© 2014, © The Author(s) 2014. We analyse focus group discussions about long-run (retirement) financial decisions, and explore the extent to which participant responses are related to the oft-used behavioural explanations of financial choice. We find that persons of all ages understand the importance of long-term savings, but face many challenges in preparing for retirement. There is mixed support for a range of associated behavioural explanations. Complexity, relevance of decisions, and uncertainty come up repeatedly in all focus groups, irrespective of the age of the participants. The use of heuristics, confidence, costs of mistakes, mental accounting, and the importance of social interaction appeared of less immediate relevance to all groups. We discuss the implications of these findings for how the financial services and superannuation industries communicate with members. There appears to be a general view from the focus groups that breaking large, complex retirement decisions into more manageable pieces (based on personal circumstances) and providing more focused and relevant information to investors would result in more effort and care expended on retirement decisions.