
20 On Death and Dying 227
21 ... And Depth 253
1 YOUR MONEY, BUT NOT YOUR WHOLE LIFE
Index 277 -About the Author -Other Books by Neil Cavuto -Credits -Cover-Copyright
investing folks, but everyday folks, with INTRODUCTION
everyday concerns. That means I‘m talking to some time back a friend of mine wanted
regular folks, not preaching to them. Over the to know how it was possible that I had the quarter century I‘ve been doing this—first in number one–rated daily business show on
print, then in broadcasting, then in print and cable television. ―I think I know,‖ he said. ―It‘s broadcasting—I‘m amazed at how many because you‘re so weird.‖
people seem to believe that if it‘s about Wall He meant that in jest. But it resonated Street, it‘s not about Main Street. with me, because I think he was right. I am
I think it‘s the other way around. Wall weird, and my show is weirder still. I don‘t Street is Main Street. It‘s why I don‘t have a problem with weird. I like weird. I like distinguish between them, and it‘s why I don‘t weird chief executives, weird politicians, and forget on which side my bread is buttered. The weird moments in life. Ithink weirdness
folks holding that butter knife aren‘t who you defines us, and that the best among us often think they are. They ‘re who we are.I‘m not are a little more unusual than the rest of us. saying I single-handedly democratized That‘s why I try not to distinguish between business news, but I think I have helped make business news and general news. To me, the it more mainstream. And trust me, that‘s not two are the same. Why distinguish and
because I‘m a genius, but precisely because compartmentalize as if one side of the brain I‘m not. I always tell people I was never the goes in one editorial direction and the other smartest kid in my class, but I knew the right side in another direction?
questions to ask. I work by an old rule of I don‘t. I don‘t think most people do,
thumb a dear editor friend of mine from years either. Just think of how business journalists back hammered into my head: ―If you can‘t limit themselves when they see the world
explain it to your mom, don‘t waste your time through a business-only prism. They almost telling it to America.‖ My boss and the invite the rest of the world to tune out. It‘s chairman and chief executive of Fox News why I say, without a moment‘s hesitation, that Channel, Roger Ailes, had another take: I value ratings. I really value the fact that a lot ― When you‘ve lost your audience, you‘ve lost of folks watch me—not just rich folks, or
2 YOUR MONEY, BUT NOT YOUR WHOLE LIFE
your show.‖ issues that don‘t seem very big at all, such as
He was right then. He‘s right now, the plight of a harried cashier at because about now people are hungering for Christmastime who gives her all to her context and meaning in the money they make, customers, or a snippy receptionist who does the place they make it, and ultimately the not.
places they spend it. That‘s what my show is When I started doing these little about each weekday, and what our powerful comments at the end of my show, way back in bloc of business programs on Fox are about on my days at CNBC, they got curious reactions. weekends. Some viewers thought them novel, others
Not only do we dare touch on issues reprehensible. But the reaction grew. And, as others avoid, we find fascinating angles on the availability of e-mail grew, so did the sheer issues others miss. I often tell viewers this is number of responses. Today I get thousands of where ―the spreadsheet hits the fan.‖ I want to e-mails each day on issues that are hot, and give viewers more—more meaning, more even on some that are decidedly not. Viewers hope, and more depth. It‘s why, soon after don‘t seem to discriminate. They relish the 9/11, I focused not on the obvious loss of tidbits on the retired CEO who misses the financial capital that day, but the very real, good life, or the friendly doorman just trying still undefined loss of human capital our to provide good service. Some cry. Some economy suffered on that day. Real people laugh. Still others scream. But rarely is the don‘t constantly spout statistics. Why should response lukewarm. They say in television that I? you want to generate heat. I want to generate
It‘s why I try to keep such nonsense to a thought, and do it with heat. There is a minimum. I‘ll admit it‘s not always easy, but difference. One assumes that you merely it‘s always my goal.That‘s why I do something entertain; the other appreciates the fact that special in my show: I editorialize. Only at the you can inform and entertain.
end, and only over an issue that matters that To me, these reactions prove that certain day, that moves me that day, and that I trust issues resonate. I don‘t need people to agree will move others as well. Sometimes they ‘re with me—just to come along and think with big issues, such as 9/11. Sometimes they ‘re me. Whether it‘s about being rich or dying
3 YOUR MONEY, BUT NOT YOUR WHOLE LIFE
young, about the powerful guy who lost it all life that you might not have . . . so that you or the little investor who won it all, I think I appreciate the little things, the unusual things, just try to strike a chord, for good or ill (which and yes, the weird things.
is why I also feature blistering and Those are the things I notice. And those complimentary e-mails alike on the prior day‘s are the things I highlight in this book—a look
comments). I want to engage viewers. Let the back at nearly a decade‘s worth of ref lection debate begin. Let the thinking continue. One on everything from Bill Clinton‘s scandals to friendly viewer expressed concern that his successor ‘s war. In its pages I cover the
allowing damning e-mails from ―crazies‖ on gamut, of careers made and careers lost, of the show wasn‘t the stuff of highbrow fortunes scored and fortunes gone. I look back anchordom. I agreed then; I agree now. But I and remember the things I was lucky enough didn‘t care then, and I don‘t care now. Look, to get right—like warning about something with my slightly chunky, big-headed called an Internet bub-ble—to the things I got
appearance, I don‘t seem like someone who wrong, like AOL and Time Warner coming stepped out of anchor central casting. So why together in a ―stunning‖ merger that was should I act like I did? It‘d be an act, and bound for greatness.
