How To Wish Your Coworker A Happy Retirement (With Examples)

By Chris Kolmar - Nov. 7, 2020
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Retirement is a significant moment in one’s life. If one of your coworkers is retiring, you should do everything you can to send them off the right way. They’ve worked hard in their career, and now they can reflect on how far they’ve come and look forward to a work-free future.

Support your soon-to-be former coworker with a message wishing them the best out of their retirement. Never having to work again sounds swell, but retirement also represents a new and uncertain chapter in a person’s life – show your appreciation and encouragement with a nice note.

What is Retirement?

When a person chooses to leave his or her employment permanently, that person has retired. Retirement usually aligns with an employee’s eligibility to collect public and private retirement resources, like social security, a 401(k), or other retirement plans. Retirement age and eligibility for these resources vary depending on where you are in the world.

Retirement can be a really exciting period where a person can choose to devote their time to hobbies and activities that they are passionate about since there’s no 40-hour work week getting in the way anymore. It can also be kind of anxiety-inducing, as an individual’s customs, habits, and daily interactions all become radically changed after retiring.

Why Do People Retire?

There are several reasons an employee may choose to retire. Generally, people wait until they think they have sufficient funds to support themselves through years without working. According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), 77% of retirees feel confident in having enough money saved for a comfortable retirement.

However, people don’t always have the choice to keep working until they feel their piggy banks are sufficiently stocked. Some companies will force retirement on employees during periods of restructuring or downsizing. Or people will quit early due to an unforeseen health complication, in a spouse or themselves.

In fact, according to that EBRI study, almost half of workers retire before they had planned on it. Additionally, 71% of workers said they expect to continue to work for pay in retirement (although only 31% of retirees actually do).

In other words, retirement may not always come about as an employee plans it and might not always look like an entirely work-free period. Some employees even continue working as a part-time or temporary consultant for their employer after retirement.

When wishing a coworker a happy retirement, try to be mindful of any of the circumstances mentioned above if you know their retirement situation well enough.

The Retirement Party

Whatever the circumstances, there will almost always be festivities to mark the retirement of an employee. It’s a big moment that deserves celebration. The company will often issue a traditional retirement gift, like a plaque or engraved watch, and everyone will write a message in a retirement card.

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Writing isn’t everyone’s strong suit, and depending on how well you know your retiring colleague, you might be at a loss for what to write in their retirement card. We’ve got you covered.

Tips for Writing a Retirement Message

  • Consider the recipient. How well do you know the person who’s retiring? If the answer is not very well, you should probably stick to a more generic congratulatory, well-wishing note. However, if you’re close with this person, you can make it more personal, bringing up old memories or an inside joke.

  • Take the “why” into account. It’s imperative to consider why the person is retiring. If they’ve chosen to leave after many years of service, retirement is probably a positive event in their lives, and your message can reflect that. But if they’re being forced into retirement due to company downsizing, health issues, or family duties, retirement might have a sadder tint to it.

  • Think about what retirement means for them. Retirement is exciting, but it’s also an uncertain period for a lot of people. You want to be positive and bring up things that the soon-to-be retiree can look forward to.

Retirement Wishes

We’ve broken down sentiments you can add to your coworkers’ retirement card into six loose categories. Choose which category to use based on how close you are with your retiring coworker and his or her personality. For instance, if you don’t know the person that well, steer clear of an attempt at humor, or you might end up looking like Michael Scott.

  1. Congratulatory

    • To one of the best people around the office, congratulations on your retirement!

    • So happy to see you move onto this exciting stage in your life – congratulations!

    • Congratulations on your prestigious career, and best wishes for your retirement!

    • It’s been a pleasure working with you, and it’s an honor to help you celebrate your retirement. Congratulations!

    • It’s been fantastic working at your side all these years. Congratulations on your retirement, and be sure to avoid work like the plague from now on!

    • Here’s to a well-deserved retirement for a great friend, dedicated employee, and top-notch golfer. Congratulations!

  2. Qualities

    • If you put as much effort into enjoying retirement as you have at this company, it’s sure to be a success!

    • While I’m sad to see one of the best people who worked at this office go, I wish you all the best in your retirement.

