Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Psychology



First Reader/Committee Chair

Shultz, Kenneth


Retirement planning is a complex issue. There are plenty of challenges that individuals and governments confront regarding retirement planning. Understanding what motivates retirement planning is a critical element for individuals and governments to understand. Therefore, the primary goal of the current study was to extend the literature on retirement planning by expanding knowledge of what influences retirement planning by incorporating Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory (RST). RST is a neuroscientific theory of emotion, motivation, and learning, extended to personality psychology. It suggests three systems, the Behavioral Approach System (BAS), Fight–Flight–Freeze system (FFFS), and the Behavioral Inhibition System (BIS). The BAS mediates responses to reward (attractors) and non-punishment and allows individuals to approach a goal. The FFFS mediates responses to punishment (repulsors) and non-reward and stimulates individuals into avoidance. The BIS resolves conflict if both BAS and FFFS are activated at the same time. In this study, I investigated how the BAS, FFFS, and BIS influences retirement planning among a sample size of 128 individuals between the ages of 18-67. I found a positive relationship between Reward Interest, Goal-Drive Persistence, Reward Reactivity, and retirement planning. No significant relationships were found between Impulsivity, FFFS, BIS and retirement planning. Both theoretical and practical implications are discussed. Followed by limitations and future research suggestions.