It isn't just our domestic debt problems that can hurt your retirement portfolio. The ongoing debt crisis faced by European and Mediterranean nations will likely remain a drag on our stock market here at home, creating volatility, uncertainty, market drops and even, potentially, the threat of recession. The antidote is to reduce risk and head for "safe investments" such as bonds and cash. That strategy, however, offers a Catch-22: You reduce risk at the cost of forgoing upward returns, mired instead with the low rewards of inadequate yields. Cash will offer safety, but leave you with dead money.