wikiHow to Announce Your Retirement

Three Parts:Announcing to Your BossAnnouncing to Co-WorkersAnnouncing to Friends and Family

Historically, most people retired at the age of 65 unless extenuating circumstances kept them at their job, and there was no need to formally announce a planned retirement. Now, some people retire in their 50s while others work into their 80s-- and the process of announcing a retirement has become unclear.[1] Knowing how and when to announce your retirement can make the process less stressful and help to end your successful career on the best note possible.

Part 1
Announcing to Your Boss

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    Start planning well in advance. The decision to retire is very significant, and you should start planning for your retirement at least six months in advance.[2]
    • This allows you time to make sure you are comfortable with your decision before making things formal, tie up any loose ends, and use any remaining vacation days.
    • Be sure to familiarize yourself with your company's retirement policies, and download compensation statements and benefits information from your company's website while you still have company log-in credentials.[3]
    • These policies will also let you know if your company has a rule about how far in advance you must notify your employer and/or human resources office, which will likely determine when you take the next steps.
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    Decide when to tell your boss. Its important that you follow company protocol, but most of the time you will have some leeway regarding when to tell your immediate supervisor of your impending retirement.
    • Be cautious about announcing too early. Doing so can signal to your employer that you are not as invested, and you might be passed over for projects or asked to leave earlier to make room for your replacement.[4] Similarly, if you are in a supervisory position, your employees may not listen to your directives or respect your authority.
    • If you do fear any negative repercussions of your announcement, it might be best to wait until the last minute as per your employee handbook. Just as with any other position you have left in your career, regardless of your handbook, you should tell your plans to your boss no later than three weeks prior to your intended date of retirement. The "three week notice" is the bare minimum of time required to find, hire and train a replacement.
    • If you have a senior position or one that is difficult to replace, it is not unusual to give three to six months of notice, to give your company time to locate and train a suitable replacement.[5]
    • Think about the relationship you have with your supervisor and company, and if that relationship is important to maintain in your retirement. Being thoughtful of the position your company will be in when you retire can go a long way in maintaining good feelings on both sides.
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    Schedule a private meeting for the end of the day. This will ensure that you have a bit of time to discuss your plans but that you are not interrupting your boss's other work responsibilities.
    • The level of formality of this meeting will depend on the relationship with your boss or supervisor. If you have a strictly professional relationship, the announcement will be similarly formal. If you have a more friendly relationship, however, the announcement can be less rigid and more conversational.
    • If you have not finalized your plans but are giving the boss the news as a courtesy, be sure to say so. Simply say, "I am thinking about retiring in June-- but I have not quite made up my mind. When is the absolute latest you will need to know?"[6]
    • If the plans are finalized, say, "I have been thinking about this for a long time, and I've decided it is time to retire. I will be retiring at the end of June."
    • Either way, let your boss know that you want to make the transition as smooth as possible.
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    Ask your boss about how to tell the rest of the staff. Some bosses have a policy that they themselves will make a formal announcement of your retirement to the rest of the staff, but some prefer that you announce to your coworkers yourself. If you have a preference, be sure to let him or her know.
    • If the boss will send a memo, post a bulletin, or make an announcement, you will not need to announce you're retiring to the rest of the staff in a formal capacity.
    • If you actually prefer to tell all (or some) colleagues yourself, ask the boss to wait to announce until you've had a chance to talk to these important people yourself.
    • Even though you might not be planning to take another job or go back to work following retirement, the current economy is unpredictable[7] and it is smart to ask your supervisors for three letters of recommendation just in case of contingency. It is better to do this now while your excellent work ethic is fresh in their minds than to wait until you need the letters, when they may have moved to other companies and be harder to track down.[8]
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    Write a letter to your boss officially announcing your intention to retire. The letter is a formality and it can be brief, but should state the date of your retirement.
    • Give the letter to your boss after you have verbally told her of your plans.
    • Even though you've made your intentions clear verbally, human resources will require a formal letter to file in their records. Payroll will also need the information to make sure you're given all relevant sick days or other compensation.
    • Be sure to follow up with human resources immediately to find out what paperwork will be required and when it is due.

