SAO PAULO (AP) — To understand why people are so cautious with their money five years after the financial crisis, The Associated Press interviewed consumers around the world. Here is what one person said:
Name: Paulo Sergio
Home: Sao Paulo, Brazil
Job: Medical equipment salesman
Sergio is typical of many middle-class Brazilians. He's heavily in debt and uneasy about the future of the country's once-booming economy. His views, in his own words:
"Five years ago, I was doing great. The economy was booming, and I was selling a lot. I was confident enough to borrow money to buy my house and a car.
"But then profit margins (in my business) started to drop, and today they are at least 30 percent less than they were five years ago.
"I am heavily in debt — mostly mortgage and car payments. I would say that about 70 percent of my monthly earnings go to pay off my debts and to make alimony payments to my ex-wife. Luckily we have no children. I don't know what I would do if we had children. I would not be able to pay for decent schooling and medical care for them.
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