Nov 15, 2021

Retirement Messages: What To Write in a Retirement Card

by Verena Hallam

Writing the perfect retirement card is no small feat. Whether you’re losing your favourite colleague or celebrating a friend’s retirement, remember that retirement is a celebration! The message in your retirement card should:

  • Congratulate the retiree on their long, successful career
  • Express excitement for the possibilities during retirement
  • Thank the retiree for their hard work, their impact, or their example

If your retirement message includes all of these elements, it’s likely to be a winner. But, even though their departure from the workforce may seem sad, focus on the positive and remember that life doesn’t end when your career does.

Retirement Messages For a Colleague

It can be especially difficult to accept retirement if you’re losing someone you work with. But, in all likelihood, retiring is a positive transition for your colleague, so your note should be cheerful and appreciative. But, there are also some big no-nos for colleagues’ retirement cards:

Do: - Express sadness that they’re leaving the company (but not too much) - Thank them for their impact on your life or the workplace - Offer well wishes for their retirement

Don’t: - Ask if they’ve saved enough for retirement - Remark upon their advanced age - Tell them that the company is going to crash and burn after they leave

While some of these may seem like obvious guidelines, it can be hard to keep a level head when losing a beloved colleague. Check out these examples of emotionally balanced, positive retirement card messages:

“Dave, I’m sad to see you go, but I’m thrilled for you to start this next chapter of your life. Ever since my first day at the company, you’ve taught me numerous valuable lessons and skills, and I’ll be forever grateful for your impact on my life. Congratulations on achieving this milestone, and best of luck in your retirement.”

“Congratulations on your retirement, Lucy! It’s going to be hard not having you in the office because you make such a significant impact on the workplace every day. But, whatever you pursue in retirement, I’m sure you’ll make your mark and provide a smile for everyone you meet. I wish you a joyful and relaxing retirement, and I hope you keep in touch!”

“Connie, Taco Tuesdays in the staff room aren’t going to be the same without you! You have a standing invitation to join us anytime. You’ve been such an impressive force at the company, and your tenacity and poise are inspiring. Thank you for the impact that you’ve had on this office and in my life. I hope you have a blast in retirement!”

Each of these messages provides emotional vulnerability without devolving into negativity or profound sadness. If you’re having a hard time keeping it together during a colleague’s retirement, remember that this is an exciting new chapter in their life!

Retirement Messages For Your Boss

If your boss is retiring, it can shake up the workplace culture. Losing a boss results in a difficult transition for the remaining employees, but it’s important to convey a positive message to the retiree.

Or, in some cases, you’ll be thrilled that your boss is retiring. If you don’t like them, or you’re looking forward to exciting new changes at your company, you’re going to have to control those emotions when you write your retirement message. Here are some tips:

Do: - Thank your boss for their leadership - Congratulate them on a successful career - Encourage them to keep in touch

Don’t: - Tell the retiree that you’re happy about their departure - Comment on who was promoted to their position (if relevant) - Tell them that you’re excited to be under new leadership

Whether you love your boss or you’re thrilled to see them go, send them off on a high note. Check out these examples of impactful and tasteful retirement messages for your boss:

“Congratulations on your retirement Stacy! While you’ll leave behind big shoes to fill, I’m so grateful for your leadership. It was a pleasure to watch the positive impact you made on this company; you’ve had such a successful career. Have an outstanding retirement, and keep in touch.”

“Laura, congratulations on your long and successful career and your well-deserved retirement. This company wouldn’t be the same without you, and I’m lucky to have met you. Thank you for making your mark on this company. Please don’t be a stranger. Have a fun and relaxing retirement!”

“Kris, I’m going to miss having you as a boss. But, I’m glad that after such a successful career, you’ll have a chance to relax and explore the world during your well-deserved retirement. Thank you for your mentorship throughout my time here; I’m grateful to have known you. Have an excellent retirement, and keep me posted on your adventures!”

The messages above are upbeat, grateful, and encouraging. You can also expand each of these messages to include more personalised details and anecdotes. Whether you’d prefer to keep it brief or open up a little more, keep the tone positive and focused on retirement.

Retirement Messages For a Friend

There are benefits and drawbacks when your friends begin to retire. If you’re already retired, or if you have a lot of free time, your friends will have more time to hang out with you after their career ends. But, whether or not you’re retired, a friend’s retirement can serve as a reminder that you and your friends are aging.

While a friend’s retirement is often bittersweet, your retirement message should reflect pride, excitement, and positivity. Here are some Dos and Don’ts for friends’ retirement card messages:

Do: - Tell your friend that you’re proud of them - Express excitement for the activities you’ll do together - Thank them for their friendship

Don’t: - Mention their age, or talk about aging - Express jealousy if you’re not yet retired - Imply that all they’ll do in retirement is hang out with you

Watch how these tips come to life in the following examples:

“Congratulations on your retirement, Larry! You’ve had an impressive career, and I’m proud to know you. I’m excited for all of the fishing and hunting we’ll get to do now that you’re retired, and I hope you start planning those bucket list trips you’ve always been talking about. Thanks for being such a great friend over the years. I’m happy to celebrate this milestone with you!”