Part 2
Announcing to Co-Workers

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    Tell people personally. It is considerate to let your co-workers and staff know that you're retiring verbally or by personal phone call or email, rather than via a company-wide memo. Giving a personal touch to the message helps your co-workers feel valued and goes a long way in maintaining your friendships into retirement.
    • Inform friends and close coworkers after you've told your boss. News often spreads, even if you ask to keep the information quiet, and you want your boss to be the first to know.
    • If your boss is holding a meeting to tell significant co-workers of your retirement, consider writing emails to all other co-workers and staff, and saving them to automatically send from your email service at the end of the scheduled meeting. That way everyone will find out at the same time, and no one will feel as if they've been slighted.[9]
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    Include important information in all correspondence. Whether you are drafting an email to human resources, a formal letter to your boss, or a note to your secretary, certain pieces of information should be included to simplify the process and avoid confusion.
    • Include the exact date of your retirement in all correspondence. Doing so helps avoid speculation and simplifies work for others who depend on you, since they know exactly what day you will no longer be working.
    • Add a forwarding address if it is different from what the company has on file. If you don't pick up your final paycheck on your last day, the company can mail it or any other relevant information to the address provided.
    • Include other contact information (phone number, email or address) should you want to stay in contact with anyone from the office after retirement.
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    Express your appreciation and well wishes. Rather than sending a direct and impersonal notice, kind and personalized letters to coworkers and your replacement, if he or she has already been hired, will ensure that you are remembered as a thoughtful coworker.
    • Retirement letters are a chance to say your last goodbyes to the company, and they should be sincere and genuine in their offer of well wishes.
    • If you plan to maintain relationships with your co-workers once you've retired, now can be a good time to personally invite them for a barbeque or family dinner scheduled for after your retirement. That way you can ensure that you maintain the relationship and are not forgotten.

Part 3
Announcing to Friends and Family

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    Time it right. Regardless of when you decide to tell your boss and co-workers, you should always plan to tell family and friends after telling those at work.
    • News travels fast, and it could be awkward or problematic for your boss to hear through the grapevine that you're retiring.
    • The exception is your spouse and immediate family members or a very trusted friend or mentor. You need people you can talk to about the decision to retire even before you've finalized your plans, so feel free to take those closest to you into your confidence. Just be sure that whoever you tell knows that the information is confidential.
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    Keep it informal. While announcements to your boss and co-workers need to maintain some level of formality, your announcement to friends and family can be as informal as you like.
    • A Facebook or other social media post can make the process of announcing simple, since you can tell everyone you know at once. If you use LinkedIn or other career networking sites, be sure to make a note there as well.
    • Its smart to word your retirement announcement in a way that leaves the door open to future opportunities, especially if you are retiring early in life. Say something like, "I will be stepping down from my position in June to spend more time with family. I'm looking forward to seeing what the next chapter holds."[10]
    • Consider making a funny retirement video. Check out Youtube for ideas.
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    Consider throwing a party to make the big announcement. Invite all your close family and friends, and that way you can tell them in person in a way that is meaningful to you.
    • You can choose if you want the let them know in advance of the party that it is a retirement party, or you can make a surprise announcement at the party itself.
    • While throwing a party for yourself might seem impolite, rules on etiquette are changing and most people find a retirement party an exception to that particular rule, especially if its a surprise that you reveal at the party (in which case, no one will have purchased gifts).


  • Even though you probably won't be moving on to another job, you still want your verbal announcement and retirement letter to be gracious. Focus on the positive experiences, even though you don't necessarily need the references for a new position.


  • Announcing your retirement too early can lead to some unwanted outcomes. If you're in a position of authority, consider the possibility that some employees may question your directives if they know you're not sticking around.

Things You'll Need

  • Retirement letter

Article Info

Categories: Retirement