If you’re like most people, writing your retirement letter is more complicated than you might think.
After all, you are at the end of your career. It’s exciting! Now it’s time to enjoy life after work, free from the endless meetings, corporate mission statements, and that annoying coworker in the next cube that you were forced to endure.
Writing your retirement letter should be a happy process. But often, it’s not.
Your retirement letter is simply a formal declaration of your retirement, and they are different from formal resignation letters. Retirement letters mean you’re done working for good rather than quitting to move on to another job.
Good retirement letters include several critical pieces of information described below.
You don’t want to burn your bridges. And, you may want to leave the door open for a return to work should the need arise (as the Wall Street Journal reports, this is more common than you might think). So, your retirement letter is essential.
How can you write a retirement letter that’s clear and concise, and professional?
What Your Retirement Letter Should Include
Your retirement letter should include several key elements, including:
- Your name and contact information
- Your current position at the company
- Your final working day at the company
- Details about transitioning your workload
- Are you open to consulting? If so, mention it
And, of course, be professional. Start with a cordial greeting like “Dear,” followed by your manager’s name or department. Then, be clear and unwavering in your letter.
Somewhere within the letter, thank your employer for the opportunity to work there. Express sincere appreciation for your experience. Even if you’re leaving on bad terms, a quick thank you is still the professional thing to do.
Lastly, address how you plan to use any unused benefits. For instance, some companies offer to pay you the cash value of vacation hours when you leave the company, though you may wish to remain an employee instead of selling back your vacation hours to keep health benefits longer. Again, check with your HR department for details on what is possible.
Here are a few examples of well-written retirement letters.
3 Examples of Great Retirement Letters
Example #1, Written Directly to Human Resources:
[Your job title]
Dear [HR Manager]:
This letter is to inform you that my last day at [Employer name] will be [Date of last day]. I am retiring from my career as [Your job title].
I would like to thank you for the opportunity to make a difference at [Employer name], and I look forward to the next phase of my life. I’ve met some incredible people here whom I call friends.
Over the next few days/weeks, I am happy to assist and train my replacement as I transition my responsibilities. In addition, I will continue working hard to complete my remaining assignments until my retirement date.
I would like to cash out my remaining two weeks of vacation before leaving the company.
Again, thank you for the opportunity to work for such a great company and with wonderful people, and I wish the team continued success in the future.
Example #2, Written to the Boss:
[Your job title]
Dear [Manager name]:
I am writing this letter to notify my upcoming retirement as [Your job title], effective [Date of last day].
I very much appreciate the opportunity to work with [Employer name], and I wish you all the best in the future. Please let me know if you need anything else from me.
I will work with my replacement as closely as possible to transition my duties. In addition, I fully anticipate completion of [Project name] before my official retirement date.
Over the next few days, I will be meeting with HR to finalize my retirement plan and take care of any last-minute details of my departure.
Example #3, Expressing a Willingness to Consult
[Your job title]
Dear [Manager name]:
Please accept this letter as my formal retirement notice from my position as [Your job title], effective [Date of last day].
I am very grateful for the opportunity to work with great people at [Employer name], but it is time for me to move on. I will use my remaining vacation days to begin my official retirement, starting on the Date above.
Please let me know how I can make the transition easy. I am willing to work closely with my replacement to train and transition my duties appropriately. I would also be happy to help with hiring my replacement if needed.
In addition, I am available to assist as a consultant in the future if the need should arise.
Thank you, and I wish you all the best in the future.
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Steve Adcock is an early retiree who writes about mental toughness, financial independence and how to get the most out of your life and career. As a regular contributor to The Ladders, CBS MarketWatch and CNBC, Adcock maintains a rare and exclusive voice as a career expert, consistently offering actionable counseling to thousands of readers who want to level-up their lives, careers, and freedom. Adcock's main areas of coverage include money, personal finance, lifestyle, and digital nomad advice. Steve lives in a 100% off-grid solar home in the middle of the Arizona desert and writes on his own website at SteveAdcock.us.