“Janelle, I’m so proud of you! You’ve had such an amazing career, and your accomplishments have inspired me and so many others. I’m looking forward to spending time with you during your retirement, and I’m overjoyed to be your friend. Congratulations!”

“Cody, I’m ecstatic about your retirement. After such a successful career, you deserve time to relax, take up a new hobby, or travel. I look forward to our Monday night trips to the cinema, and all of the other mischief we’ll get into now that we’re both retired. I’m proud of you, and I’m grateful for your friendship. Congrats on your well-deserved retirement!”

Each of these messages combines well-wishes, pride, and gratefulness into a joyful package. After all, a friend’s retirement is something to celebrate! If you follow the guidelines above and remember the three major elements of a successful message, you’ll be sure to write a retirement card that makes an impact.

Funny Retirement Messages

While retirement messages can be emotionally vulnerable and express pride, they can also be funny! If you fancy yourself a comedian, take a stab at a humorous retirement message. But, keep the following in mind to ensure you write a message that’s in good taste:

Do: - Make light of appropriate things - Express sincerity - Write a card that matches the retiree’s sense of humour

Don’t: - Make jokes about age - Rely on sarcasm, which can be hard to deliver on the page - Resort to dark humour

And the most important tip of all: let someone else read your message before you write it in the card. It’s always wise to get a second opinion, and you want to make sure that your funny retirement message hits home without accidentally offending. Check out these examples:

“Clark, I’m so happy to hear that you’re retiring. But if I could make one request: please don’t join a nudist colony, a cult, or a fringe religion. I know you’ll have lots of free time, but don’t let the temptation get the better of you. Bridge and golf are exciting enough! In all seriousness, I’m so proud of you and this achievement. Congratulations on your retirement, and don’t let the extra time get the best of you!”

“Congratulations on your retirement, Annie! Jake and I are taking bets on what type of retired person you’ll be, so please clear it up for us. Will you be lounging in your pyjamas, being fed grapes and cheese by a shirtless pool boy, or will you be training for marathons and doing water aerobics? Both? Neither? I’ve got £100 on the pool boy option, but don’t let that sway you. Congratulations on a successful career. I hope your retirement is filled with grapes and cheese!”

“Mum, congratulations on your retirement. Looks like you’re going to have lots of free time, so you’ll be available to take care of your grandkids every day of the week now, right? Childcare is getting expensive. Could you clear your calendar until they’re all done with high school? Jokes aside, I hope your retirement is relaxing and fulfilling. I’m proud of you. The grandkids are ready for a sleepover whenever you are!”

The key to a funny retirement message is keeping it light and offering a degree of sincerity. As suggested, running your message by a friend or family member is a great way to ensure that your message doesn’t miss the mark.

Happy Retirement Messages

Happy retirement messages come in all shapes and sizes. But, for crafting general, positive retirement messages comes down to a quick recipe for success. There are only three ingredients:

Congratulations + Excitement + Thankfulness = Successful Retirement Message

For retirees you may not have a deep relationship with, this formula will help you write a message without grasping at straws. For example:

“Congratulations on your retirement, Lakiesha! I’m excited for you to start this new chapter in your life, and I’m grateful to be a part of it. Congrats!”

Despite its brevity, this message, which doesn’t expand much on the formula, is sincere and heartfelt. But, the equation offers room to grow, and you can elaborate more in your message while achieving the three major elements:

“Rosa, I’m so excited for you. For as long as I’ve known you, you’ve had an outstanding work ethic, and all of your hard work has paid off. I can’t wait to see what you’re up to during your retirement, because I’m sure you’re going to keep it interesting! I’m glad to be a part of your life, and I’m so thankful to be able to celebrate this achievement with you. Congratulations!”

This example is a little longer but still follows the formula. Including more personalised details in a retirement card message can provide additional sincerity. It’s okay to pull on the retiree’s heartstrings, as long as you keep the message upbeat and congratulatory.

Armed with the tips to help you in a variety of circumstances, you’re ready to write a successful, impactful, and meaningful retirement card message. The Perfect Retirement Message While there’s no one-size-fits-all, “perfect” message for a retirement card, there are certainly some elements that appear in every awesome retirement message.

Writers should congratulate the retiree on their successful career, show excitement about their retirement, and thank the retiree for their impact on their workplace, the good example they set throughout their career, or their friendship.

Whether you’re saying a bittersweet farewell to your favourite colleague, losing a great boss to retirement, or welcoming friends into the next chapter of their lives, these retirement card message tips will help you craft an outstanding note.

While you’ll need to pay attention to some comedic boundaries to write a funny message, happy retirement messages are generally easy to create.

You’re officially ready to show off your retirement card message writing skills!