Very few people can live completely without credit nowadays. Even fanatical adherents to the ‘Neither a borrower nor a lender be’ philosophy (note for anoraks: this comes from a father ’s advice to his son in Shakespeare’s Hamlet; and the next line is ‘For loan oft loses both itself and friend’) probably have mortgages on their homes. A mortgage is probably the biggest debt you will ever incur; but it doesn’t pose any threat as long as you keep up the payments.