Don't Put Limits On Your Life

True story. For years, Jason assumed he wouldn't qualify for credit. He even felt obliged to register utility bills under his girlfriend's name. Why? Because years ago, he had defaulted on a large student loan. And he was getting collection calls on a regular basis.

Actually, Jason had a good record of paying day-to-day bills, but his low income made it hard to keep up with the defaulted student loan.

Finally, he applied to see his credit record. With surprise - and great relief - he saw that his defaulted student loan was not on his record.

That gave him the confidence to live a normal financial life, putting bills under his own name and using (with caution) a single credit card.

Of course, just because a debt doesn't show on your credit report doesn't mean you can ignore it. Jason knew that the government and its collection agency were determined to get their money back along with a huge whack of interest charges. Eventually he was able to negotiate a deal on the defaulted loan, but that's a different story.

The point here is just don't limit yourself by assuming the worst. Older defaulted student loans may not show on your credit record.  Jason's loan, for example, was 12 years old.

Check out your own credit record. You may or may not find yourself as lucky as Jason, but at least you'll know what's out there.