Lifestyle • June 17th, 2020

How to write a retirement letter

Gail Kellner

Key Takeaways
  • A retirement letter is a formal, written confirmation of your plans.
  • End on a good note by helping find your replacement.
  • Stay positive and professional.

The big day has arrived. You’ve saved enough money and are looking forward to a happy and financially secure retirement. How do you inform your employer that you’re planning to retire?

It’s probably not clear to your employer when you’re planning to retire: people retire anywhere from age 62 to 70. You’ll need to write a retirement letter to let your employer know of your plans.

Tips for giving notice of your retirement

While you’ve probably been telling your coworkers about your retirement plans for months, your boss might not know. Furthermore, it’s important to give official notification of your retirement plans.

There are some things you should keep in mind as you plan for your graceful exit.

1. Give plenty of notice

Depending on what your position is, your company may need some time to find and train your replacement. You don’t want to cause resentment by not giving enough notice. On the other hand, you don’t want to be phased out by giving notice too far ahead of time. Plan to give enough time for your boss to find a suitable replacement.

2. Leave the door open

You may think that there is no way you will want to work at your company ever again after you retire but don’t be too hasty. There may be the possibility of consulting work in the future. Your boss may leave and start a company and want some help. Right now, having a lot of free time seems like a dream come true, but after a few months, you may be wondering what to do with yourself. Some studies have shown that staying mentally and socially stimulated can stave off chronic disease.

3. Be positive

It may be tempting to list all the ways your employer has failed you or the many ways you’ve tolerated more than you should’ve had to, but don’t do that. Be the bigger person, and thank them for the opportunities they gave you, the lessons you learned, and all the great people you met. It may pay off later – you never know what the future holds.

4. Know your benefits

Make an appointment with Human Resources before you retire, so you know what benefits you’ll receive. You’ll want to check your health insurance and find out what happens when you retire. Ask about unused vacation and sick days and see if you get those added to your last check. Make sure everything is in writing.

5. Before you write the letter, make sure your boss knows your plans

No one likes surprises. Talk to your boss about your plans. The letter is really just written confirmation of what you already discussed.

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Retirement letter templates and samples

Keep in mind this is a business letter, so it should be set up as a business letter.

Here’s a template:

Name Address City, State, Zip Code

Today’s date

Name of Recipient Title Company Address City, State, Zip

Dear (Boss’s name),

First paragraph

Tell your employer you will be retiring and give the date that you are planning to retire.

Second paragraph

List: Your gratitude for the many opportunities you’ve had. The talented people you’ve worked with. List your accomplishments (just the highlights, not everything).

Third paragraph

Offer to provide assistance during the transition. Offer to serve as a consultant in the future. Ask for confirmation of the date of your retirement. Provide contact information.

Sincerely, Your name Your signature

6 tips for writing a retirement letter

1. Keeps things positive and professional

This letter will be filed and possibly referred to from time to time. You want the last impression you leave to be positive. Say you’re grateful for all the experience you’ve had. Mention how much you’ve learned.

2. List accomplishments

You don’t have to list every accomplishment you’ve had, but the biggest ones, the highlights of your career with the company. If there’s ever an opportunity for part-time or consulting work at the company, they’ll have a record of what you achieved right in front of them.

3. Offer to help with the transition

Offer to help search for and train your replacement. Your experience will be valuable, as you have the most accurate picture of what your job entails.

4. Review before sending

Use a program like Grammarly to check for spelling and context errors. You don’t want your last communication with the company to be filled with mistakes. Basic Grammarly is free. If you don’t want to use Grammarly, have a spouse or a friend read it over. They’ll catch mistakes that you might not. You could also use the read-aloud function in Word. Hearing your letter read aloud can be very helpful.

5. Send the letter to Human Resources

This will serve as a record so that your retirement benefits will start on time (or at least provide a record if there are problems). List the date of your retirement and your contact information (home address, email address and phone number).

6. List contact information

Your name, address, email address, phone number. There may be questions or problems that come up in the weeks and months after your retirement. Make it easy for your company to find you. It will help you if something goes wrong on your end – not getting all your benefits, or a delay in benefits.

Retirement letter example

Here’s an example for you to refer to as you write your own retirement letter:

Jane Smith 122 East Main Street Hanover, NH 03748

May 21, 2020

Edith Jones Vice President of Human Resources XYZ Company Hanover, NH 03748

Dear Ms. Jones;

I am writing this letter to formally announce my retirement from XYZ company on June 1, 2020. My last day in the office will be May 30, 2020.

I want to thank you for all the opportunities I’ve had at XYZ. I’ve been very proud of contributing to XYZ’s success, and I’ve had the privilege of working with many talented people in my tenure. I have thoroughly enjoyed working as Director of Human Resources for the past ten years.

My retirement is bittersweet. I am looking forward to traveling and spending more time with my grandchildren. However, I will miss all the wonderful people I met here. If you need any help with the transition, I will be happy to help you find my replacement. I would also like to offer my services as a consultant in the future, should the need arise.

I have included my contact information below.

Sincerely, Jane Smith (Signature)

Bottom line

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Author

Gail Kellner

Gail Kellner lives with her husband, two sons, and various fur-children. She writes about personal finance and insurance mostly, with a little bit of parenting thrown in. She also writes YA Fantasy fiction in her spare time, and her first YA novel will be published later this year.