While writing a retirement letter is still customary, the time it takes to compose a letter that contains exactly the right words can be unexpectedly time-consuming.
Here, it often helps to have some guidance from others who have gone through the process and even to have a sample letter such as the one below to use as a customizable go-by.
As with all business communications, it is ideal to strive to be as concise and to-the-point as makes good sense.
While there is a little more leeway here to add some personal touches – perhaps even a detail or two about post-retirement plans – ultimately a gracious and simple farewell is the goal of this letter.
It is up to each retiree to decide whether to provide post-employment contact information in a general letter of this sort.
However, it is certainly very gracious and helpful to provide the name of the replacement person in that position (if any) and details on how to contact that person.
General Letter Versus Many Personalized Letters
Making the decision about whether to send a general company-wide or department-wide letter or to write personalized letters to each person is a very personal decision.
In general, business etiquette suggests it is appropriate to personally address a letter to one’s direct supervisor and (if time allows) one’s close coworkers or team members.
Email Versus Interoffice Snail Mail
In today’s business culture, it is considered perfectly acceptable to distribute a more general retirement email to coworkers via the company email system.
Alternately, it can be a nice touch to print off and personally sign copies of the letter for closer coworkers, and place those letters in the interoffice mail system for hand delivery.
For direct supervisors, a written and signed hand delivered letter is considered ideal if at all possible.
Retiring Under Less Ideal Circumstances
From time to time, and especially in today’s struggling economy, there may be circumstances surrounding retirement that are less than ideal.
However, the retirement letter offers an ideal vehicle to take the high road during departure, leaving with graciousness, gratitude, and generosity towards those remaining at the company.
While burning bridges can feel tempting (sometimes very tempting if the circumstances are particularly difficult!) the best approach is always to cross that bridge with one’s head held high rather than to burn it down (and the truth is, no one knows when paths may surprisingly cross again in the future!).
Here are sample retirement letters that offers plenty of room to edit details and customize a specific message to coworkers.
For a more personalized letter, there is also room to include additional details, personal remembrances, and best wishes in the body text.
Sample 1 - Retirement Letter To Coworkers
City, State, Zip
Country [if applicable]
Dear [wonderful colleagues, valued coworkers, other greeting],
I will be retiring on [date] after [number of] great years at [business name]. Before I leave, I’d like to express my heartfelt gratitude to each of you for contributing to the wonderful memories I’ll cherish during my retirement years.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns prior to my retirement, and I will be pleased to assist you in any way I can.
[Name of successor] has been preparing to take over my duties, and will begin on [date]. [Insert phone number here] and [insert email address here] are [his/her] contact information. He/she is excited to collaborate with everyone of you in the near future.
I/we plan to [insert little blurb about forthcoming vacation, seeing grandkids, moving, etc.] after retirement. As you might imagine, I/we are really excited about this!
[If you want] My hope is that we will cross paths again in the future. You can reach me by phone at [enter phone number here] or via email at [insert email address here].
With gratitude and appreciation,
Sample 2 - Retirement Letter To Coworkers
City, State, Zip Code
Name of Each Team Member
Name of Company
City, State, Zip Code
Dear Valued Teammates:
It will not be news to you that I am retiring at the end of this month. My last day on the job is [DATE].
You have all heard me go on and on over the last five years about planning my retirement, and I fully expect to have a great time camping, fishing, hiking and just enjoying the great outdoors.
We have worked on many projects together to clean up the city, including plastic waste removal, residential recycling and starting sustainable agriculture in small gardens throughout the city.
I think we make a great team, each with a strength that makes us more formidable as a team than as individuals. Abigail always kept us on target and within budget, without which we would not have been so successful.
Sean made sure we never lost sight of innovation, always imagining the impossible and, very often, making it possible. Kathy is the backbone of the team always inspiring us to greater things through her hard work. It was an honor to work with each of you.
I will miss the satisfaction of seeing how we can make a difference for this city and the world. I am fully confident that you will continue the good work and keep me informed of your great strides in the environmental industry.
My cabin is only a two-hour drive away, and each of you is more than welcome to visit, bring your family, spend a night and enjoy a relaxing weekend in the mountains.
I will have my mobile phone, [Phone Number], and a computer, [Email Address], so you can reach me at any time to keep me up to date and tell me you are coming for a visit.
Thank you all for making the last 15 years of my career a real pleasure.
Sample 3 - Retirement Email To Coworkers
Subject: [Your Full Name] – Retirement Notice
Dear Valued Coworkers:
It is with great regret that I must inform you that I will be leaving the post of [Job Title] in two weeks.
I recognize that my leaving will cause a snag, and I will do everything in my power to ensure a seamless handover of responsibilities to my replacement.
My decision to retire is based on a recent diagnosis of a serious health problem, not on any inadequacies of this organization.
My doctor recommended me to stop working as soon as possible. I have to agree with my doctor’s advise after much thought because I am unable to function at the usual level that I am sure you have come to expect while also focusing on my health.
The support and encouragement I’ve received here, as well as the professional and personal relationships I’ve formed, have been essential. I’ll miss the stimulating nature of my work as well as the pleasant atmosphere and coworkers. I will be eternally thankful.
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