Hey! Thanks for your interest in my PhD research, which I'm currently undertaking in the School of Finance, Economics and Marketing at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT).

 

I started out as a part-time Masters by Research student in March 2018. A year-and-a-half later and still very much enjoying my subject matter, I was convinced to upgrade the scope of my project. So, in February 2020 I completed a Confirmation of Candidature and successfully upgraded to a PhD.

In December 2020 I was awarded a RMIT Research Stipend Scholarship which has allowed me to leave my day job writing content for a superannuation fund and become a full-time student. Huzzah!

What's my PhD about?

Financial wellbeing at retirement is of increasing concern for women in Australia. Women over age 55 are now the fastest-growing homeless group in Australia (AHRC, 2019) and are retiring with 37% less superannuation than Australian men (ABS, 2018), statistics that require continued research and attention (CEPAR, 2018; Best & Saba, 2021). Longer-term solutions require a more nuanced understanding of the consumption behaviour of today’s millennial women (aged 25-40) to address these problems.

 

One approach is to understand how millennial women build their financial capability and make financial decisions about superannuation. This research investigates how this cohort acquires knowledge through observing others – a cornerstone of social cognitive theory (Bandura 1989). That is, this study will examine the sources of self-efficacy as drivers of financial capability in enacting positive behavioural change earlier in women’s lives.

 

Specifically, this study will examine the impact of the sources of self-efficacy on the financial decision-making of young women, through to their interactions with Online Social Networks (OSNs). A three-stage methodology incorporating two rounds of semi-structured interviews alongside an online ethnographic study is proposed. The constructs arising from the data collection will aid in the development of a financial wellbeing framework as well as behavioural segmentation personas.

How are things progressing?

I've conducted two rounds of semi-structured interviews with Australian millennial women. We talked about their financial influences, their history with money, their approach to risk and how they make decisions about superannuation.

The first found of interviews has been analysed and the findings will be disseminated in an academic journal article which will also form part of my PhD thesis. The second round of interviews has recently been completed and these are now in the process of being transcribed and analysed.