Retirement is a life event that can come with a mix of emotions: smiles and tears, excitement and uncertainty, a career full of memories and a future full of possibilities. When you add your own personal message to a retirement card, it’s a golden opportunity to emphasize the positives and make your recipient feel good about both past and future.
Need a few ideas for messages that make a new retiree feel honored, appreciated, and hopeful? Keep reading for writing tips and inspiration to help you do just that. Whether you’re writing to a colleague, friend, or family member, we’ve got a range of message approaches to help you strike just the right note when you sign your card.
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A straightforward congrats message can be just right after the card itself has already said a lot, or when you have a strictly-business kind of relationship with the retiree.
- “Congratulations on your retirement! So incredibly happy for you.”
- “With heartfelt congratulations on your retirement,”
- “Congratulations on a standout career and best wishes for your retirement!”
- “You’re retiring! I have to say, I’m a little jealous…but mostly just happy for you. Congrats!”
- “It’s been a privilege working with you, and now it’s an honor helping you celebrate your retirement. Congratulations to you.”
- “Just wanted to congratulate you on your years of great work and wish you every happiness in retirement.”
- “Here’s to my favorite new retiree! Celebrating you today!”
- “Wishing you good times, good health, and good friends beside you in your retirement.”
Pro Tip: If the card has already stolen your thunder by saying “Congratulations,” then how about one of these alternatives:
- Best wishes,
- All the best,
- Here’s to you! Cheers!
- Happy for you!
- Celebrating a job well done!
If you and the retiree are close and you know they’d appreciate a touch of humor, then feel free to share a laugh along with your warm wishes.
- “Are you sure you’re old enough to retire? I’m not quite buying it.”
- “So, that’s it? You’re leaving us just like that? Well…good for you!”
- “Have fun writing your next chapter! Try not to make it boring, okay?”
- “A toast to you as you retire! Granted, I’ll drink to about anything, but that doesn’t mean I’m any less happy for you!
- “Happy retirement! Time to live out your dreams…except the one where you’re in your skivvies in public.”
- “Bye-bye, early meetings…Hello, early bird special! Enjoy your newfound freedom!”
- “Cheers! So, where will you be traveling to first? And may I please come with you???”
- “You’re just like Jordan—going out at the top of your game. Congrats!”
Pro Tip: Avoid any mean-spirited humor. Laughing with—not at—is a good guideline.
Maybe you want to remind the new retiree they’ve truly earned this chance to enjoy a slower pace of life, and encourage them to pursue passions they may have put on hold.
- “You’ve worked hard for so many years. You deserve to relax and take it easy for a change. Enjoy it!”
- “Congratulations on your retirement! I know you’re really going to love having more time to spend with your kids and grandkids.”
- “Remember 8:00 a.m. meetings and year-end reports? Well, now’s your chance to stop remembering them. In fact, forget all about ‘em. You’re free!”
- “I’m smiling just thinking about you spending more time on the lake. Here’s to enjoying all your happy places in retirement!”
- “Wishing you all the best as you retire. Knowing you, you’ll still be busy as ever—but at least it will be with things you love doing!”
- “Warmest congratulations! Whatever plans you pursue in retirement, may you enjoy them all the more knowing how completely you deserve this happy time of life.”
- “Your someday is here. Enjoy!”
Pro Tip: Keep in mind that most retirees these days aren’t exactly headed out to pasture. Most will continue to remain fairly active—with friends, family, travel, volunteering, or maybe even a second-act career.
Especially for a retiree who truly loved their career, or devoted years of their life to the same job, you might want to emphasize the contribution they’ve made and they legacy they’re leaving.
- “Honoring your 27 years of tireless service to our team, and celebrating the legacy of hard work and dedication you leave behind.”
- “So in awe of the way you put your heart into your work for all these years. You not only made a huge difference, but also touched a lot of lives along the way.”
- “So proud of you and your remarkable career. Hope you are, too!”
