In the not so distant past, people worked until they were 65 and then retired. Everyone knew when their colleagues would retire and when they themselves would retire. Today, people may retire at 50 or 80 since many companies don’t have clear retirement policies.
Some people who retire may start a second career or even work part-time somewhere else. The retiree may have informed his or her employer or human resource department, but they may also want to personally inform any clients with whom they have developed a good working relationship.
When a person is planning to retire and he or she would like to inform their clients that they will not be working with them in the future, they need to write a formal retirement letter even if they have discussed the situation in person or over the phone. The letter will clearly state the date the retirement will start, express the desire to help with the transition and thank them for a positive working relationship.
Timing is important in a retirement letter. It is not wise to send the letter too early as it may undermine the retiree’s authority for the remainder of his or her time in the company. Clients need to feel confident that they are well taken care of by the company, so they need a guarantee of a smooth transition from one contact to another.
Reason the person is retiring
The letter may contain the reason the person is retiring, but this is not essential because they may have reached retirement age. It may mention the person who will replace the retiree in the working relationship with the client. It can also give some personal information, but should maintain a professional tone.
The first paragraph should state the purpose of the letter. It should give the fact that the sender is retiring and the date it is effective.
The second paragraph may express gratitude for the good working relationship the retiree had with a client.
The retiree may add that he or she appreciated the professionalism of the client. The third paragraph may contain the reason the person is retiring, or it may just state that they are looking forward to leisure time and give some details about their future plans.
For example, he or she can say I am looking forward to hiking the Pacific Crest Trail or I plan to spend my time on a Caribbean beach. If possible, the retiree can introduce the person who will replace him or her in the business relationship.
If an in-person introduction is not possible, the retiree can give the phone number and email address of the replacement. The letter may close with an expression of the desire to help in any way to make the transition smooth for the client.
maintain relationship with clients
If the retiree is planning to have what is called a second-act career, it may be to his or her advantage to maintain the relationship with their clients. If this is the case, the letter should not be a final good-by, but should leave the door open for further communication.
For example, the retiree may say he or she is looking forward to new challenges in the future and that their retirement from this job is just another step in the journey of life. This clearly sends the message that the retirement is not the end of their working life.
Below is a sample retirement letter to a client. Since it is a formal business letter is should be written in business-letter style and sent by certified mail to the retiree’s client. If there is more than one client the retiree wants to inform, he or she should write a personal letter to each one.
Sample retirement letter to clients
Name of Retiree
Address of Retiree
City, State, Zip Code
May 23, 2019
Name of Client
Name of Company
Address of Company
City, State, Zip Code
RE: To inform of my impending retirement from Name of Company
Dear Name of Client:
This letter is to inform you that I plan to retire from my position of Sales Representative from Name of Company on DATE. I would like to take this opportunity to tell you how much I enjoyed our business relationship.
You were always very friendly as well as professional to me and I appreciate it very much. I worked hard to make your relationship with Name of Company as smooth and easy as possible.
At our next meeting, I will introduce you to my replacement, Name of Replacement, and would like to ensure you that she will be vigilant to make the transition smooth.
I can be reached at Phone Number or at Email Address if you have any questions. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to facilitate the transition.
Printed Name of Retiree