*According to Black Knight, the typical American household would now have to spend 31% of their monthly income to make a mortgage payment on the average-priced U.S. home, up from 29% just one week earlier, and up from 24% in December. Black Knight's mortgage-payment-to-income ratio—which averaged 19.9% during the 2010s decade—hasn’t topped 31% since September 2007. (Fortune)

* As of the 4th quarter of 2021, only 3.8% of U.S. disposable personal income was going towards mortgage debt payments. At the height of the 2000s housing bubble, that figure was nearly double at 7.2%.  The shady lending practices of the aughts were regulated out of the market by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act. If a storm does come, most homeowners, in theory, should be better positioned to ride it out.

A Little Bit Of Fear:
There may be nothing more powerful in preventing irrational, out-of-control exuberance and arrogance than ....fear. Yes, a wee bit of good old fear has the ability to suppress and contain another good old fashioned human trait....greed.

Being optimistic and positive is always best. Fearing the worst throughout your life is damaging and counter-productive. As a child of parents who lived through wars, I grew up in a home composed of anxieties about what awful things might happen next....while this was not very enjoyable at times, it was to be expected. Anyone who has lived through food rationing, bomb shelters, holocausts, runaway inflation, etc, should fear that these things can repeat themselves. However, I've found spending most of our time fueled by optimism allows us to find solutions easier and quicker, breathe, be healthier and happier. Bad things can and will happen in varying degrees of severity, but usually they happen only around 10% of the time. Often they are far less severe than retrospect. The rear view mirror experience should serve as the best reminder for future fears.....and how to navigate the events that cause them.

A little bit of fear though is GREAT in my humble opinion. Whenever we are compelled to plan for future potential downside, we have the ability to be even smarter and even more resourceful. It forces us to THINK. It forces us to read, ask tougher questions, learn, and then act with a bit more wisdom. Maybe with a bit more of a conservative approach. 

Almost every top agent - and CEO - I know starts the new year with a minor (or major) panic about their prospects for matching - or beating - their past years's successes. In these moments of anxiety/fear lie the fuel for greater intelligence and resourcefulness. This is to be embraced. Unfortunately some of us can drown in this too. We must learn to live with our fears and anxieties, and not attempt to eliminate them completely. They are very real, human emotions that if managed well can act as the ultimate insurance policy for future success, growth, preservation and protection.

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