    • Thanks for being a spirited professional, a helpful coworker, and a great friend. Now go and relax!

    • For the person who always gave their best, cheers to your retirement! May if be fulfilling and bring you some well-deserved “you” time.

    • You’re one of the hardest workers I’ve ever met. You deserve a relaxing retirement, but I know you’ll keep busy one way or another!

    • You’ve always been a dedicated worker, a compassionate friend, and a source of encouragement. Your positive attitude will truly be missed.

  3. Future plans

    • Best of luck on your next adventure!

    • Wishing you a wonderful retirement filled with good health, relaxation, and fun!

    • Here’s to a long, healthy, happy retirement – many congrats!

    • You’ve worked so hard for so long – you deserve to take it easy for a change. Enjoy your retirement!

    • It brings a smile to my face just thinking about you spending more time with your grandkids and fishing on the lake. Here’s to an enjoyable and relaxing retirement!

    • I look forward to seeing the next amazing chapter of your life unfold – may the years ahead bring health, joy, and peace!

    • I hate to see you go, but I hope we can keep in touch. Although you’ll probably catch a bigger fish than me next time we go out, with all that practice you’re about to get!

    • Wishing you good times, good health, and plenty of time with your family in your retirement!

  4. Influence/Impact

    • Having you as a coworker has been no less than a gift. Your influence around the office will be deeply missed and never forgotten.

    • It was a pleasure working with you – your work made a lasting impact that has improved the company in so many ways. Congratulations on your retirement!

    • It’s impossible to overstate how valuable you’ve been for our team – we wish you the very best in your retirement!

    • Your presence in the office will be deeply missed. You were a constant source of encouragement and guidance that helped me and many others thrive in our competitive environment.

    • I truly appreciate everything you did for me and other coworkers over the years. I hope you have a joyous retirement!

    • It’s hard to imagine our workplace without you. I hope you get to pursue your passions in retirement, all the best!

    • You were always able to make a complicated situation into one we could all be excited about. Your positivity and sincerity will be missed.

    • It was a joy working with someone as passionate and professional as you. You’ve made a positive impact on my work experience here, and I will miss you greatly.

    • I’ve lost track of all the brilliant and creative ideas you’ve had over the years. It has been a privilege having you as a coworker and a friend, and I hope to continue our friendship.

    • You were always there to lend an ear to a coworker in need and solve any problem around the office. While we’ll all miss your knack for problem-solving, I wish you the very best out of your retirement.

    • I just wanted to say thank you! You were always a thoughtful and compassionate coworker who supported and encouraged everyone else with your tireless spirit.

  5. Memories

    • The place isn’t going to be the same without your bad Dad jokes – enjoy your retirement!

    • I remember how comfortable you made me during my first week working here. I instantly felt like I had a friend I could count on to show me the ropes, and I want to express how influential you’ve been in my success here. Thank you, and best of luck in your retirement!

    • I’ll never forget the pranks we pulled together working here. I don’t know what I’ll do without my partner in crime, but promise me you won’t lose your carefree attitude in retirement. Who am I kidding? That would be impossible!

    • I remember when you taught me how to navigate our company’s database during my first week on the job. I learned more in my conversations with you than all the training materials combined. Your wealth of knowledge will truly be missed around here.

    • I had such a great time camping with you all these years and I’m sad to lose my outdoors buddy around the office. Enjoy all the s’mores you can now that you’re retired!

  6. Humorous

    • You’ve finally been promoted to retirement level, congrats!

    • From now on, your KPIs are relaxation investment and happiness return – enjoy!

    • For your new quarterly goal – avoid anything that resembles work!

    • Goodbye tension, hello pension! Have a good retirement!

    • Congratulations on your six-month holiday, twice a year!

    • Your weekend just got extended by five days – enjoy!

    • Retirement is the reward you get for putting up with coworkers like me for this long! Best of luck on your extended vacation!

    • I could have sworn you stopped working years ago! Ah, well, enjoy your official retirement now!

    • Are you really old enough to retire? I don’t buy it.

    • Good luck writing your next chapter of life! Just try not to make it boring, all right?

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Chris Kolmar


Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.

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