When governments and companies want to raise money, they’ll often do so by issuing bonds.
Bonds are effectively promissory notes. In return for buying bonds, investors will receive the money they put in back, plus interest.
Investors usually buy bonds because they promise a fixed return, in the form of interest, that is supposed to be paid back at one or several preset dates.
As the interest rate paid on bonds is usually fixed and pre-set, it’s common for bonds to be referred to as ‘fixed-income’ investments. Today, not all bonds have a fixed interest rate. Many are now issued with variable or floating interest rates, which change over time.