According to the 2004 Retirement Confidence Survey, Americans are too confident they'll have the kind of retirement they want. Those surveyed felt they could work beyond the normal retirement age and then skate into their golden years without changing their lifestyle very much. However, about 33% of workers over age 55 say they have less than $25,000 in savings (not including their home). About 25% of the same age group say they have at least $100,000.

If you haven't begun saving for retirement, make that commitment today. Your compounded returns over time will be the most important factor in achieving your goals. In fact, you still have a week to contribute to your IRA for 2003.

In today's Motley Fool Take:

Nokia's Hard Knock

By Alyce Lomax (TMF Lomax)

Handset maker Nokia(NYSE: NOK) gave investors an unpleasant surprise today when it lowered its profit forecast. Even though everyone (and their grandmother) is snapping up new cell phones these days, Nokia somehow missed the boat by not offering handsets at the attractive mid-price level.

Nokia said its first-quarter sales will be just shy of $8 billion, a 2% decrease from the same quarter a year ago. And since Nokia missed opportunities in the mid-price range in the U.S. and Europe, traditionally two strong markets, it allowed rivals such as Motorola(NYSE: MOT) and Ericsson(Nasdaq: ERICY) to pick up the slack and swipe customers.

Much has been made of the popularity of fancier cell phones recently. Improving consumer confidence results in people eyeing their antiquated ones and mulling over new models. Number portability has given people an added incentive to upgrade their cell phones and maybe even spring for new, fancy models with neat-o features. Those that integrate digital cameras are gaining in popularity.

What was Nokia thinking? If consumers, especially here in the U.S., are breaking free from their tight budgets after a long period of economic uncertainty, it stands to reason that they're not quite ready for the top of the line and want a phone with exciting features but won't break the bank. And apparently, that's what rivals had that Nokia didn't have.

As much as Nokia's news stinks, it does bear some resemblance to Motorola's situation several months ago, when the latter reported disappointing handset sales after it delayed shipment of some long-awaited models and thus missed the crucial holiday shopping season.

Nokia shares were down 18% in recent trading as investors made their displeasure known. They also dragged down shares of competitors and tech stocks at large. However, despite the panicky feeling Nokia's warning brings, the response across the tech industry seems overblown. In this case, it's poor execution, not that consumers have suddenly lost interest in newfangled gadgets.

According to Nokia, it continues to achieve profitability, although it also said in its conference call (transcript courtesy of CCBN StreetEvents) that the reorganization of its handset division has "slightly slowed" its "reaction and operational effectiveness." That's an element to watch.

It may not be the end of the world, but it's a warning sign nonetheless. Nokia said it has 40 new products on the way, with the first half of the year remaining "difficult." Investors need to watch carefully to make sure it returns to the right track later this year. However, given the recent appetite for fancy new phones and the post-holiday buying season, investors have real reason for disappointment.

Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any companies mentioned.

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Go ogle, Yahoo! Duel

By Tim Beyers

Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO) and privately held Google once again traded blows on Monday, but it appears this time that Yahoo! won the round, thanks in large part to its recently acquired Overture Services unit.

Time Warner's (NYSE: TWX), Disney's(NYSE: DIS), and Dow Jones'(NYSE: DJ) The Wall Street Journal Online all inked deals with Overture to supply sponsored ads that appear in search results or beside related news stories. went even further, agreeing to use Yahoo!'s Web search technology and replace Google. The news comes during a big week for Yahoo!, which on Wednesday reports first-quarter earnings.

For its part, Google says it will replace BellSouth's(NYSE: BLS) home-grown site search technology with its own. The deal is the latest in a string of wins for Google with Internet service providers (ISPs), including America Online, and could open more doors.

If anything, the various announcements demonstrate that Yahoo! and Google are increasingly stepping on each other's toes. And it's no wonder. Overture pioneered pay-per-click searches, which have become a big business expected to generate as much as $4 billion annually by 2005, according to published reports. Google and others, likeAsk Jeeves(Nasdaq: ASKJ), want a piece of the action.

Similarly, Google is the heavy in powering searches of corporate websites, with 130 business customers. A search of its 2003 10-K reveals no such numbers for Yahoo!, but the CNN deal demonstrates that the relationship with Overture gives it a fighting chance in corporate search. Citigroup's(NYSE: C) Salomon Smith Barney estimates powering business site searches will be a $2.6 billion market this year and could grow at 20% annually through 2008.

What does it all mean for investors? Nothing yet. This is a competition worth watching for its entertainment value. Over time, the various parries in the news may give clues as to who will dominate the market. You might try playing press release bingo with each company's announcements to get an early indicator. (Write me if you do.)

But don't expect to see investing opportunities soon. As Fools know, long-term gains in the market are rarely fueled by hype.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers thinks Google rocks for Web research, but he depends on Yahoo! Finance. He owns no stake in either company, or any of the firms mentioned in this story. You can view his Fool profile here .

Qu ote of Note

"Make money your god and it will plague you like the devil." -- Henry Fielding

Di sney's Last Dud?

By Rick Aristotle Munarriz (TMF Edible)

Think ink or stink ink? Disney's(NYSE: DIS) latest animated feature film, Home on the Range, is off to a lousy start. The company that pioneered full-length animation saw its latest generate just $14 million at the box office over its opening weekend. To put that in dud perspective, that's not much more than the $12.1 million Treasure Planet mustered in its 2002 debut on the way to producing a pathetic $38.2 million domestic total.

Remember when Disney's golden animated features drew huge crowds and rave reviews? This latest entry didn't even contend for a medal this weekend, coming in fourth against more popular releases by rivals Sony(NYSE: SNE), MGM(NYSE: MGM), and Time Warner(NYSE: TWX).

This may be Disney's last stand in hand-drawn animation. After watching Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation Pixar(Nasdaq: PIXR) hit it out of the ballpark with computer-rendered enhancements, Disney has been slowly dismantling its animation division and partnering with upstart computer animation specialists in hopes of landing the next Pixar.

But that could be a huge mistake. Blaming the medium instead of the messenger is akin to blaming your tailor because you gained a few pounds. You simply can't make a blanket statement that hand-drawn animation is dead and that computerized renderings are the way of the future.

Ten years ago, Disney released The Return of Jafar direct to video. The company bragged that it was more profitable than its blockbuster live action flick, Pretty Woman. I would argue that it has proven far more costly. Realizing that folks were willing to buy an inferior Aladdin sequel, Disney went on to milk its classics with hollow, cut-rate follow-ups. It diluted the perceived quality of the originals by stuffing the distribution channels for the sake of churn.

Would Finding Nemo have bombed if it were hand-drawn? I doubt it. Would Home on the Range have been a box-office blockbuster if the barnyard critters were dolled up on high-end Silicon Graphics(NYSE: SGI) machines? Nope.

There are plenty of computer-animated television shows out there, but the favorites are hand-drawn, like SpongeBob and Rugrats. It's not the format. It's not pixels versus inkblots. It's the story. In the end, Disney's franchise and the animation medium may have been sullied and diluted, but like its own classics, it was by the stroke of Disney's own hand.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz owns shares in Disney and Pixar. He's not bad, he's just overdrawn that way.

Di scussion Board of the Day: Disney

Did you see Home on the Range? Do you think that hand-drawn animation has become obsolete? What will the company do once Pixar goes away come 2006? All this and more -- in the Disney discussion board. Only on

Mo re on Today

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