How to Write a Retirement Letter + 4 Example Letters

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Are you approaching retirement? This is an exciting time. You’ve clocked numerous hours towards your career, and you’ve accomplished some big things. Now it’s time for a new chapter of your life.

Whether you plan to use this time to check things off your retirement bucket list or if you’re just looking forward to spending some time to yourself, there’s a lot to look forward to. 

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However, before you start your retirement, you need to formally resign from your role. This is typically done through a retirement letter. A retirement letter is a specific type of resignation letter that lets your company know that your time there is coming to an end.

In this guide, we’ll explain how to write a retirement letter as well as 4 example letters to get you started. 

1. Learn Your Company’s Policies

While you might be excited to retire right away, it’s a good idea to learn more about your company’s specific policies. Since you’ve dedicated so much time and energy to your career, odds are you’re in a highly-qualified position. Finding an acceptable replacement takes time and money, and many companies need proper notice. 

To start, familiarize yourself with your specific company’s retirement policies. They might have benefits available to you or a specific process to follow. If you feel comfortable, talk to your supervisor about the best way to proceed. 

ยป MORE: We're so sorry for your loss. This checklist is here to help you through your next steps.

 

2. Plan Your Notice and Transition

Before you give your official letter, give some thought to how much notice you’ll give your employer. While it’s customary to give at least two weeks, you might choose to give more time if you know your retirement is coming up. A month’s notice is a great idea, but more might be necessary, depending on your specific position. 

In addition, you might offer to ease the transition for the company. While not usually required, this is a great way to preserve your relationship with your employer and strengthen your legacy. Some ideas for helping with the transition include:

  • Offer to help - Since you’re so experienced, you’re a valuable asset for training your replacement. Offering to help train them or create some kind of role guide goes a long way. 
  • Part-time or consulting - A lot of new retirees aren’t ready to fully transition out of 9-5 work. You might continue to work with the company on a limited basis, whether you’re a part-time worker or a freelance consultant. 
  • Be positive - While leaving is always hard, remember to be positive. Don’t bring up anything negative about your role or the company. The right attitude makes a big difference. 

3. Be Specific in Your Letter

When writing your letter, do your best to be as specific as possible. This is a formal notice, so it should also be in writing. Submit multiple copies, if possible, or a digital copy for your records. In your letter, be specific about:

  • Your final date - When is your specific date for retirement? 
  • Your legacy - Include the number of years you’ve worked there as well as your contribution. 
  • Transition - If you plan to help with the transition, whether it’s through freelance or part-time work, let them know what you’re comfortable with.
  • Contact information - Include updated contact information, especially if you plan to move.

4. Use a Formal Header

Now that you know the specifics, it’s time to start writing your letter. To begin, use a formal template. This means different things in different companies, but try to use official letterhead if possible. 

Make sure to write a formal header. This includes your name, company, address, and contact information. When you submit a copy to HR, they’ll keep this for your company record. It’s always good to be professional, even if you have a casual relationship with your employer and supervisor. 

5. Keep It Concise

This doesn’t need to be a lengthy letter. A lot of retirees make the mistake of writing more than they need to. Keep in mind that your supervisor is likely a busy professional, and they are already familiar with your experience and legacy. If you’ve already talked to them about your upcoming retirement, this shouldn’t be a surprise. 

To start, get right to the point. Address your supervisor formally by name (“Dear Ms. Smith”) and let them know immediately what the letter is about. It can be as simple as the following:

Dear Ms. Smith, 

This letter is to announce my formal retirement from Company Name as Supervising Leader, effective March 10.

You easily see how this is short and to the point. There’s no confusion, and your employer has the information they need upfront. 

6. Be Gracious

Don’t end your letter immediately after announcing your retirement. You should also thank your supervisor for this opportunity and let them know that you valued your work. Again, stay positive. This is the time to be polite and humble. Let’s finish the letter using the example above:

Dear Ms. Smith, 

This letter is to announce my formal retirement from Company Name as Supervising Leader, effective March 10.

Thank you for all of the opportunities I’ve had while working as an employee here. Working with your team has been a great pleasure, and I’ve learned so much over these past 15 years. However, I’m looking forward to this new phase of my life. Please let me know if I can help during this transition. 

Sincerely, 

Your Name

This is a generous, polite way to let your employer know that you’ve enjoyed your time with them, but it’s time to move on. For many, leaving the days of traditional work behind is difficult. However, you can enter your new chapter as a retiree and senior citizen with grace. 

7. Submit in Writing

Finally, make sure you submit your letter in writing. It’s not usually enough to simply email your letter. Print a copy, sign it, and give it to your supervisor directly. 

From there, it’s a good idea to send a copy via email to your supervisor and HR for your records. Again, your company might have a specific process for submitting these notices. 

Retirement Letter Examples

If you’re ready to live the life shown in retirement magazines, it’s time to work on your letter. These simple examples below make it easy to create the perfect retirement letter for your situation. 

To your boss

If you’re retiring, the first person you need to tell is your boss. This letter should be professional and gracious. 

Dear Mr. Kenny, 

I would like to inform you that I am retiring from my role at Company Name on December 1. 

Thank you for your guidance and help over the past 12 years. Your leadership shaped my career, and I have enjoyed working on your team. It’s now time to move into this next phase of my life. 

I would be happy to assist with the transition in any way I can. Please let me know how to best help. I’ve provided my updated contact information in case you need to reach out after I leave the company. 

Sincerely,

Your Name

To your direct reports or employees

While you primarily need to let your boss know about your retirement, it’s also proper to formally update your direct reports or employees. 

Dear Ms. Mode, 

I am writing this letter to announce my formal retirement from Company Name on February 20. 

I would like to thank you for your outstanding work over these past 20 years. Being your supervisor has been one of the highlights of my career, and I would never have accomplished so much without you. While I will miss your support and positivity, I am excited to enter this new chapter. 

My updated contact information is included with this letter. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me if you need anything. 

Thank you, 

Your Name

To your entire staff

Because sharing the news of your retirement to multiple people or an entire team is tiring, addressing one letter to everyone makes things simpler. 

To the entire team, 

I am excited to announce my formal retirement from Company Name as the Lead Supervisor, effective January 15. 

I would like to thank everyone for all of your support and kindness during my decade here. I have learned so much from your experience, and I have this team to thank for my successful career. While I’m excited to retire, I will miss seeing all of you on a daily basis. 

Please let me know if there’s anything I can do to help with this transition. 

Thank you all,

Your Name

To your clients

Finally, if you’ve managed clients, it’s polite to also let them know that you’re stepping down. In this case, give as much information as possible about your replacement. 

Dear Ms. Shore,

I am writing to inform you of my formal retirement from Company Name, effective May 10. 

Thank you for your support over these past three years. I have valued your loyalty to Company Name. However, I am excited to enter this new stage of my life. 

I am replaced by my trusted colleague Ms. Sage. She will handle your account starting May 10. She is up to date on your entire file. In addition, I included my new contact information in case you have any questions during the transition. 

Thank you for your support, 

Your Name

Preparing for Retirement

Your retirement letter is an opportunity to leave a strong legacy with your employer. Moving into a new phase of your life is never easy, so taking each step one at a time helps ease this burden. Whether you’ve been with your company for decades or just a few years, a retirement letter is a professional way to resign. 

Have you planned your retirement? Start end-of-life planning to make sure you have everything in order before the fun begins. They call this your golden years for a reason! It’s time to take back your freedom. 

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