Some new members are joining the mortgage foreclosure club, according to research firm First American CoreLogic and The New York Times. Mortgage defaults on million dollar plus homes far exceed those on other properties -- more than one in seven in fact! Unlike those with cheaper digs, who cannot save their homes due to unemployment or other financial emergencies, the wealthy appear to be letting their homes go purposely. CoreLogic's senior analyst Sam Khater explains: "Those with high net worth have other resources to lean on if they get in trouble," said Mr. Khater, the analyst. "If they’re going delinquent faster than anyone else, that tells me they are doing so willingly."

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Others say that the defaulters are not truly "wealthy," because wealthy folks pay cash for their expensive homes. Rather, they are people who have high mortgage balances, who probably borrowed more than they could afford. This jibes with the pre-recession climate in which many folks sought to appear richer than they were. Overspending was rampant, and spending on housing was no exception. This poisonous atmosphere created the perfect climate to sell mortgages in which the borrower could choose to pay as little as 1%, stretching their housing dollars liek never before -- until the loans reset and they could no longer sustain the illusion.

What should this tell us regular folks? That being richer (or appearing to be so) won't win you true friends or respect but can get you into big financial trouble. Which can get you plenty of disrespect. That buying within your means is the right thing to do, whether you use a bad credit mortgage, an FHA loan, or a prime loan. That just because a lender says you can get approved for a loan doesn't mean you should accept it without thinking. You know what your comfort zone is -- stay within it.

How can you keep from over-reaching when buying a home? It's actually not hard. First, look at your current housing expense. Do you meet it comfortably each month? Or is it a stretch? If you think that you can safely pay more, try it out for six months or so. Take the difference between your current expense and what you think you can pay and put it in a savings account. You'll be glad to have the extra down payment or emergency savings later, and you can see if the added expense is doable for you. Lastly, try a home ownership class. You'll learn how to put away money for maintenance and repair of your home, about home warranties, and how to make a smart home purchase.

With a little effort and discipline, you can avoid the mortgage credit problems of the "rich.: