Overdoing the debt is what scares me too. Possibly cos I was just old enough to recognise what was going on in 1989 when my parents were struggling to pay 17% interest on an investment property they'd bought a couple of years earlier.
I'm in my late 30s. I bought four years ago, LVR only about 60% cos I had significant savings boosted with very significant help from my parents. Could have managed it several years earlier were it not for a failed business venture that cost me a house deposit sized amount of money. I'm on a good income now, but I contract so it could all go away at any time with very little warning and basically no severance package, and I live alone so there's no second income to help out. So I'm ruthlessly stacking every dollar I get into the offset account in case of a rainy day (and to make the most of the low mortgage rates). Currently I've paid off or offset almost 50% of the principal. I've got a decent but not spectacular super fund stashed away - my first job was in the public sector which had a very generous scheme and I put major voluntary contributions in, which compensated for spending probably a couple of years all up unemployed later on.
If my income continues as is (a big question mark) and if interest rates stay as low as they have been (another big question mark) then I could have the mortgage paid off in as little as 5 years, depending on what unexpected expenses come along. Then i'm faced with the 'what now?' question. The house I'm in is not an investment, it's the place I intend to live in until I'm carried out feet first. Is 45ish too old to be taking out a second mortgage for an IP? Will i even be able to afford an IP then if prices keep increasing (quick answer - no). And it's anyone's guess what super rules will be by then.
You could certainly argue that I should be taking a measured risk and borrowing to invest in property now. I could negative gear. My current place has skyrocketed in value since I bought it so could be used as collateral quite easily, and I've got a deposit sitting in the offset account if i wanted to use it. I'm just too ■■■■ paranoid about the indebtedness and the unreliability of my income stream though.
The people who take out 90%+ LVR loans they can only just afford the repayments on, and simply bet that rates never increase or that their wages outpace rates absolutely boggle my mind. I'd be staying up all night every night doing repayment curves in my head and stressing myself barmy if i was in that boat.