What to Write in a Retirement Card

retirement message what to write in a retirement card

What to write in a retirement card

So, you’ve found the perfect retirement card, but now the hard part… what should you say to the person retiring? Knowing what to write in a retirement card isn't easy. Retirement is a big deal, something most people look forward to for forty or so years (Wow, it makes me tired just writing that!) And with the boomer generation at that age, chances are you’ll be sending retirement congratulations a lot.

I’ve put together some tips for coming up with the perfect retirement message. And for those of you suffering from writer’s block, I’ve include some examples and fil-in-the blank to get you started.

Use the appropriate tone.

This may seem obvious, but your message should fit the relationship you had with the person. If it’s for an acquaintance, keep it general and optimistic. You want to steer clear of snarky humor if you don’t know the person well and aren’t sure how it will be received. If it’s someone you’re closer to, go for a more personal message and use your good judgment about how much humor to add based on how well you know the person.

Speak from your heart.

Keep it casual and conversational. Imagine what you would say if you were standing in front of the person. Sometimes the best messages are the ones that are top of mind and come naturally. 

Be positive.

The person retiring may have mixed feelings about what’s to come in his or her life. While most people look forward to retirement, some may feel a bit of sadness about no longer being a part of the team. Include positive words of appreciation about their contributions to the company/department, and be optimistic about how they’ll continue to make a difference in the world, through their interests, hobbies, grandchildren, etc.

Be specific.

Let them know how they’ve helped you personally (or the company/department). If there was a particular project you worked on together, mention it and thank them for it. This is a card they're probably going to keep, so it's likely they'll read it again years later. Mentioning something that will take them back to that time in their lives is a nice touch.

Let them know they’ll be missed.

If there are certain responsibilities they were in charge of, you could mention those details and convey how much their work will be missed by all. For instance, "Sarah, You always made organizing the annual retreat so easy. I don't know how we'll handle all of the details without you!"

Tell them to keep in touch.

Just because they’re leaving the company doesn’t mean they’re leaving friendships. Tell them you look forward seeing them at lunch sometime soon. (And if you make that promise, don't forget to follow-up on it in the future!)

Retirement Messages Examples

In case you need some extra help, here are some examples of short retirement messages that can be used individually or combined for longer messages. 


"Congratulations on your retirement..." (choose from the options below.)


“You’ve made such an impact here. We are so grateful for all you’ve done to make our team (dept., company) a success.


"Without you, we never would have been able to (add major accomplishment).” Thank you. You will be missed.


“I’ll never forget the time we (fill in the blank). I still can’t believe we pulled it off! Thank you for always being there.”


"As you start this new phase of your life, I wish you the greatest happiness. Now you'll have time to focus on (add hobby here). I know the very best is yet to come!


I wish you health, joy and great happiness. Please keep in touch and give me details on your wonderful new life, so I can live vicariously thorough you!


If you start getting sentimental and missing the working world (yeah right!), just tune in to an episode of "The Office," and I’m sure that will bring things back into perspective. We'll miss you!


You gave your best; now it’s time to rest!

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