viewers would see through it quicker than I
make my way through a Ponderosa dessert INTRODUCTION
bar! I disliked the people others liked,
I am weird. But as I wrote in my last including Alan Greenspan, and liked the book, More Than Money, that‘s the way I am. people others disliked, including Al Dunlap. I Because I‘ve survived cancer and am currently was late to some parties, early to others, but I battling multiple sclerosis, I‘ve learned to be put it all out there, warts and all, and let the philosophical about life‘s gives and takes. I world know that day how I felt.
don‘t say that to win your sympathy, but to These are quick snapshots on days where give you an understanding of my thinking. the image paled almost as soon as the shutter Illnesses can whack you out, but they needn‘t was released. Some issues made me mad, freak you out. Sometimes they can force you others made me cry, still others made me howl, to think, not about the life you have, but the but all made me think. It‘s up to you now to
4 YOUR MONEY, BUT NOT YOUR WHOLE LIFE
decide whether, in the end, any of these made intertwined. Every-thing‘s connected: Our
a difference. I hope, gamely, that they did, and lives. Our money. Our...everything. that now, for you, they do. That‘s why I always remind my staff that
we should never forget the value of life, first,
and doing something with it, second. It‘s why CHAPTER 1
I like to put things in perspective. I‘ve never
“YOUR MONEY, BUT NOT
hidden the fact that I‘ve dealt with illness in
YOUR WHOLE LIFE” my life—first cancer, now multiple sclerosis.
One of the issues I wrestle with every day I‘m no stranger to the ravages of illness; many in my profession is money versus life. What in my family succumbed years ahead of their does money matter if you‘re sick, or even time. Sadly, such things have shaped me and worse, dead? What does all the wealth in the made me—as a man and as a journalist. world matter if you have no one with whom to They‘re why I can be such a sentimental share it? One of my biggest challenges in moosh. I am moved easily. I cry even more doing my job is figuring out how to handle the easily. Such are not the qualities you‘d expect show on those days when something horrible in a tough, seasoned journalist, but I argue to has happened before my hour. It could be a the contrary. They have helped make me a plane crash, terrorist act, a kidnapping—you better journalist, more willing to think outside name it. the box—perhaps because I know that, in the
Suddenly, in those moments, a show that end, we‘ll all end up in a box.
talks about money seems to matter less, and That sounds strange, I know, and I don‘t the potential for appearing callous and mean to come off as grim or glum—just as a
indifferent bothers me more. That‘s why I guy who sees life as a fleeting, wonderful argue to my bosses at Fox that mine is the opportunity, to be savored and enjoyed. But toughest job at Fox—keeping loyal news most important, to be put in perspective. It‘s viewers loyal to a business product as well. why some in my business have called me the It‘s a tough juggling act, but I try to keep it antibusiness reporter. They‘re partly right. I‘m simple. For me, it‘s not about the money, not just about numbers and figures. I‘m not
Stupid. It‘s about life, Stupid. Everything‘s married to earnings and acronyms. I am
5 YOUR MONEY, BUT NOT YOUR WHOLE LIFE
married to life and to everyday and evil that day.
lessons—things that don‘t change like profit Some say it‘s not a business journalist‘s reports but from which we can all profit job to blather on about such issues. I disagreed immensely. then. I disagree now. After all, from my days
Nowhere and at no time in my career back at CNBC more than a decade ago, I had have these two issues—money and no problem putting my emotion into my work life—collided as they did on September 11, then. I have had no problem putting my heart 2001. The sheer enormity of the disaster into the stories, particularly tragic stories like defined generations and seared our conscience 9/11, since. One could argue that anchors must in a way that few events ever had. Ostensibly be passive, even emotionless, observers. By my job as a business reporter was to give the that definition, I guess I do not measure up. financial take on this disaster. But in covering this story, from its sad first
Clearly, the site of the New York moments, to the legions of funerals and attack—but a stone‘s throw from the center of eulogies and tragic anniversaries that would capitalism itself—was no accident. The World follow, I‘d cover it somewhat differently—not
Trade Center embodied that capitalism; indeed, as a television anchor, but as something more: it housed many of its most prominent players. a human being.
But I couldn‘t look at this as just a After the Terror—Searching, Hoping
financial event. I had interviewed too many of September 18, 2001 Finally, this hour, a small the very people who died that day, some of perspective on a huge event. A few little things whom had been on my show just days earlier. that may help make sense of this big national No, this was more than simply a loss of pain. So many of you have shared so many financial capital. This was an enormous loss of wonderful stories that speak volumes on the human capital. I wanted that to be the story, American spirit. Like Sally Anne Novak from and my message was to tell that story, again Greensburg, Pennsylvania, who tells me of and again—the cruelty of it, the barbarity of it, taking her mom out to lunch just to, as she the senselessness of it. I was sure then we says, ―Get away from the television for a would recover from that tragic day, but I while.‖ She mentioned the two policemen wanted to remind all that this was about good eating lunch behind her at the restaurant, and