Like any congratulation letter, a retirement congratulation letter needs to be sincere. If the writer is not expressing sincere good wishes, the retiree will be able to sense it. The aim of the letter is to create happy feelings, especially for a person who is retiring from a job they may have held for years. People face retirement differently. Some cannot wait to get on to their next adventure, to travel or simply relax by their pool. Others are sad to leave their working years behind and may face retirement as a wasteland with nothing to do. They may receive lots of cards and congratulations when they retire, but a formal congratulation letter will be something to cherish.
The letter should contain words of recognition, admiration and gratitude so that the retiree leaves with a warm and positive feeling about the company, school or business. Writing a good congratulation letter is common courtesy and etiquette that is especially important when it is written to a retiree.
Recognition can be expressed by mentioning a few achievements the retiree has accomplished that made a difference at work. This can be as simple as a winning personality or as great as landing a big contract.
Admiration can be expressed according to the personal experience of the writer. For example, the writer can say that they were inspired by the retiree’s work ethic or by what a fair and forceful leader they were.
Gratitude can be expressed by the individual writing the letter. If it is a supervisor, they can state that the retiree made the supervisor’s job easier. If the writer is representing a board or faculty, he or she can express how much they all appreciated the support given or how the retiree made everyone’s job better.
The letter should congratulate the retiree on the accomplishment of their retirement. The congratulation message should be short and concise at one or two sentences at the most.
The writer can mention any personal or important moments that he or she shared with the retiree. This should also be brief and not a long description of a specific moment. It is enough just to remind the retiree about the incident.
Some retirement congratulation letters use humor to ease what could be a sad time. For example, the writer could say during our next board meeting, I will fondly think of you relaxing at the beach. If the retiree will be spending more time at home, the humor could include a mention of leaving a position of management to become their partner’s personal assistant around the house.
Retirement often means the retiree has the freedom to travel and explore places they dreamed of for many years. If the writer knows the retiree is planning to travel, a lighthearted joke may be to say the retiree should not worry if his or her luggage is lost because it is possible to buy most things anywhere in the world these days.
Sarcasm is another way to express humor in a retirement congratulation letter. The writer can say that he or she hopes the retiree does not get exhausted playing golf or checkers.
The letter should be written in a timely manner. If there is a retirement party, the letter needs to be given before the party. A congratulation letter will seem out of place if it comes weeks after the fact. The common rule dictates that a congratulation letter should be written within three days after the date of retirement.
If the letter is an official document from the human resources department, it should be written on company letterhead. It should be addressed to the retiree, as it is a personal document. There is no place for a one-size-fits-all retirement congratulation letter. The letter needs to be precise, clearly stating specific examples of how the retiree is appreciated. The letter should state its purpose at the very beginning, and it should close with best wishes for a happy retirement. It should be no longer than one page because this is not the place for long winded speeches and flowery language. It is certainly not the place for any criticism or harsh words. It may be acceptable to send the letter by email, but it should still be error-free and not have an automatic email signature.
Below is a sample retirement congratulation letter. It is a formal business letter written with correct grammar and spelling. If the letter is from a company, it should be a formal letter that is typed and printed. If it is from a personal friend, it can be hand written on stationery. The retiree will be pleased to receive such a letter and may show it to his or her family and friends. It may be wise to have the letter proofread by another colleague. This type of letter is usually handed to the retiree in person.
Sample Retirement Congratulation Letter
Name of Writer
Address of Writer
City, State, Zip Code
Name of Retiree
Address of Retiree
City, State, Zip Code
Dear Name of Retiree:
On behalf of the entire faculty and staff, I want to congratulate you on the next milestone in your remarkable life, your retirement. You are an inspiration to us all with your unflagging optimism and team spirit as principal of Name of School, and we appreciate how you guided us for the past 22 years.
We will miss seeing your smiling face each morning, but will rest assured that you are enjoying your days at your cabin in the mountains. You have earned the undying love and respect of students and teachers alike. We all offer you heart-felt best wishes for a happy retirement.
If you find the time, please keep in touch and visit us once in a while.
Signature of Writer
Printed Name of Writer
By Andre Bradley