Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)


School of Business

First Advisor

Dr. Timothy Rahschulte, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Dr. Paul Shelton, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Dr. Kathy Milhauser, DBA


The retirement saving decisions of young adults are important because of the widely recommended best practice to begin saving for retirement early in adulthood. This study investigated how young adults make retirement saving decisions through qualitative analysis of the decision-making process using Grounded Theory methodology. Twenty-five young adults between the ages of 18 and 35 who are currently saving for retirement were interviewed about their experience. Each interview addressed seven topics concerning life-stage transitions, time preferences, incomplete information, budget constraints, compound investing, financial literacy, and future expectations. Research analysis of data saturation revealed eight propositions about factors that influence how young adults decide to save for retirement. From these propositions, the researcher developed a theoretical model that integrated concepts into an illustrative framework of the decision-making process.