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  1. Blog
  2. Retirement
  3. Last updated April 22, 2024

Outta Here! How To Write a Retirement Letter (with 6 Examples)


woman retiring

Not so long ago, people often spent their entire careers at just one or two companies. Retirement at age 65 was an expected event. Management and human resources anticipated the transition as the employee aged and a retirement conversation and letter was mainly pro forma.

Now, however, and especially with the early retirement movement known as FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early), people are opting to retire from traditional 9-to-5 jobs earlier than ever before.

Still, the resignation letter itself hasn’t changed much over the years.

But first: I'm retiring. Do I have to give two-weeks notice?

You are not legally obligated to give two-weeks notice or otherwise, but your company may have a policy in place that asks for it (and some states have a few caveats). Check your contract, company handbook, or with the HR department to see what’s required regarding retirement notice, as it may differ from policies pertaining to resignation.

Even if your employer doesn’t have a policy, giving notice is a standard business practice expected in higher-level positions. Many people think this is so that the company has time to find a replacement, which may be the case for more junior or entry-level positions.

However, for employees in middle management and higher and for those with specialized and in-demand skill sets, it can take up to several months for the company to replace you. This makes the standard two weeks’ notice more an act of courtesy than being truly helpful. In order to make the transition as seamless as possible, it may be necessary to prepare for your departure several months in advance.

During that time, you can ensure all projects under your direction are either completed in full or assigned to colleagues. You can also create transition documentation to serve as a guide for coworkers and for your replacement.

What if I want to give a long retirement notice? We recommend you proceed with caution

Even though giving plenty of notice—especially if you’re retiring early—is seen by most as the best approach, it can cause problems you may not expect.

Your manager and coworkers will quite likely treat you differently because you won’t be around in six weeks or months—for better or worse. That means you may be increasingly excluded from meetings and memos regarding upcoming projects and company goals. While the actions like these aren’t usually taken for any reasons other than practical (you really won’t be working there in six weeks or months), it doesn’t make them feel any less exclusionary.

There’s not much you can do, except to expect the transition from total involvement to being less and less involved in future planning. You might be able to mitigate the effects at least somewhat and only in the short term by asking your manager to keep your retirement plans confidential. However, that may not be a viable course of action in that it’s better for the company overall to move forward with full knowledge of your impending retirement.

Age discrimination is also real, and some companies do fire or lay off employees just before retirement eligibility (sometimes out of retaliation). When giving notice, it’s best to have already crossed that eligibility threshold.

The retirement letter: what to do before you write your letter

Before writing the letter, speak to your direct report and manager in person if possible. Confirm your last day of employment and how your responsibilities and projects will either be completed or delegated. Talk about how involved you’ll be (if at all) in the onboarding and training process of the new hire. This is also the time to discuss any possibilities of doing work with the company—like part-time, consulting, or contract work—in future.

Follow up with a confirmation email to that manager and copy human resources. Only when you’ve done this are you really at liberty to let your team members and other colleagues know.

Check with HR before you compose your letter: They may have a form called something like a “Notification of Intent to Retire,” which is all they require. If not, your own letter can be quite short. The standard usually contains the following:

  • Confirmation that you are indeed retiring

  • The date that your retirement becomes effective

  • A thank you to the company and colleagues

  • An offer of assistance during the notice period

6 retirement letter examples 

Example: A basic retirement letter

Dear (Manager),

Please accept this letter as my notification of intent to retire effective (date), which will be my last day.

I have enjoyed my time with (company name) and am grateful for all the professional opportunities and support provided to me throughout. While I will miss my colleagues and coworkers, I am very much looking forward to the next chapter in my life.

I’m happy to help with the transition and will do whatever I can to make that as seamless as possible. Please do not hesitate to let me know how I can be of service.


(Your Name)

Example 2: A short and sweet retirement letter

Dear (name),

With mixed emotions, I am announcing my retirement from (company name) on (date). This decision was not made lightly, but I am confident that it’s time for me to explore new horizons. I am immensely grateful for the opportunities this company has provided me, and I’m leaving with a heart full of cherished memories and valuable lessons. 


(Your name)

Example 3: A humorous retirement letter

Hi (name),

I’m thrilled to inform you that I’ve decided to trade in my desk chair for a hammock. Yes, the rumors are true—I’m retiring on (date). It’s been an incredible journey here at (company name), filled with laughter, challenges, and some seriously strong coffee. As I bid farewell to spreadsheets and meetings, I’m looking forward to endless days of relaxation and adventure.


(Your name)

Example 4: A retirement letter for when you're helping with onboarding

Dear (name),

As I prepare for retirement from (company name) on (date), I want to express my gratitude for the enriching experiences here. In transitioning out, I am committed to ensuring a smooth handover for my successor. I'm fully prepared to offer guidance, share insights, and provide assistance during the onboarding process. 

Thank you for the opportunities and support. I'm excited about this new phase of life while remaining dedicated to supporting a positive start for my replacement.

Warm regards,

(Your name)

Example 5: A retirement letter when you'll continue working part-time

Dear (name),

I am writing to let you know that the time has come for me to embark on the next chapter of my life’s journey. My tenure at (company name) has been nothing short of amazing, and I am immensely grateful for the opportunities, friendships, and growth I’ve experienced here. As we discussed, I would be delighted to provide consulting or part-time work to ABC Company after my departure.


(Your name)

Example 6: A retirement letter with your contact information

Make sure HR has your updated personal contact information, especially if you intend to relocate after your retirement.

Hi (name),

I am writing to inform you of my decision to retire from (company name) on (date). The privilege of working alongside such talented and dedicated individuals has been the highlight of my career. I am profoundly grateful for the opportunities and trust bestowed upon me. I leave with cherished memories and profound appreciation for the collective efforts that have shaped my journey here.

I'll be moving to (location), so should you need to reach me, please reach out at (email address) or (phone number). 

Thank you for everything,

(Your name)

If you are retiring earlier than anticipated due to health issues, check with HR as to whether you should state that reason in your notice of retirement. 

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