The phrase living on a fixed income is rarely questioned. Most of us picture an elderly couple whose sole sources of income are a social security check, company pension, and perhaps some private IRAs. A retiree enjoying these 3 revenue streams is certainly doing better than this writer who lives off the two week paycheck issued by his employer!
Also in these times of high unemployment and long durations between pay raises, most of us are de facto Fixed Income. Mark Pribonic points out in his well written article that folks working in the private sector cannot generally elevate their wages to match rising prices which means they are almost in the same boat as people living on “fixed incomes” when the cost of goods and services go up. Pribonic also illuminatingly states that retired people living on some sort of government check are often the beneficiary of some type of Cost of Living Adjustment(COLA) which is certainly not generally the case for people employed in industry.
Probably the primary downside of being retired and living on a fixed income is access to affordable health care benefits which are normally easier to obtain and cheaper for someone who is working. Outside of that, in times of rising prices retired fixed incomers and the ranks of the employed share, pretty much, the same type of financial woes.