How To Let Your Employer Know You’re Retiring


Are you getting ready to retire? If you are, you’re likely already preparing for this significant transition in several ways.

One step in preparing for this process includes letting your employer know you’re retiring. Here, we’ll look at how to do so professionally and some key details you won’t want to miss throughout the process.

Preparing For The Conversation

Whether at your current company for months, years, or decades, you must effectively communicate your retirement plans to your employer. 

By doing so, you can feel assured that you left on a positive note, have maintained a good relationship with your employer (which may come in handy in the future), and that your boss and colleagues will have ample time to make arrangements concerning your departure.

Timing Is Everything

Speaking of time, there’s no set-in-stone rule about when to notify your employer that you’re retiring. There are many factors at play. 

Some components to consider when it comes to timing your announcement include the following:

  • The time of year (i.e., tax season is approaching, and you work for an accountant)
  • If you’re currently part of any projects, and if so, when their completion dates are
  • Possibly training a new employee or colleagues on your job duties and how much time that could take
  • Timing your announcement and departure with your goals in retirement in mind- personal, travel, financial, health, etc. 

It depends on what your role is at the company. For example, one article from Forbes suggests, “While a six-week notice might be sufficient for lower-level workers, three to six months (or longer) is more appropriate for senior-level or hard-to-replace employees.”

No matter what, sitting down to figure out the logistics of your timing beforehand is essential. This way, you don’t rush the transition and regret it later or do so in a last-minute manner that leaves others in the wrong position. 

Policies and Procedures

You’ll want to read up on your company’s retirement policies and procedures to ensure you do this correctly. You may even have contractual obligations or notice requirements you aren’t aware of. 

These policies can often be found in the company handbook, so read up on said procedures before you schedule any meetings with your employer. 

Having The Conversation

Regarding the actual conversation, it can’t hurt to have a structure in mind of what you’d like to discuss. This way, you can feel confident that all details have been covered and avoid leaving your employer or colleagues with any ambiguity. 

You may prepare certain things you’d like to include and ask about, including:

  • Why you are leaving your job
  • Your timeline for leaving
  • How to best transition, especially when it comes to shared work with colleagues or significant projects
  • Is there any opportunity for returning in the future (perhaps in a different capacity than your current role)
  • Gratitude for your job/boss/experiences at the company

Your employer may also have questions for you, such as how they should inform your coworkers about your leaving or if you’d consider other arrangements for working at the company. Preparing ahead for these questions can help you to feel more at ease. 

Submitting A Letter

After or during this conversation, you may decide to submit a resignation letter. This is simply a formal piece of paperwork that states the details of your retirement, often including the bullet points we’ve mentioned above. 

This can be an email or a letter. You may check ahead to see if this is a practice your company requires as part of the paperwork for your retirement. Here is an example of such a letter. 

Navigating the Transition Period 

As you navigate this period, you may not simply retire from full-time work to zero work. Many people find it more fulfilling to keep some element of work in their life. 

You may instead explore the possibility of a phased retirement or transition period, part-time work, consulting, freelance, or maybe a specific kind of arrangement with your employer that you wouldn’t know is possible without discussing it during your conversation with them. 

As you transition, you’ll want to keep your colleagues in mind. First, consider how you will share the news with them. You may send out an email, or maybe you prefer to tell people in person. 

You should clarify that you will be offering support and assisting in transferring knowledge to your colleagues. You can also clarify that you’ll be fully taking care of and wrapping up any outstanding work, responsibilities, or projects you have on your plate.  Overall, you’ll want to maintain a professional and positive demeanor and maintain relationships where you can. 

Last but not least, check in your employee handbook or with your employer about any further paperwork (besides the resignation letter) that may be required of you. By following your company guidelines, you can ensure a smooth transition and that your bases are covered before you leave. 

A New Chapter

Announcing your retirement is a big step towards a new chapter of your life. Preparing ahead of time, effectively communicating, and following policies and procedures can be a simple process that allows you to reflect on your professional experience, express gratitude, and confidently move forward. 

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