The time has come when you're ready to put away your work clothes for good and enjoy your golden years doing whatever you want -- no longer answering to an employer. This means it's time to compose your letter of retirement. Exactly what you put in this letter will depend on the job and experiences you have had, but there are a few general guidelines to follow.
Get Your Numbers
Before you sit down to your laptop to write your letter, gather together all the financial information you have for your place of employment. This includes retirement plans, pensions, employee savings plans and annuities. Also include lump sum payments and compensation for unused leave due to you when you leave the company. Likely, by this point, you've already had several meetings with your supervisor or the head of human resources to discuss your interest in retiring and gathering pertinent information. If you haven't, do so, as these are the terms of your retirement.
Open the letter by addressing your supervisor cordially and mentioning who you are. If you've spent the last 20 years in a small company where you've eaten at your boss' house on a regular basis, you won't need to go to great lengths to identify yourself. Mention your name, your job title and the number of years you've worked for the company. If you've worked for a large organization, you may need to include your employee identification number or similar items.
Express Your Intentions
Let the company know that you intend to retire, and give them the specific date on which you plan to leave. Depending on where you work, your employer may prefer that you give them ample warning. The University of Arizona, for example, wants retiring teachers to provide at least six months' notice. How much you need to provide will have been explained to you in your meetings with human resources. Mention the terms of your retirement and let the company know if you plan to continue contributing to medical, dental or other retirement plans, if available.
Even if you are tempted to go Greg Smith's route and blast your employers the way he did when he left Goldman Sachs (having his resignation letter printed in The New York Times, no less), leaving any bridges unburned is your best bet. Express your gratitude for the job you held, and even mention a few colleagues you enjoyed working with or a few memorable moments you couldn't have experienced if you hadn't worked there. End your letter by wishing the company much future success.
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