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Telling your employer you’re ready for retirement

Written by: Charlotte Rogers
Published on: 10 Apr 2023

Retirement from engineering

A lot of job related articles are around finding a new job, developing your career and finding something that suits you. However, things change and the job seeking process isn’t infinite. At some point, most of us will leave the workplace and start a new chapter. This article discusses retirement and how you discuss this with your current employer. 

Preparing for retirement can feel daunting. Much like handing in your job resignation, retiring from work can feel complicated. Especially because you’ve probably never done it before. It’s always the uncertainty that can make a situation feel worse than it is. If you’ve made up your mind and you’re ready to retire, you should get ready to submit a retirement letter to your employer. This article will discuss how to write a retirement letter and how you can make the transition a comfortable and easy one. 

Retirement - what is it and when can I retire?

Simply said, retirement is when a person stops working altogether. Whether that be because of age, financial security, lifestyle choice or sometimes health reasons. There is no one reason why someone will retire, much like resigning, some people may have their own reasons. Retirement age can also depend on the points made earlier. If you’re unable to work for health reasons, there is no age determining when you can and cannot retire. If you are retiring for age related reasons, the usual age is somewhere between 65 and 70. This can be connected to the age your state pension can be claimed, depending on the place you live. 

How do I plan my retirement?

Likelihood is, you’ve been preparing for retirement longer than you may think. If you have a private pension, you’ve probably been saving for the majority of your adult life. So, when you feel it’s the right time for you or if you are financially secure enough to do so, you can start to think about retiring from work. 

This can be a big decision to make. When you’re not working, what do you want to be doing? Some people don’t have the opportunity to plan everything, but if you can, why not think of something else you’ll want to be doing with your new spare time. Are you going to invest this time in a hobby, project, volunteering, or travel? The list can be endless, but a lot of people do like to have some kind of a plan before they take the plunge and leave the workplace. 

Take the time you need to reflect on this decision. Much like quitting your job, it shouldn’t come lightly. Just because you are at a particular age, doesn’t mean you have to retire. Make sure you are doing it because you want to. Make a pros and cons list, make plans, discuss with your friends and family. There’s no one way to make this choice, but it has to be you that makes it. 

Understand your employer’s retirement policies

Much like resignation, companies are entitled to a notice period. They need time to be able to find your replacement and if necessary, give time for you to train the new employee. There are also retirement packages that you may be entitled to from your employer, so making yourself aware of these things beforehand can help the process go a lot smoother. Ensure you are asking the relevant questions to the HR department as well. They are there to help you, so make sure you’re utilising them as a resource. 

Telling your employer

If you haven’t already had a conversation with your employer about your plans for retirement, now is as good a time as any. Make sure they are aware of your intentions and they will be able to help you and provide the support that you need. As well as letting them know your intentions, it’s best that you provide a formal, written notice when you have decided when to leave your job. Your notice of retirement will help set a date for your last day, help them prepare for you leaving and ensure they are giving you the best support up until then. 

Your formal letter of retirement will also be included in your employment records and may be used when you access your state and personal pension. 

Your retirement letter

When writing your retirement letter, there are a few things you should be aware of. From addressing the letter to your last day at work, there is a list of things you should be including when writing this document. 

Address it to the correct person - If you’re unsure on who to address your retirement letter to, simply ask. Different companies expect different things, some may ask for it to be addressed to your line manager and others will expect it to be sent to your HR manager. It’s an easy question to find the answer for. 

Your last day - Make sure you are making it very clear when your last day of employment will be. Depending on your notice period, which you can find in your contract, this may be different depending on the company. Retirement can sometimes have different timeframes as well, so be sure of your rights and what your notice period should or can be.

Give thanks - Even though you plan on leaving work, you don’t want to burn bridges. You want to thank your employer for the opportunity, much like you would when resigning from your position. Your network will still exist after retirement and you never know, there may be further opportunities. 

Provide contact details - This one isn’t a necessity but if you feel as if you’d like to stay in contact, give them a way of getting in touch. This is a nice gesture but not one you need to feel obligated to do. Choose whatever makes you comfortable. 

Don’t forget

When you retire, you may be entitled to certain benefits. Make sure you have had an in-depth discussion with your HR director / manager and ensure that both parties know what is expected. It’s really important that you’re all on the same page whilst you still work there. It may be more difficult to get in contact once you have left the company. It’s just good practice to ask these types of questions before you hand in your retirement notice. It can save a lot of hassle later on. 

Retirement can be a scary concept to grasp. It’s likely you’ve been working for most of your life and it can be a difficult thing to give up. But there are exciting things ahead. Enjoy it.