- “This comes to congratulate you on an outstanding career and to thank you for the lasting contribution you’ve made.”
- “Nothing but the best—that’s what you always gave. And that’s what you’re wished as you retire.”
- “You’re a true professional who’s shown by example that excellence is something to aim for every day. You inspire everyone around you to be an do more—and I know that will only continue in your retirement.”
- “You are simply irreplaceable. Congratulations on your very well-deserved retirement.”
- “I won’t be one bit surprised when people start coming out of the woodwork to celebrate your retirement with you. Because work was never just about work for you. It was about taking good care of everyone around you.”
- “We love all that you did. Now go and do all that you love.”
Pro Tip: Need a good word to describe the retiree? Try one of these: dedicated, committed, hard-working, inspiring, caring, friendly, expert, professional, masterful, unforgettable, incomparable, invaluable, irreplaceable
Some go-getters are just barely getting started by the time they hit retirement. If that’s the kind or retiree you’re honoring, here are some message directions…
- “Congrats! I can tell you’re about to totally redefine what retirement means!”
- “Celebrating you as you retire. Can’t wait to watch you go put your energy where your passions are!”
- “Congratulations and best wishes! Looking forward to seeing what amazing thing you’ll do next…”
- “Here’s to taking the wide-open years ahead of you and turning them into an adventure!”
- “Cheers to your second act! May it be even more fantastic than the first.”
- “New places to go, new stories to live. Let the next chapter begin.”
- “You’re some who’s sure to keep doing, learning, and growing, even in retirement. I so admire that.”
Pro Tip: This kind of upbeat, future-focused message can be encouraging for both the recipient who knows exactly what they plan to do in retirement, and also the one who’s leaving things a little more open-ended. Either way, it’s great to communicate that you believe in them.
I’ll miss you may be a big part of what you want to write to a retiree you either worked with, or else knew primarily through their work (stylist, mail carrier, healthcare provider, accountant, etc.).
- “Sad for me but so happy for you! Congrats, and don’t be a stranger, okay?”
- “Congratulations on retiring! I sure am going to miss seeing you every day, but I wish you all the best.”
- “What an exciting change for you! Please keep me posted on all you’re doing in retirement. Looking forward to hearing your updates!”
- “I’m really going to miss your friendly, helpful, good-natured ways around here. Thanks for being you, and for making this such a special place to work.”
- “This place just won’t be the same without you. Miss you already!”
- “Here’s to you, Ms. Retiree! I definitely want to hear about what you’re up to, so here’s my contact info:”
- “I hate to see you go, but I love knowing you’ve got so much happiness ahead of you. Enjoy your retirement, and keep in touch!”
Pro Tip: Not sure if they have your phone number, email, or social-media handle to keep in touch? Write it in the card—either as part of your message or off to the side.
You’ll probably want to say many of the same things to a family member who’s retiring as you would to a friend or colleague—but maybe with a little extra pride and love mixed in.
- “With love and congratulations on your retirement,”
- “Mom, as you retire, I just want to remind you how proud I’ve always been of you and the work you do. You’ve set the example for me right from the start. You inspire me still…and you always will.”
- “Wonderful teacher to your students, wonderful friend to so many, wonderful brother to me…Celebrating a whole lot of wonderful as you retire!”
- “My favorite part of seeing you retire is knowing we’re about to have more sister time together! Happy for you! (And for me!)”
- “Congratulations on your retirement, Dad! As you celebrate, I hope you’re feeling incredibly proud, and also very loved.”
Pro Tip: With a family member or close friend, you’re more likely to know if they had any negative feelings about their job. But you don’t have to get into that. Instead, keep your message positive and future-focused.
A warm closing before your signature is like the bow on top of your message. Choose one of ours, or come up with one of your own.
- Best wishes!
- Best wishes for your retirement,
- All life’s best to you,
- Congratulations and best wishes,
- Warmest congratulations,
- Heartfelt congratulations,
- God bless,
- With love,
- Lots of love,
- Love always,