Granada Hills family struggles to maintain middle-class lifestyle

Full story: LA Daily News 46
As middle-class Americans, Kim Shekerlian and Stan Monterrosa have led the good life since getting married in 2003. Full Story
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“America & LEGAL Americans 1st”

Since: Aug 08


#1 Oct 5, 2008
I've said it in a post to a previous article. I don't have any sympathy for people who have gotten themselves into financial trouble, I've had my own and have gotten out of it.

If you can't afford your home, if you signed on the dotted line for one of those "creative" mortgages, sell your home. If you are under water that's the way it goes. No one forced the pen into your hand to sign the loan docs.

If you have a ton of credit card debt, I don't feel sorry for you. No one forced you to make those charges or take out those cash advances.

If you can't afford to send your child to that expensive preschool, oh well. Sorry your hopes and dreams are being crushed, mine have been too.

But once again this is all about PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY. If you can't pay cash for it, you shouldn't buy it.

Have you all seen and heard all the "we can help you settle your CC debt for pennies on the dollar" commercials lately? Sure you have and sure you can. To the detriment of your credit rating. Cut your losses where you can. Pay off your debt. What's wrong with brown bagging it? Maybe its time to trade in that SUV you are so proud of for a late model Ford Focus?

Nadia Lizarraga

Pacoima, CA

#2 Oct 5, 2008
It is hard to get by these days. Just when you think your ahead, your not. I keep on trying just like Kim and Stan.

“America & LEGAL Americans 1st”

Since: Aug 08


#3 Oct 5, 2008
Nadia Lizarraga wrote:
It is hard to get by these days. Just when you think your ahead, your not. I keep on trying just like Kim and Stan.
That's all any of us can do right now. The best thing to do is to cut out what little extras you can, pay down your highest percentage debt first (that's the one that will grow the most if left unattended) and look for opportunities to succeed. Don't try to hit a home run. Good defense and base hits are the best way to get out of it. Chip away the stone.

San Marcos, CA

#4 Oct 5, 2008
Ha! Not me...thanks DWP for that pay raise! I'm farting through silk! Wooo Hoo!!!! Yipppeeeeee!!!!

Alhambra, CA

#5 Oct 5, 2008
Wow must be nice to rake up 25000.00 on a credit card. Maybe they should not have bought stuff they couldnt afford. Stop the BWM and pay your debt I have to. Im suprised they didnt blame their debt on Bush.
Just My Opinion

Costa Mesa, CA

#6 Oct 5, 2008
We all know that the interest on credit cards are pimping those of us who use them. This credit situation was created so you have to use credit. Society as a whole created the use of credit not consumers. If interest rate was to drop and all those late, overlimit fee were rid of; then folks would be able to pay their bills. Yes, I agree personal responsibility, but lets face facts- it was designed to have us in web.
responsible saver

Los Angeles, CA

#7 Oct 5, 2008
You want MY sympathy? First, restore my 401(k) to where it was before you idiotic borrowers plunged into this ludicrous debacle. Didn't anyone ever show you how the simple functions on a calculator work?

Sylmar, CA

#8 Oct 5, 2008
Folks, have you read "The Creature from Jeckyl Island"? That's the reason we have these boom and busts. The money supply/markets are manipulated by the Federal Reserve Bank/London, NY money changers. We need a solid dollar! Blame the REAL REASON!

Los Angeles, CA

#9 Oct 5, 2008
Just My Opinion wrote:
We all know that the interest on credit cards are pimping those of us who use them. This credit situation was created so you have to use credit. Society as a whole created the use of credit not consumers. If interest rate was to drop and all those late, overlimit fee were rid of; then folks would be able to pay their bills. Yes, I agree personal responsibility, but lets face facts- it was designed to have us in web.
You and others like you have no self-control. Don't blame others for your irresponsibility.

Pasadena, CA

#10 Oct 5, 2008
AFTER you google SOCIALISM and SAUL ALINSKY read this.....

BTW- Michelle Obama quoted Saul Alinksy's prologue and Chapter 2 as BHO's word in her speech at the DNC. Isn't that steeling? Honest my ___!And here's where BHO's tax plan will get all of us..........

Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten
> comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it
> would go something like this:
> The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
> The fifth would pay $1.
> The sixth would pay $3.
> The seventh would pay $7.
> The eighth would pay $12.
> The ninth would pay $18.
> The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.
> So, that's what they decided to do. The ten men drank in the bar every
> day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner
> threw them a curve.'Since you are all such good customers, hen said,'I'm
> going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20. Drinks for the ten now cost
> just $80.
> The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes so the
> first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free. But
> what about the other six men - the paying custom ers? How could they divide the $20
> windfall so that everyone would get his 'fair share?' They realized that
> $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody's
> share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink
> his beer. So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each
> man's bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the
> amounts each should pay.!
> And so:
> The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings).
> The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33%savings).
> The seventh now pay $5 instead of $7 (28%savings).
> The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings).
> The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).
> The tenth now paid $ 49 instead of $59 (16% savings).
> Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued
> to drink for free. But once outside the restaurant, the men began to
> compare their savings.
> 'I only got a dollar out of the $20,'declared the sixth man. He pointed
> to the tenth man,' but he got $10!'
> 'Yeah, that's right,' exclaimed the fifth man.'I only saved a dollar,
> too. It's unfair that he got ten times more than I!'
> 'That's true!!' shouted the seventh man.'Why should he get $10 back
> when I got only two? The wealthy get all the breaks!'
> 'Wait a minute,' yelled the first four men in unison.'We didn't get
> anything at all. The system exploits the poor!'
> The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.
> The next night the tenth man didn't show up for drinks, so the nine sat
> down and had beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they
> discovered something important. They didn't have enough money between
> all of them for even half of the bill!
> And that, boys and girls, journalists and college professors, is how our
> tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit
> from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and
> they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start drinking
> overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.
> David R. Kamerschen, Ph.D.
> Professor of Economics, University of Georgia
skeptical taxpayer

Los Angeles, CA

#11 Oct 5, 2008
This couple is in their late 20's, and when they married 5 years ago were very young. Neither is a well-paid professional, the wife is a legal assistant. Yet they bought a second home in Florida just because some relatives thought it was a good idea. Good, independent thinking.

The wife commuters 2 hours to work to Century City -- contributing to our smog and gridlock, while running up high gas and car bills for herself.(Good they've paid off their cars and aren't leasing, at least.) But this paper and her electeds like Antonovich and Knabe fight the "subway to the sea" which includes a Century City stop (as well as downtown and Santa Monica and mid-Wilshire and Beverly Hills/ Hollywood -- other key job magnets) because they would "subsidize the rich on the westside." Maybe she should lobby for mass transit and get her neanderthal representatives to change their minds.

As a westsider, I'm sick of my streets being clogged because people like this drive their large, single-occupancy cars to our streets -- not to pick on her alone, because in my Westwood highrise, some 85% of workers do the same.

This couple created their own problems with the choices they've made. Really struggling in a way to garner sympathy is someone who's made better choices, is trying to put their kids through school, dealing with gang-and illegals dominated poor inner city schools on the westside, because they can't afford private or parochial schools, while they're barely able to pay the mortgage on a small westside home. Or who have to rent because they didn't take out a balloon payment or buy a second home instead of paroachial/ private schools for this kids.

Maybe this couple can move into one of the City's new proposed "mixed income" projects if they can stand to give up the fantasy that "middle class" means owning two homes with two cars while dining out and planning on private schools, on modest incomes.

Irvine, CA

#13 Oct 5, 2008
These folks are clueless in attempting to live a middle class lifestyle. They are in fact more of "upper lower class" in economic terms. Obviously they have no savings account and have no clue regarding investments, of which most young couples are unable to afford. A condo in Florida? Probably bought one sight unseens on the advice of a relative who probably wanted to unload a dog. Sophisticated this couple is not. They are just one of tens of thousands of couple who fancy themselves "middle class" yet have the mindset of spend. spend. spend and keep up with the "Joneses". I bet one of their cars is a BMW. Within a year, this couple will be homeless or at best living in an apartment. You can't make it in Granada Hills on $60K per year unless someone else has paid for your home. Time for them to face facts and downsize into something they can afford, perhaps give up one car, for now anyway.

