How to Write a Retirement Letter

Congratulations! It’s time to retire and that means it’s time to write a retirement letter to give notice to your employer.

A retirement letter is how you notify your employer that you are planning on retiring soon. It is like a traditional 2-week notice you give before you leave a job, but in this case, you are notifying your employer that you are leaving to retire. 

It can help to talk with your workplace's HR representative about your retirement plans before you write a retirement letter. That way you'll have all the details you need for your letter, including any of the information your employment might need to know. 

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Why You Should Write a Retirement Letter 

The main reason you should write a retirement letter for your boss is because it’s a polite thing to do. Your work will need to make arrangements for your replacement and giving due notice. This notice of retirement will let your employer know the exact date you expect to be your last so they can make arrangements. I

t’s a good idea to also tell your boss and HR staff about your plan to retire, but giving an official letter helps make everything official and on record. This letter will also be added to your employers records, and it’s a good idea to include a copy in your own records as well. 

A second great reason for sending a retirement letter is to include any work proposals you might have. For instance, maybe you want to phase out of work slowly or maybe you’d like to move to part time, or still work once or twice a week.

If this is something you’d like to discuss with your work, a retirement letter is a good place to outline your ideas and start this conversation. 

When Should You Tell Your Employer You’re Retiring? 

Take a look at your company’s handbook to check if there is any information about when to tell your employer notice of your retirement and anything else they might say about retiring. Whenever you’re leaving a place of employment, it’s considered professional etiquette to give at least 2 weeks' notice. This includes notice of retirement. But with retirement, if you can give your employer even more notice, feel free to do so. 

In fact, some professional advisor’s actually say you should give at least 3 weeks' notice prior to your date of retirement. 

Retirement Letter Example

A retirement letter doesn’t have to be too complicated. It might be more wordy if you are trying to work out some kind of proposal with your work, like consulting or diminished hours. But if you just follow the format below, you should hit all the information that might need to be included in your notice: 

Address the Letter's Recipient 

Your retirement letter should be addressed to your boss. Normally you would write "Dear Mr. or Mrs." and then insert the full name of your boss. It’s also a good idea to CC a member of your company’s HR department on the email. 

Also include the current date somewhere at the top of the letter so that the recipient knows when the retirement letter was written and sent. Including the names and contact information of the company and who you are addressing in the email is also a good idea. This will help the letter stand on its own as a record of your notice, even if you send the letter in an email. 

Paragraph 1: Your Intent to Retire 

First things first, talk about your intent to retire and when. This paragraph includes any retirement plans that your boss might need to be aware of, like when your last day at work will be. 

Paragraph 2: Reflect on Your Time 

In the next paragraph take a moment to reflect back on your time at this job. Talk about positives rather than negatives, like the ways that you have been able to grow and evolve while working there. 

Paragraph 3: Make Plans for Transitions 

Since you are retiring, some transitions will have to be made. Someone will need to be promoted or hired to take your place. That person might need training or guidance, and there might be work or projects you are leaving behind that need passed on to another before you go. 

In the final paragraph of your retirement letter, you should outline your plans for transitioning smoothly to retirement as someone else takes your job position. Take a moment to also go over the projects and work you are leaving behind, and anything your boss will need to know to help transition this work to the next person. You might also include plans here to help find and train your own replacement, or ideas you have for who should take over your position from within. 

Close the Letter

End your retirement letter with good wishes for your employer, coworkers, and place of work. You might even want to include a very brief paragraph reiterating your thanks and best wishes toward the company and those you're leaving. 

Then you can end the letter on a professional note with a closing like, “Sincerely, Regards, or Best Wishes.” Sign your letter, and make sure the letter includes your full name, job position, and personal contact information, in case they need to get ahold of you in the future. 

In Conclusion,

Remember that a retirement letter doesn’t need to be too long or wordy. You just need to make sure your employer gets a proper retirement notice along with any relevant information about how and when you will be transitioning into retirement, and the work you are leaving behind.