How to wish your co-worker a happy retirement?

Some moments in our lives play a very significant role. And retirement is one of them. They have worked hard enough to achieve something during their lives and given all their strength and time. And now it’s time for them to take a rest. Returning is challenging for some people since they cannot imagine their lives without work. That’s why you, as a professional colleague, should make all efforts to facilitate this process for him. And a friendly note is an excellent way for it.

Firstly, let’s figure out what retirement means. It’s when a person decides to stop working on a full-time basis. Generally, it coincides with the possibility of getting private and public retirement benefits. In all countries of our giant globe, the retirement age, requirements, and benefits are different.

For everybody, retirement causes various feelings. Ones feel exciting since they have more spare time and can dedicate it to their hobbies, traveling, and other things they couldn’t do while working. Other people feel confused since they’ve got used to working. And now, when now working, their life has changed, and getting used to it is genuinely challenging.

Maybe, all of us have once wondered – what are the reasons for retiring? Actually, every case is individual, but there’re some common ones. Many people retire when they feel they’ve collected enough money to support themselves for their lives. According to research, over 70% of pensioners are sure they have enough money to feed themselves.

This case is ideal. But mostly, the common are cases when people retire not by their choice. For example, the employers make them retire because of financial problems in the company. And such people don’t manage to collect enough money for old age. Some people retire because of family issues or health problems. 

In reality, most pensioners retire earlier before they plan to do it (over half of all employees, according to research). Besides, over 70 percent are ready to continue working and earning money (but in fact, a small percentage of them do it).

To sum up, people don’t always retire when they want. And it is not always a period when they don’t work at all. That’s why you always need to consider the situation and, according to it, make a happy retirement message.

Let’s imagine your colleague has decided to retire. And you want to make him a letter and wish him a great retirement. How to do it? We’ll share a few recommendations:

  • Take into account your relations with a person – If you know him well and have good relations, you can make your letter more personal by sharing some good memories. If you don’t know the person will, you need to write a general, well-wishing letter.
  • Be honest – Whatever your feelings towards the person might be, don’t write something you don’t mean. Be sincere and polite with your colleague.
  • Use professional language – It's better to avoid using any slang or words that are not suitable for your letter (such as "retiring"). So, you can express yourself correctly and properly determine how you feel about his retirement.
  • Your wishes should also be clear and direct enough so that he knows what to wait for you during his new life. You can wish him happiness, health, or many years of life if it is relevant in this situation. The most important thing is to make him feel like he will always remain a part of your team.
  • Consider the reasons for the retirement – Knowing the reasons will help you define the letter’s note. If someone retires after many hard-working years and feels excited by his new stage of life, your letter will have a good, friendly message. But if the reasons for this retirement are not great (health problems or other things), your message will have a sad note.
  • Don’t forget to wish him happiness and joy – A letter is a good chance to say friendly words and farewells. Expecting all the best from your colleague, you can express your desire for his new life to be easy and interesting. It will make the person feel like he made the right choice since others believe in his new stage of life.
  • Also, it is better not to mention anything about money problems. Even if this might be what he thinks about – don’t say that directly or indirectly (even if it's true). Retirement should always bring happiness and long years without any problem!
  • Consider what he feels about retirement – For some people, retirement is an exciting and long-awaited situation, and others feel confused about it. Anyway, it would be best to express positive in your happy retirement note.

How to make a retirement message? There’re some approaches to do it. We’ll share some of them. Look them through and decide which’s the most suitable for you:

