Sample Retirement Letters

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How to Write a Retirement Letter

Like these retirement letter samples, your own letter will serve two important goals. First, you’ll want to help your employers handle your departure by giving them all the information they need for a smooth transition; additionally, , you’ll want to express appreciation for your employers and leave positive feelings behind as you walk out the door.

Ideally, you won’t be coming back here. In case your plans change, you can also add a third goal: Keep your bridges strong so you can walk back across them if necessary.

Say thank you: Let’s face it — there’s a strong chance you can’t wait to leave and head straight for the beach (or the park with your grandchildren). But even if you never want to see your boss again, be nice. Offer generous and respectful gratitude for everything this company has done for you.

Say it now: You may never have another — or a better — chance to share the positive feelings in your heart. And since your letter may go on record permanently, don’t hold back. A warm, encouraging message for your team or boss may have a surprising impact. As the old saying goes, one kind word can warm three winter months.

Keep your details clear and accurate: If you plan to leave on Tuesday the 24th, say so. If you’re like many retiring employees, your information may not be so set in stone. For example, if you’ll drop to part-time for an unspecified period, or you’re having knee surgery and you may or may not come back to work afterwards, make sure your employers know exactly what to expect (or not expect) from you.

Offer what you can: During your final weeks, your boss may want you to hire or train your replacement, hand off your work to several different people, or help others understand your unique filing system. Make yourself available if you can.

How to Format a Retirement Letter

Like these retirement letter samples, your letter will include an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. The introduction should state your recipient’s name, followed by a clear statement of intention. For example, “Dear Sally Waxler, I write this letter to announce my retirement from Qualco as a Senior Account Manager. My final date of employment will take place on Thursday, March 19th.” Address your letter to the recipient based on your relationship.

In the body of your letter, thank your employer and share the positive feelings you’d like to express on your way out the door. Offer to smooth the transition as much as possible. In your conclusion, thank your reader one more time and say goodbye.

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Common Retirement Letter Mistakes

As you review these retirement letter samples and create your own, watch out for these common mistakes.

Underestimating the gravity of the situation: Keep in mind that your letter will be kept on file for quite some time (maybe many years) after you’re gone. You won’t be able to add anything or take anything away. This is how you’ll be remembered by the company. Take it seriously.

Skipping key details: Try to make your departure as easy on the company as possible. Misstating your dates or omitting important details can create a hassle for others.

Leaving open ends: If the company owes you back pay, vacation pay, or portions of a buy-out or contractual agreement, don’t close out the relationship before you collect.

Negativity: There’s no need for negativity in a retirement letter. Again, think carefully before you insert a single critical or passive aggressive word; this letter will be part of your legacy.

You’ve Written Your Retirement Letter. Now What?

After you submit your letter according to the instructions of your boss or HR office, obtain confirmation that your details have been received and understood. If any disagreements or misalignment exists between you and the company, get this sorted out before your final day.

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