This report summarises the findings from interviews with four women in their midfifties. The key purpose of the interviews was to find out about the women’s experiences of factors in the workplace that impact on their ability to accumulate assets for retirement.
The women were based in the wider Wellington region. Two worked in retail (Anna and Mata), one in teaching (Judith) and the other was an IT consultant (Hera). Two were pākehā New Zealanders, one was Māori and one was Pasifika. Three of the four women had been in full-time work for most of their paid working lives.
This purposeful sampling approach was taken as there were only four interviewees and it was desirable that the women be as similar to each other as possible in terms of age and stage in their lives. The second reason was that women in this age group have completed enough of their working lives to have the need for retirement income firmly in their sights, but enough of their working lives left to be able to change their behaviour around asset accumulation in the future.
Face-to-face interviews were conducted in March 2012. The women were asked about their paid working lives, working conditions and pay, and their retirement savings decisions. The interview questions were derived from themes in the literature about women’s retirement savings. The interviews were recorded and analysed to identify recurring themes, patterns or categories. The findings were then referenced back to the literature in order to check how typical or atypical the responses were.
This is a small qualitative study and as such the findings describe the women’s experiences and are only illustrative of women in this age group. However some interpretive conclusions are drawn based on the women’s experiences and the literature.