Exploring behavioral barriers and interventions in retirement savings: Findings from online focus groups among university students

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In a number of countries around the world, population ageing raises concerns about the sustainability of pension systems. A younger generation has conventionally been least likely to save for retirement even if there is a need to take individual responsibility and start saving for their retirement as soon as possible. In this context, the aim of the paper is to identify behavioral barriers and interventions towards retirement savings ceiling to this part of the productive population. For this purpose, three online focus groups were deployed among 16 university students aged 23-24 years. Using the coding process, common categories, related codes and frequencies of responses were determined from the transcribed material. The results pointed at two crucial barriers related to retirement savings: behavioral (present bias, status quo bias, loss aversion, limited attention) and institutional (education, pension policy and trustworthiness of the state institutions). Additionally, three main categories of behavioral interventions were detected to overcome these barriers: simplification of decision-making (easy calculation of pension, default options), use of salience effects (information campaigns, visualization tools, personalized content) and minimizing feelings of loss (framing of messages, financial incentives, products with different types of liquidity). Based on findings, recommendations were formulated for three groups of stakeholders: government, industry (financial providers and pension funds) and employers. The results bring valuable insights to relevant stakeholders regarding behaviors and attitudes of the young generation on retirement savings issues.

Acknowledgments
This contribution was written with the support of the Technology Agency of the Czech Republic, project number TL03000737 titled as “Behavioral economics as a population activation targeted tool within use of financial security banking products.”

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    • Figure 1. Conceptual map introducing results from online focus groups
    • Figure 2. Framework of behavioral barriers and designed solutions
    • Table 1. Characteristics of participants in each focus group
    • Conceptualization
      Martin Horák, Soňa Kukučková
    • Data curation
      Martin Horák, Soňa Kukučková
    • Formal Analysis
      Martin Horák, Soňa Kukučková, Kamil Dobeš
    • Funding acquisition
      Martin Horák, Soňa Kukučková, Kamil Dobeš
    • Investigation
      Martin Horák, Soňa Kukučková
    • Methodology
      Martin Horák, Soňa Kukučková
    • Project administration
      Martin Horák, Soňa Kukučková, Kamil Dobeš
    • Resources
      Martin Horák, Soňa Kukučková
    • Software
      Martin Horák
    • Validation
      Martin Horák, Soňa Kukučková, Kamil Dobeš
    • Visualization
      Martin Horák
    • Writing – original draft
      Martin Horák, Soňa Kukučková
    • Writing – review & editing
      Martin Horák, Soňa Kukučková, Kamil Dobeš
    • Supervision
      Kamil Dobeš