An anonymous reader is worried about her family’s poor credit history:

How will my family’s credit history affect my own? My family has an awful credit history.

My father was once a very successful business man and sold his company years ago for a hefty sum. Not long after this, my parents divorced and my father got in a very nasty accident. He was in hospital for a year receiving treatment and surgery and has only recently been discharged. He’s had to claim bankruptcy and has no assets to speak of. The house is now paid for partly by benefits as he can no longer work.

I am a financially conscious recent university graduate. I have a decent wage at a job I enjoy, pay into a pension fund, have no serious debts to speak of and have a cash ISA with around £1,500 contributions going in annually. I am 22.

However, in order for my mother to live in a house, she needed me to go down on a mortgage with her as at her age she could not get a mortgage. Of course I agreed as family is infinitely more important to me than money. However, I do wonder what I can do to prevent future financial horrors. Do my parents’ credit histories affect my own?

Do any of you have experience with similar situations? I suspect that another person’s credit history cannot affect yours unless, as the author indicates, you are a co-signer on a loan (or credit card). How many of you have been a co-signer before? Was the experience a positive one or a negative one? How did you mitigate the risk?