Retirement Wishes: Definition, Types, Tips and Examples

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 11 October 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Offering heartfelt retirement wishes to a colleague is important to the social environment of a workplace. By doing so, you can show recognition of the contributions they've made to the company in the past. Furthermore, you can also set a positive precedent for managing future departures from the company, including your own. In this article, we explain the importance of sending retirement wishes, the different ways of conveying them, tips on structuring your message and examples of retirement messages written for different situations.

Related: Professional Business Letter Format (With Examples)

Why is it important to offer retirement wishes?

By offering sincere retirement wishes to a colleague, you can show respect for everything they've achieved during their career. Your consideration acknowledges the effort they've put in to reach a point where they're able to retire and celebrates the new opportunities they can now explore. Resultantly, their parting memory of working with you is a positive one, making it more likely that you keep in touch in the future. This might be especially useful if you require a professional reference in the future.

Furthermore, your congratulations can set a precedent for the treatment of future retirees, including yourself. By showing that team members often receive due recognition for their hard work, you can boost morale of the remaining workforce. Over time, this can encourage a more unified and productive working environment that could increase your own earning potential.

Related: How to Wish Someone a Happy Retirement (With Tips and Examples)

Ways to send a retirement message

You may send a retirement message in a card or in person. You may select an option according to your relationship with the retiree. The section below contains further details about these two options:

Retirement card

The most straightforward way of expressing good retirement wishes is through a retirement card. By putting your sentiments in writing, you offer the recipient a potential keepsake to reflect on during their retirement. Moreover, you could complement your card by offering your colleague a personalised parting gift, such as a bottle of their favourite wine. Buying something that reflects their personal interests shows your understanding and respect of their individuality and your message can seem more genuine as a result.

In-person congratulations

You can also offer congratulations face-to-face, with the tone of your message being dependent on your relationship with the retiree. For example, if the retiree is your direct superior then you might consider speaking more formally. You may consider reflecting on their career successes, particularly those that occurred most recently. Conversely, if the retiree is a more personal friend you can offer a more emotional response, such as by telling them how much you're going to miss working with them and discussing their future plans.

Tips for formatting a retirement message

You can express your wishes for a happy retirement in a respectful manner, whilst also showing recognition that retirement is a significant milestone in a person's life. Some useful tips to remember when composing a positive retirement message include:

Knowing your audience

Depending on your relationship with the retiree, you can consider modifying certain aspects of your message such as length, tone and language. For example, if the retiree is a more senior team member then you might pair your card with a formal congratulatory letter. Written in a business letter style, a congratulatory letter can go into more detail about the lessons you've learned while under their guidance. You may also consider including your contact information for their future reference.

Alternatively, when congratulating a close colleague you might consider adopting a more casual approach. Instead, consider focusing on your personal relationship with the retiree such as referring to any past shared successes at work.

Discussing common memories

Building on the previous tip, it's advisable to reflect on any positive shared memories in your farewell message. This memory can be both professional and personal, such as how they helped you to settle in upon joining the organisation. By explaining how their actions helped you or others, you can ensure the retiree leaves work aware of everything they've achieved.

Furthermore, you can explain how you've benefited from working with such an experienced colleague. For example, if the retiring team member is your manager, you could state how you've grown to become a more disciplined and patient worker under their mentorship.

Related: 9 Occasions to Write a Thank You Message for Your Boss

Focusing on the future

When someone retires, they might find the initial transition from working life to retirement can be challenging. Therefore, you can consider focusing your message on the future, discussing any new opportunities they might have without having to worry about work commitments. For example, if a colleague is passionate about travelling, you might mention that they can now freely do so whenever they wish. A more positive message could provide them with the motivation necessary to seize such opportunities and live a happier retirement as a result.

Examples of retirement messages

Whether writing a card or speaking in person, you can sound more sincere by adapting your retirement message according to the recipient. The section below contains a series of sample messages you could send to a retiring colleague:

Simple messages for acquaintances

If you're offering a retirement wish to someone you didn't know well, you might wish to employ a shorter and simpler message such as:

  • Congratulations on your retirement! I hope that you enjoy your much-deserved free time.

  • I wish you a happy and healthy retirement, and I hope that you can spend more time relaxing!

  • You're now entering the best period of your life, so sit back and enjoy it!

  • Enjoy your retirement! I hope the coming years are filled with fun and happiness.

  • Happy retirement! You've earned it, so don't worry about a thing.

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Messages for a close friend

When offering best wishes for a happy retirement to a close friend, you might wish to be more direct about your shared experiences. This proves that your friendship is important to you, and you might remain in contact with the retiring colleague as a result. Examples include:

  • Graham, it's been a pleasure to work with you these past few years. When I've struggled with projects in the past, your advice has always been very useful and enlightening. I also found your sense of humour to be a great mood booster whenever I felt stressed. I wish you nothing but the best for your retirement.

  • Congratulations on your retirement, Steve! Thanks for being such a patient and understanding friend over the years and I hope that you can find more time to travel. See you soon!

  • Happy retirement, Jane! Although we'll all miss your kind advice and sense of humour, you've more than earned the opportunity to relax. Enjoy it!

  • David, your hardworking and positive approach to life has been an inspiration to us all. I remember being in awe of the calm way you handled things when the office was flooded. I hope you enjoy retirement as much as I've enjoyed working with you.

  • Dawn, it truly won't be the same working without you here. Your friendly and approachable attitude made each day a fun new experience. I hope you find your retirement to be rewarding.

Formal letter of congratulations

If the retiree is a more senior-level figure, you can consider including a formal letter alongside your retirement card or personal congratulations. The following example is a template you can mirror when writing such a letter:

Dear Wan,

I'd like to take a moment to congratulate you on your impending retirement. Although the office won't feel the same without your presence, this is a worthy reward for all your hard work over the years. I will particularly miss working with you on group projects and I feel that it's your mentorship that enabled me to become the confident and passionate graphic designer I am today.

This considered, I regard our work together on the Cyber Corp. project to have been amongst the most fulfilling moments of my career. Your compassionate approach to leadership gave everyone the positive motivation to work harder and our productivity rose significantly as a result. Moreover, I'll miss your tradition of inviting colleagues out for drinks every Friday, as this proved how much we were valued as individuals. I aspire to be as professional and empathic a manager as you've been should my career progress to that level.

It's been an honour to work with you over the past 12 years. I wish you all the best for your retirement, and hope that you can find more time to keep up with your love of baking! Please keep in touch and I hope to see you again soon.

Best wishes,

Isaac Cheung
+852 1111 22222

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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