How to maximize savings and investments on a fixed income

How to maximize savings and investments on a fixed income

Living on a fixed income can be challenging, no matter how your money is generated.

The upside with fixed incomes is that there's no speculation involved and you always know exactly what you'll get each month.

The downside is that sudden expenses and the rising costs of living due to inflation and other factors could make it harder to get through each month.

Fortunately, no matter the size of your income, there are methods of making your money stretch to cover not just your basic financial needs every month but your future requirements as well.

Let's explore the different ways in which you can maximize savings on a fixed income. 

Key takeaways

  • Practical ways by which you can stretch your money while on a fixed income

  • How to cut expenses without the inconvenience

  • Leveraging fixed-income investments and boosting social security benefits 

Best practices to make your money grow on a fixed income

People with large, flexible incomes can perhaps afford to be occasionally penny-wise and pound-foolish. Those with fixed incomes, however, need to be both penny- and pound-wise. So here are some strategies you can adopt to make every penny of that fixed income count:

1. Make sure your savings are insured

Depend only on banks and credit unions that are insured by either the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), respectively. All deposits at such institutions are insured by the federal government up to $250,000 per depositor, per institution, per account ownership category. An online savings marketplace like Raisin could be perfect for this: all of their partner financial institutions are federally insured.

2. Make a budget

This is the evergreen tip in all money matters. In the present context, budgeting means separating your monthly expenses into categories like food, utilities, transportation, entertainment, medical, incidentals, and so on. Budgeting makes it easier to prioritize spending areas according to importance, helping you stick to targets and avoid impulse purchases that you may regret later on.

3. Cut down on "avoidables"

This includes anything that you may want, but not necessarily need. For instance, subscriptions to multiple streaming services that you rarely or never use, a second large-screen television in your reading room, or that pricey jacket you made yourself believe you got for a steal. The occasional temptations will always be there, but it's smarter to put off unnecessary spending when you're trying to maximize savings.

4. Consolidate your debt

In October 2022, the average household credit card debt in the US was close to $9,000. That figure does not include other debt categories like personal loans, mortgages, vehicle loans, educational loans, and so on. Consolidating means clubbing together all your outstanding amounts into one monthly payment. That can often mean you pay a lower interest rate than you would if you paid for everything separately.

5. Downgrade to cost-efficient solutions

The objective here is to cut costs without taking on any of the resulting inconvenience. With that in mind, here are a couple of things you can consider. If you have a small family or live alone, it could make financial sense to move out of your standalone home into an apartment or other multi-family residence. You can try to save valuable income on rent and utilities that way.

The same goes for your vehicle. If you are driving a gas-guzzling truck that you can live without, downgrading to a more manageable and less expensive-to-maintain smaller car could result in significant savings.

6. Look around for the best rates

Even though interest rates and annual percentage yields (APYs) are tied to benchmark rates set by the Federal Reserve, individual banks and credit unions have wide flexibility in offering competitive rates. These differences in rates are based on factors like the size of a bank's assets, its market capitalization, liquidity, and others. You should compare rates on savings accounts, CDs, IRAs, money market accounts, and high-yield savings accounts before making a decision.

You might feel comfortable banking at the same place you've always used, but shopping around for the best deal in interest rates can be a good idea to grow your savings. Look for a marketplace like Raisin, where you can access multiple high-yield savings products from multiple financial institutions, all with one convenient login.

Additional tips on saving and investing on a fixed income

The points we've covered so far will have your back when it comes to managing and growing your savings more effectively on a fixed income. Here are three additional tips to further improve your convenience and flexibility while managing your money.

1. Consider fixed-income investing

This is a category of investing that is focused more than anything on preserving your capital and income. Fixed-income investing largely relies on government bonds, CDs, money market accounts, and other fixed-income securities that offer consistent income streams with substantially lower risk than, for instance, stock markets and mutual funds.

2. Boost your social security earnings

There's a lot you can do to improve your social security benefits. Although it can seem like a fixed income, there are several ways you can enhance your social security earnings. Strategies include using a reverse mortgage to lower your taxable income and delaying your claim until you've reached full retirement age.

3. Invest in an ISA to get tax benefits

An ISA, or income-share agreement, is an alternative to regular student loans that offer several attractive benefits. Student loans need to be paid back with interest on a pre-agreed timeline once you've graduated. The issue that often arises here is that people beginning their careers may not be making enough money to repay their student loans.

Repayment of an ISA, on the other hand, is determined by the size of your income. In other words, if it's your first job and you're making some money but not a lot, your ISA payment will be calculated at 2% to 10% of your income. ISAs repayments become due only after you've crossed a certain income threshold.

4. Get yourself a reliable savings partner

Saving and investing wisely can be challenging in any circumstance, but not when you have a partner dedicated to helping you maximize savings.

Raisin is a financial services website that brings you some of the best financial products and services on one platform. Whether you're looking for high-yield savings accounts or certificates of deposits with competitive rates, you'll find them all on Raisin.

All partner banks on our platform are federally insured. And if that's not enough, we offer the unrivaled convenience of operating multiple accounts with different banks and credit unions with a single log-in.

The best part is that all our services are 100% free. Browse through the extensive list of products and services offerings on Raisin today!

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