If there is one term in personal finance I loathe, it is this–fixed income.
Fixed income is technically defined as “income that does not change”. Fixed income is usually a term reserved to describe those who are retired, living on a pension/Social Security or those who are on some sort of government assistance, trying to make ends meet on a small monthly amount. It’s a pretty negative term, designed to conjure up images of those who are poor and suffering and facing the burden of increasing costs without any chance for their income increasing. Fine. I can accept that definition. And I can accept why news outlets love to use it.
However, there are so many more of us living on a fixed income who don’t fit that description. For instance, I live on a fixed income. How? Well, I am a salaried worker. I get no overtime (there is not even an option for overtime), no bonuses, no commission, and I haven’t gotten any sort of raise in 3 years. In fact, one year, I lost pay due to our state’s budget crisis. Every payday, I get the exact same amount of money. No more, no less. No choice to have more or less. That is my fixed income. My income doesn’t change to keep up with increasing costs, either. Because that is the only money I have coming in (unless I’m working my 2nd or 3rd jobs, which have variable income), that is what I have learned to live on. And I’m OK with that, too.
I’m not at all implying that those who are less fortunate or have a lower fixed income than me are at all undeserving of the attention that they receive. But I resent the manipulation and misleading use of an objective term to tug at the heartstrings, when, in truth, there are a lot more of us who fit that description.
I don’t want any special attention; I just want an accurate term.