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Abstract

The finances of blue-collar workers were the most acutely impacted as these workers lost their jobs during the Great Recession of 2007 through 2009. The literature revealed a minimal understanding of how blue-collar workers allocated funds for their retirement, and what their investments might be when they invested. To address this problem, the current qualitative study addressed (a) how blue-collar workers chose to invest or not invest for retirement and (b) how blue-collar workers diversified their portfolio if they chose to invest. Theoretical foundations of the study were based on regret theory and prospect theory. A nonrandom purposeful sample of 10 blue-collar worker participants answered 19 open-ended questions. Data from these questions were analyzed inductively. Findings revealed that, as participants reached the age of 30, they started to consider investing for their retirement. Participants under the age of 30 were not as likely to invest. Only one person over the age of 30 did not invest for retirement. The factors that contributed to these blue-collar workers’ investment decisions for retirement were based on an employer-provided retirement accounts, the fear of running out of money later in life during retirement, and the addition of new family members. One of the most popular retirement investment products for the participant group, which included mechanics, laborers, and material movers, was the U.S. Treasury bonds. Other popular investments were mutual funds, 401(k)s, and IRAs. These findings may inform researchers who are conducting a study on the investment decisions of blue-collar workers. The findings can also be beneficial for other blue-collar workers by showing them that other blue-collar workers do invest, and by revealing their rationales in doing so.

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