Riverside, CA

#14 Oct 5, 2008
Some of you seem a bit out of touch. Where can you rent in LA for a family of 3 for $1800 and have a tax deduction. While they could be doing better, the idea about driving to the Westside is off base. Hardly anyone who works on the westside can really afford to live there as well. I grew up in Mar Vista and my parents paid $35,000 for our home. I could not afford to buy there, so I moved to the valley. I now live 10 miles from where I grew up. That is not so far except in LA terms. I do agree, pack your lunch and curb your shopping and some of the problems would be easier, but come on, in our new economy we are all going to have to tighten our purse strings. Don't be so quick to judge, you could be next!

United States

#15 Oct 5, 2008
Sounds to me like our friends "Kim & Stan" will be migrating to Palmdale soon. Anyone have a 1 bedroom apartment for rent in the Antelope Valley? Any openings at Taco Bell?

Thousand Oaks, CA

#16 Oct 5, 2008
They will deffinitely NOT get to everything eventually unless they make some major changes in their spending life style. They've made very bad choices (because it was easy & never felt the need not to satisfy their whims)....copy-cat-generation. .."gotta have."
That's not a "starter-home"...aga in...again...."I deserve the'll work for me." Foolish.
It scares me to think I may pay a penny more in taxes to help these (& their "won't go without generation" folks). Suck it up & cut corners drastically & pay your own foolish debts.

Anaheim, CA

#17 Oct 5, 2008
Kim and Stan are doing teir best. The house they live in was bought by her grandfather in 1958 brand new. I have known Kim since 1994. She was 13 at the time. Since then I wached her grow up into a responsable young lady. She went to school,worked and took care of her father who was a diabetic and was in and out of the hospitle. In 2001 her father passed on and Kim bought out her uncles share of the house in order to keep it in the family. In 2003 she married Stan and there could not be a better man for Kim. Yes we are young and trying to make it in todays world. So don't be quick to judge because you don't know the big picture. I myself have my own credit problems but we don't need sympathy, we just want our story told and Kim and Stan told it for us. And don't think for one second they will have to move to Palmdale. They will come out of this in flying colors and they will laugh at all the haters.
sean smithsonian

Los Angeles, CA

#18 Oct 5, 2008
i think it is downright outrageous that "stan" and "kim" have not addressed the midget gangs in their granada hills neighborhood. as a former resident of granada hills, and as a middle class american, i found the midgetry that town condones both tedious and alarming. "stan" and "kim" seem like truly decent people- to be certain, they are credits to their races- but to ignore the midget menace in this forum is irresponsible.
gettin' bad- what what??
sean smithsonian

Anaheim, CA

#19 Oct 5, 2008
I want people to know about Kim and Stan. I have known Kim since she was 13. The home they live in was bought by her grandparents in 1958 when it was brand new. Kims parents divorced when she was young. She never got everything she wanted because the money was not there. She understood the value of a dollar at a young age. She went to school,worked,and took care of her diabetic father and grandfather. In 2000 her grandfather pass on and in 2001 her father joined him. Kim bought out her uncles share of the house in order to keep it in the family. In 2003 Kim married Stan and in my opinon no better man could be found for Kim. They are telling their story because alot of us are in the same boat. I myself am in debt and counting pennies. I have a child with autism. Medical bills are pilling up even though I have insurance. So to all the haters out there we will come through this with flying colors and we will be sucessful. So don't judge Kim and Stan because it just could be you.

Anaheim, CA

#20 Oct 5, 2008
gettin' bad crew here to represent Kim and Stan. Gettin giggy with it. one two one two

United States

#21 Oct 5, 2008
I see so much anger and hatred on these posts. I have alot of sympathy for Kim and Stan. My husband and myself just made the last payment on our credit card. It was at $9,000 and it seemed to take forever to pay it off because of the huge interest rate. The rate Kim and Stan are paying is even worse than ours was. 25%?!?! That's nothing more than loan sharking. Yes, they over-extended themselves, but in those heady days before the crash everything seemed possible. When I talked about a housing bubble on a blog 4 years ago everyone sneered at me. Most of the people I knew couldn't believe this could all come tumbling down. I felt it WAS going to crash which is why we began to seriously erase our debts. Let's try to have some sympathy for people who got trapped in this.
(Kim and Stan - Get the compiled "Tightwad Gazette". We bought this book and followed the advice and it really, really helped us get back on our feet and erase our debts. And it made tightwadding fun!)

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