Prepaying loan on second home pays off

Rate of return often greater than on savings accounts, stocks

Big-ticket items have been relegated to the back burner for now. The reduce-your-debt environment continues — just ask the major home-improvement contractors who have taken on more and more jobs.

Consumers clearly are pulling in the financial reins. One of the reasons Congress has passed a stimulus package is to get Americans to loosen their grip, spend more cash and begin to turn the economy around.