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The Other Shoe
CNBC.com | March 16, 2012 | 02:44 PM EDT

Better times yes, but debt remains a big issue for the American consumer and the U.S. economy. Though Americans have made progress in reducing heavy debt load, more hard work clearly lies ahead. According to a 2012 report by McKinsey , household debt has fallen by $584 billion — or 15 percentage points relative to disposable income — since the financial crisis, but two-thirds of that was the result of defaults on home loans and other consumer debt.

Moreover, the latest consumer credit data showed a larger-than-expected increase in credit card debt in January, but an overall decline in credit card use.

So, when it came time to produce our annual Investor Spring Cleaning special report, debt seemed fertile ground. Spring, normally a time of rebirth, optimism and consumer spending, may dawn a bit frosty and tentative again this year.

From your portfolio to your wallet, you'll find tips on how to make and preserve money.

If you're worried about inflation or retirement, check out our stories on investing in TIPs or converting part of your 401(k) into an annuity.

If debt has you down, learn how rebuild your balance sheet, take advantage of your bank's offer to refinance and avoid inheriting a loved one's debt.

And tell us what worries you the most.

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