  • Congratulant approach – Every retirement note has a congratulant note. And you can make it the main in your letter. It greatly works if you don’t know your colleague well, and it seems that he feels excited about his retirement. You can congratulate him on the new stage of life and wish him all the best.
  • Friendly approach – If you know each other well, it’s better to make a friendly note like: “I wanted to apologize that I don't have time now. But since we’ve worked together for so many years, I’d like to express my respect and say thank you for your commitment and hard work… Congratulations on your retirement! It is an exciting moment and I wish you every happiness! Your friend…” This message shows how much he meant to you as a person and as a coworker. Besides, it will let your colleague know that his good relationships with everybody will remain even he retires.
  • Excited approach – If your colleague is very excited about his retirement, it would be nice to homologate his feelings. This way, he will understand that you share his joy and excitement since you’re writing the letter right after the official announcement of this momentous event in his life. You can say something like: “I heard yesterday that you are retiring soon… Congratulations! I know how much you have been waiting for this day. Anyway, take care of yourself and your health… I hope to see you soon in our park or supermarket! Your friend…”
  • Grieving approach – It works if your colleague seems not to be happy with this situation. It’s possible that he is forced to retire or does it because of health problems. In these cases, it would be nice to show him your support and care for this new stage in his life. Just say that you are sorry that he feels disappointed about retirement after all the years working hard. Also, express your best wishes for him to enjoy this period of life.
  • Joking approach – If you feel like making a joke, avoid something bad said directly since you don’t want him not to take the letter seriously. This way, mention some funny moments from the past when you worked together and add something like: “I wish I could congratulate you personally but… [insert reason why]. Anyway, I need to say: Congratulations and happy retirement! Have a nice time and good health. Your friend…”
  • Showing appreciation approach – It is another suitable option if you know your colleague very well. You can write about the most appreciated qualities in him that made you respect him all these years. Saying that you will miss his help or friendship is appropriate too. Even though it might be difficult at first, when you get used to working with somebody else it will be just fine. Besides, if he doesn’t come back after some time, there would be nothing left said in the letter since everybody knows what you feel and think about this person in general.
  • Thanking approach – Sometimes, it’s better to call a spade a spade and say what you felt all the years working with this person. In this case, you can thank him for being always available, helpful or funny. “Dear John, I wanted to apologize that I didn't have time now. But since we've worked together for so many years, I'd like to express my respect and say thank you for your commitment and hard work… Congratulations on your retirement! You really deserve it! Your friend…”
  • Sincere approach – This way is most suitable if you didn’t know your colleague well before he retires from the company. Try not to lie too much about how happy you are thinking of his future or how much you will miss him. It could come out as a little false and then, everything would be lost. If you don’t know what to write, look for some wise advice about writing a retirement thank you letter on the web and consider them as your guidelines.
  • Short approach – When your colleague retires after several years working next to each other, there should be nothing more to say since both of you know very well what he means for you and vice versa. That’s why it is enough with a friendly message like: “I wanted to apologize that I don't have time now. But since we worked together for so many years, I'd like to express my respect and say: Congratulations on your retirement! Your friend…”
  • Complimenting – If you know your colleague well, you can add some compliments to your letter. This way, you’ll demonstrate the value and recognizing of his job, and he’ll appreciate it.
  • Concentration on the future – Some people consider retirement an excellent time for their hobbies and doing the things they like. If you know his retirement plans, you can wish him good luck in all his matters.
  • Express how your colleague influenced you – Sometimes, co-workers can be colleagues, friends, and teachers. If you have such a co-worker, it’ll be great to express your gratitude for everything he’s given to you.
  • Share some memories – People like nostalgia, and they take memorable things (in our case, it’s a retirement letter) and remember the fun, exciting stories. So, adding memories to the retirement note can greatly work, especially for those who like funny stories.
  •  Add some humor – Here, we recommend being careful. Everyone has his own sense of humor and treats it differently, and you can add a joke only if you know the receiver’s humor.

Now, we’ll share some examples of the retirement note:

  • Congratulant approach – Congrats on retirement to the best-of-the-best colleague! My congratulations! You’ve deserved it like nobody else. It’s been great to work with you and be your colleague during all these years, and I’ll truly miss working with you. My congrats!
  • Concentration on the future – I believe your retirement will allow you to spend more time with your granddaughter and do the things you’ve always wanted. Enjoy the retirement! I constantly smile when imagining you playing tennis and writing the book you’ve always dreamt about. Let your new stage of life get started. Now you have time for everything you like – sleeping, traveling, playing chess and reading. Savor!
  • Expressing influence – I would never achieve those heights if not for you. Thank you for everything you’ve done for me. Happy retirement! I will never imagine someone in your place. We’ll miss you. Thank you for being my co-worker, my teacher, and my friend. Savor your retirement.
  • Sharing memories – I’ll never forget our days together on the job – our drinking coffee in the morning, our talks during lunch, and our weekends. I’ll long for it so much. I’ll always remember how you helped me with my first project, and your knowledge helped me a lot and still helps. Celebrate your retirement!


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