How To Write a Retirement Letter (With Tips and Example)
Updated July 31, 2023
A person smiles while sitting at a table at home looking over documents in front of a laptop computer.
It's important to submit a retirement letter when you plan to retire from your position. This gives your employer essential information about your departure that will help them prepare to fill your role. If you're considering retirement, it's important to review the basics of a retirement letter.
In this article, we discuss how to write a retirement letter and we provide an example letter to help you draft your own.
What is a retirement letter?
A retirement letter is a formal written correspondence that informs your employer of your intention to retire. This is similar to a letter of resignation, which lets your employer know that you're quitting your job. The primary distinction with a retirement notice letter is that you are not only leaving the company but also seeking retirement benefits.
A retirement letter is typically used in conjunction with a verbal notice to your immediate supervisor. You may want to schedule a meeting to discuss your plans to retire before submitting your retirement letter. This letter will go in your employee file alongside other important documents, such as your job contract and performance reviews.
How to create a retirement letter
Follow these steps to craft an effective retirement letter with all the essential details:
1. Address the right people
Address your retirement letter to your supervisor. Send the primary copy to this person and copy human resources. The HR department will handle your health care coverage, pension and 401(k), so it's important to include them in this notification.
2. Specify the date of your retirement
Include the date of your retirement near the top of the letter so this essential information is easy to find. Give your employer at least two weeks' notice. Employees with a long tenure at the company typically give a month's notice or more. You may discuss the best date for your retirement when you meet with your supervisor to discuss your plans. In this case, your retirement letter simply restates the agreed-upon date.
3. Express appreciation for your experience
Thank your employer for the opportunity to work with them and mention your gratitude for the experiences you've had in the company. Provide specific examples of people or projects that were meaningful to you.
4. Offer to assist with the transition
Offer to help hire or train your replacement if needed. This is especially important if your role is complex or you're leaving major projects unfinished. You might recommend a coworker as your replacement or suggest handing certain projects off to others who are familiar with the work.
5. Discuss consulting if you're interested
If you would like to work as a consultant or freelancer during your retirement, let your employer know. This could ensure that you are one of the first people to be considered if your employer needs this type of service.
6. Detail your needs regarding retirement
Specify the benefits you're seeking in retirement. Let your employer know what you need from them regarding healthcare, retirement plans or your pension. Mention if you have any unused vacation or sick days for which you're entitled compensation. If you are not paid through direct deposit, you may also specify when and how you'll get your last paycheck.
Retirement letter template
[Your city, state and zip code]
[Your phone number]
[Your email address]
[Company city, state and zip code]
I am writing to notify you of my upcoming retirement. My last day at [Company] will be [date].
I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to spend the last [duration of employment] working with [Company]. I learned a great deal from [colleague] and feel that my [skills] grew considerably during my time as [job title]. It was a pleasure to be a part of [project] and work with [clients].
Please let me know how I can help make the transition following my retirement as smooth as possible. I would be happy to assist in hiring or training my replacement. I will also be available to assist as a consultant during my retirement, should you have any opportunities available.
[Discuss any unpaid vacation time you have accrued and what you would like the company to do with it.]
Thank you for the opportunity to work with [Company]. I wish you all the best in the years to come!
Retirement letter example
394 James Place
Richmond, VA 23221
Feb. 16, 2020
4938 Elm St.
Richmond, VA 23221
Dear Ms. Cho:
I am submitting this letter as formal notification of my upcoming retirement. My last day at Richmond Printing will be April 13.
I am very thankful for the opportunities that I've enjoyed while working as a marketing associate these past 10 years. It's been a pleasure watching the company evolve as the face of printing has changed over the past decade. I learned a great deal about customer behavior and marketing strategies in my time working with this dynamic marketing team. It was a particular pleasure working closely with some of our longstanding clients, such as the Richmond School System and Carter General Hospital.
Please let me know how I can assist with the transition following my retirement. I would be happy to help with hiring or training my replacement. I will also be available to consult on a part-time basis as I spend more time with my family.
I plan to take my pension as a lump sum payment and cash out on the eight unused vacation days I have accumulated upon my retirement.
Thank you for the opportunity to work with Richmond Printing. I wish you all the best in the years to come!
Frequently asked questions
What are some benefits of writing a retirement letter?
Writing a retirement letter can have potential benefits for all parties involved. Some of them are:
It gives the hiring organization time to prepare for your departure. Writing a retirement letter can help the organization you work for take the necessary steps to process your retirement. This may include paying your final compensation package, processing your remaining vacation days and activating your retirement benefits.
It helps the hiring organization plan your replacement. Informing your hiring organization about your retirement at least two weeks in advance gives them time to organize their activity. This may mean that existing employees handle your work tasks or that the company begins the process of recruiting a replacement.
It shows respect and courtesy toward your hiring organization. Letting your employers know that you're about to retire can demonstrate your respect for the organization. Doing so can show that you're willing to help make the transition as easy as possible.
It can provide emotional relief. If you're been working for the organization for a long time, announcing your retirement via a letter can allow you and your colleagues to process the news.
What are some tips for making your retirement letter more effective?
Consider following these tips to create a professional retirement letter:
Proofread your letter repeatedly. Drafting a letter free of spelling or grammar errors can make a good impression on the recipients. Proofread it multiple times and consider asking someone else to read it before sending it to ensure you haven't missed anything.
Use an appropriate tone. Your tone in your retirement letter usually depends on your relationship with the people who receive it. While maintaining a professional tone is usually recommended, you can also take a slightly less formal approach if the relationship allows it, as long as the letter includes all necessary information, like the date of retirement.
Follow the appropriate delivery procedures. Your hiring organization may have specific policies and procedures regarding how employees announce their retirement. Review them and follow them accordingly.
Leave your contact details for anyone who wishes to stay in touch. If you've had a positive working relationship with the people at your hiring organization, consider including your personal contact details in the retirement letter. This can give them the chance to keep in touch with you.
How long should a retirement letter be?
While retirement letters are usually one page long at most, your letter's exact length generally depends on your relationship with the remaining staff and the amount of time you spent with the organization. If you haven't worked there long enough to establish a close personal rapport with the staff, you can include the minimum required information. If you have deep connections with the organization and its employees, consider writing a longer letter in which you express your feelings for them.
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