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

By Matthew Zane
Jan. 16, 2023

Find a Job You Really Want In

Summary. When writing a retirement card, consider the type of retirement message that you want to write such as congratulatory, complimentary, or a humorous message. It’s also important to consider the recipient and your relationship with them. Be positive in your message since this is an exciting time for the person retiring.

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.

Often the best way to do this is by writing a greeting-card or letter, so in this article, we’ve put together some ideas for what to write to someone who is retiring, as well as some information about retirement to help further inform your message.

Key Takeaways

  • Retirement can bring complicated emotions to the retiree, but it’s still an accomplishment to be celebrated.

  • Match your note to your relationship with the coworker who is retiring.

  • Don’t be afraid to stick to generic congratulations in your note if you don’t know the retiring recipient well.

How to Wish Your Coworker a Happy Retirement

How to Write a Retirement Card

There are several ways to approach a retirement dedication. Some folks will enjoy a note of humor, while others will appreciate, well, being appreciated. If you’re at a total loss for what to write in a retirement card for a coworker, consider these categories of retirement messages:

  • Congratulatory. All retirement messages are congratulatory at heart, but you can make it the main theme of your note. This works best for people you don’t know well and seem to be happy about retiring.

  • Complimentary. If you really admired this person or feel that they’d appreciate having their hard work recognized, consider including a genuine compliment in your retirement note. This works best for people who really took pride in their work and liked being known for it.

  • Future-oriented. Retirement is often an exciting time to indulge in your hobbies full-time. Wishing your coworker well in their future plans is a good way to go if you know what they’re excited about in retirement.

  • Influence. Some coworkers are more like teachers, mentors, and friends all mixed into one. For people that have really impacted your life or at least your life at work, a heartfelt note detailing the retiree’s influence on you can be really sweet.

  • Memories. Some people like to look back on their retirement card as a reminder of what their life was like at work. Including a shared memory in your retirement message works well for people who love stories and have shared a few memorable moments with you before.

  • Humorous. Funny retirement messages are good in small doses, so if you’re adding to a card, make sure you’re not the tenth funny guy on the page. But if you know the recipient’s sense of humor well and think a dash of humor is just what the card needs, funny retirement messages can be really uplifting and give the person an anecdote to share with their friends.

Retirement Wishes Examples

We’ve broken down sentiments you can add to your coworkers’ retirement cards into six loose categories. Choose which category and sayings 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?

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.

What Is Retirement?

Retirement is when a person chooses to leave his or her employment permanently. 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. Retirement can be a happier time for someone but it can also be kind of anxiety-inducing, as an individual’s customs, habits, and daily interactions all become radically changed after retiring.

The Retirement Party

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.

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.

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 the 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.

Retirement Quotes

There’s nothing wrong with looking for inspiration from history and literature. “Good writers borrow, great writers steal” as the saying goes.

Consider using one of these retirement-related quotes to give your coworker’s card a little extra pizazz:

  1. “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” -C.S. Lewis

  2. “The trouble with retirement is that you never get a day off” -Abe Lemons

  3. “Retirement is a blank sheet of paper. It is a chance to redesign your life into something new and different.” -Patrick Foley

  4. “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” -Winston Churchill

  5. “Retirement is like a long vacation in Las Vegas. The goal is to enjoy it the fullest, but not so fully that you run out of money.” –Jonathan Clements

  6. “Don’t act your age in retirement. Act like the inner young person you have always been.” –J. A. West

  7. “There’s never enough time to do all the nothing you want.” — Bill Watterson

  8. “What do you call a person who is happy on Monday? Retired.” — Unknown

Retirement Message FAQs

  1. How do you say goodbye to a coworker who is retiring?

    You say goodbye to a coworker who is retiring by congratulating them, thanking them, or sharing a memory you have with them.

    Depending on your relationship, you could write a note that simply congratulates them on their many years of service and wishes them well in the future, or you could share what working to them has meant to you through a note of gratitude or an anecdote.

    Whatever you choose to share, a written note is a great way to guarantee that they’ll be able to go back and read your message once all the hubbub has died down, but sharing your thoughts in person is also always appreciated.

  2. What do you say to congratulate someone retiring?

    You say, “Congratulations on your retirement,” “You will be missed,” “Enjoy your well-earned rest,” or something similar to congratulate someone retiring. A variety of well-wishes are usually appropriate to say to someone who’s retiring, but make sure you keep it appropriate to the situation.

    If you barely know the person, something general will be more appropriate than an inside joke or memory, while these can carry a significant amount of weight for people you know well.

  3. What is the best farewell message?

    The best farewell message is a note that combines your excitement for their future with your sadness that they’re leaving. This shows that you care about them, as you want them to do what’s best for them while still wishing you got to work together longer.

  4. What can you say instead of happy retirement?

    Instead of happy retirement, you can say “congratulations on your retirement?” or “Thank you for your dedication to the team, enjoy your retirement.” Any well-wishing can be said when someone is retiring. If you are close with the person, you can make the message more personal. But if you don’t know them, a generic message will work as well.


  1. FTD by Design – Retirement Messages for Your Coworkers, Friends and Family

  2. Shutterfly – What To Write In A Retirement Card + Retirement Messages

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating / 5. Vote count:

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

Never miss an opportunity that’s right for you.


Matthew Zane

Matthew Zane is the lead editor of Zippia's How To Get A Job Guides. He is a teacher, writer, and world-traveler that wants to help people at every stage of the career life cycle. He completed his masters in American Literature from Trinity College Dublin and BA in English from the University of Connecticut.

Related posts

Topics: Life At Work