Fixed Income means you make an investment and relax enjoy the regular payments coming through your investment. In the finance world Fixed Income refers to the bonds where you know what you getting paid every month or twice a year until the bond maturity date. Let me explain you what bonds are without going to different types of bonds for now. If you want to learn more about the literature of bonds it is explained in investopedia.
I focus on Emerging Market Government Bonds so let me keep my example based on that part. Every bond is issued with an initial price of $100, a coupon rate and a maturity date.
Example of a bond I hold is referred as EG GOVT 8.5 Jan 31’47 trading at $115.71
Coupon Rate : This is a fixed rate the bond is going to pay you. Payment terms can change depending on the type of bond however all the Government Bonds I hold pays every 6 months. Jan 31 exactly and In the example above coupon rate is 8.5%.
Maturity Date : Maturity date is 31 of Jan 2047.
Yield : This is the return you gonna get on the current price of trade. That is 7.175% if you buy on the price of trade $115.71 .
Sounds a bit complex but it is not really just absorb these terms and I explain again with some basic example. Assume you bought this bond for a face value of $200K at the time of issue the price is always $100 and coupon rate is fixed at 8.5%. You then hold it until 2047. When the bond matures you get back your initial investment $200K and you enjoyed your annual 8.5% coupon payments all along. The only risk is bond default which means the borrower cannot pay the coupon. You can find the previous debt crises in Wikipedia I strongly recommend you to have a look at previous defaults before you decide to buy a bond.
To summarize the bond trade, you would buy a bond on market price after the issue and the price goes up and down depending on borrowers performance. It is directly related to the health of economy of the borrowing country.
To continue on the same example On Feb 4th 2020 EG bond is trading at $115.71. You want to buy this bond how much money you need to have? Minimum face value is $200K but price is at 115.71 at a premium of 15.71% so we multiply these two $200K*15.71 = $231K. But that is not all there is also interest accumulating from bond coupon payment date until the day you buy in this example just 4 days so it is negligable. If you want to calculate it exactly it is 4 days of interest. Coupon for 6 months (180 days) would be $200K * 4.25 (8.5 annually so 4.25 for 6 months) = $8500. $8500 / 180 * 4 = $188. So you would require $231K + interest $188 + broker commission fee $55.
You can watch this video from Khan academy to understand more about the Yield
I recommend you to read my blog post How do I make 10% annual return with government bonds