Looking for more income?

We could all use a little more income, especially after Revenue Canada finishes with us each April.

I see no government programs that are helping retirees these days. The people that made this great country are increasingly asked to kick in more of their income. Yet, with lower interest rates and a three-year bear market, where is the money supposed to come from? Is the government going to give it to us? Not likely, so what can we do about it? How can we increase our income?

To help retirees answer this question comes a bit of financial education. There are things that you can do.

For instance, if you invest in GICs only try the barbell technique to increase your average yield.

First, any upcoming maturities, investors tend to go short term say one year or so. Consider investing half into a one-year term and the other half into a four or five-year term. This can increase your average return by as much as 1-1.25% and still give liquidity in one year.

A second idea is to invest in a taxed advantaged bond fund, one that is taxed as capital gains, which is more tax-favorable than interest income. Corporate class bond funds are the way to go for tax efficiency.

Third, consider inflation-proof bonds through real return bonds and real return bond funds. These are government bonds that are indexed to inflation each quarter, just like your government pensions are indexed.

Fourth, consider a mix of government and corporate bond funds to give a potentially higher interest than GICs to give yourself more income.

Finally, there are higher income investment vehicles that are higher in risks, such as high-income funds holding real estate income trusts, royalty trusts and other income trusts.

Typically these will payout on a monthly basis and some top-performing income funds in Canada are paying out as much as 8% on a monthly basis.

As always make sure you talk to your financial advisor or read the prospectus before investing. As I said earlier, the government does not care about our income as long as they get some of it, so you might as well try to increase it.

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