Ways To Wish Coworkers And Friends A Happy Retirement

Retirement is such a momentous event — after decades in the workforce, being able to relax and focus on passions other than work is a wonderful gift. If you know someone who is retiring, wishing them a happy retirement—whether it’s writing a thoughtful message on a retirement card or saying something thoughtful in person—can be really meaningful to share colleague retirement wishes as they make a big transition to retirement life.

Whether your retiree is a colleague, friend, or family member, we’ve put together a list of examples to help inspire you as you communicate your best wishes and good luck for your retiree. This article is part of a series and we've also got you covered if you'd like to pair your message with a thoughtful retirement gift or if you’re planning an amazing retirement party!

Celebrate a retirement with words of congratulations! 🎉

It’s a thoughtful and heartfelt way to show a loved one how much they’re cared about and appreciated as they move to their next phase of life. See our retirement cards here.


How do you congratulate someone on their retirement?

A simple message congratulating your retiree on their well-deserved retirement can be all that it takes. A short and simple message can be an effective way to wish your coworker or friend a happy retirement. Even with a few words you can offer colleague retirement wishes of good health, happiness, and congratulate them on their remarkable achievement. If you’re unsure of what to write, a simple congratulations message is a safe bet.

At Kudoboard, we have the privilege of some extra insight for meaningful happy retirement wishes — people use Kudoboard to create retirement group cards for friends and colleagues every day!

Here are the types of kind and simple messages we often see written on Kudoboards to retiring colleagues:

“Congratulations on your well-deserved retirement! Wishing you all the best on the new chapter ahead of you! It has been a pleasure to work with you.”

“Congratulations! Your years of hard work have paid off and I’m so excited for this next part of your life. Have fun enjoying all the things you may not have had time for when you were working 9-5. Happy retirement and best wishes!”

“Happy retirement and congratulations! It’s been an honor to work with you and I wish you all the best with all the good things to come. In my time spent working alongside you, I always knew I could depend on your help and insight. You’ve earned some more time to yourself.  Best wishes!”

“Grateful to have worked with you. Look forward to celebrating with you in person when we have a chance to get together. Congratulations on your retirement!”

What do you say on a retirement card? 

When the retirement card gets passed around the office (or, even better, the group ecard sent via Slack), what should you say? Speaking from the heart is always a great option, or you might turn to some beautiful retirement quotes. Here are some examples of the kind of simple and effective colleague retirement wishes we see on Kudoboard retirement messages written to friends and family:

“Happy retirement, Mom! I’m so excited for you! You’ve worked hard for your team and for your family for many years. Glad you’ll have more time to spend with the family and more time to spend on your favorite hobbies. Here’s to the many years of camping, reading, gardening, and learning to come!”

“Congratulations on your retirement, Dad! We’re all proud of you and you deserve all the wonderful things to come. Can’t wait to be able to spend more time with you!” 

“Congratulations, Jane! You’ve had a great career and I’m so glad you’ll have more time to spend with yourself, with your family, and with friends like me!”

“Congratulations on your retirement, Joe! You’re my brother-in-law, but I’ve always thought of you as a brother. You’ve always been dedicated to your job and I know you will be missed by your teammates. Happy retirement!”

“So happy that you’re going to retire grandma! I cannot wait to see you more and to be able to spend more time with you. You’ve worked so hard and you deserve to relax and retire.“

How do you thank someone for their retirement? 

Another great way to offer a colleague retirement wishes is to thank them for their hard work, mentorship, service, or other impressive achievements that have positively impacted your life as they move into retired life. 

“Congratulations on reaching this milestone! It’s been great to work with you over the years and we will all miss working with you. Thank you for your hard work and support all these years.”

I have so many favorite memories of growing up with you that it’s hard for me to pick just one. But one memory that really stands out is the time I was worried about not getting an A on my sixth-grade math exam. You tutored me all every day the week leading up to the exam to help me be prepared for my test. With your help, I ended up getting an A on that test and in my class. You were always kind, patient, and the best brother to me! Congratulations on your retirement. Lots of love from your younger brother!”


What can I say instead of happy retirement? 

Share Your First Memory

If you want to go beyond a boring greeting card signature, remind your retiree of the first time you met them —writing a message of the great first impression your retiree had on you can be a fantastic way to show how much they mean to you. Whether you met your retiree at work, school, or elsewhere, a fond first memory and congratulations message is sure to bring joy to your retiree. (Bonus points if you upload a photo or video, which you can do with any Kudoboard!)

Here are some examples of first memory messages written to a colleague to get inspiration from:

“I remember the first time we met like it was yesterday, it was back in 2015 when I first joined the team. You helped to onboard me and taught me all the tools the team uses — from the first day on the team you always made me feel comfortable asking questions and coming to you for advice. You’ll be missed and I wish you good health, financial security, and long retirement.”

“It’s been such a pleasure to have been able to work with you these last 15 years. We first met when we worked as community volunteer coordinators in 2006. You immediately impressed me with your attention to detail, dedication, expenses, and budget management, and your sincerity when working and getting to know our volunteers. Working alongside you on various volunteer opportunities, you’ve taught m 4e a host of wonderful things over the years, and for that, I will be forever grateful. You will be missed!”

“Congratulations on your retirement, boss! I remember the first time we met during my interview — you spoke to me with sincerity, you showed me your passion for the job, and I instantly recognized your leadership skills. It’s been a wonderful experience to have you as my boss, and I am glad to see your retirement plan happen. I’ll be saving you a spot at my table anytime when we’re able to get together and I can express my gratitude to you in person.”

Here are some examples of first memory messages written to friends to get inspiration from:

“We met at Stanford as freshman roommates in the summer of 1982. I was moving in, it was the first time I was away from home, and I was a bit scared to be living with someone new. As soon as we met I knew we were going to be great friends and I was a lot less nervous. Who would’ve thought my freshman roommate would end up being one of my lifelong best friends? So happy for your friendship, and so happy for your early retirement. Can’t wait to celebrate at your retirement party when we’re all able to get together!”

“I can still remember the first time we met — it was the first day of practice on our rec league soccer team at the young age of 26 and I was impressed at how you were always finding the back of the net! After we the whole team went out and you were so engaged when we chatted that it felt like I was talking with an old friend. Decades later, and we are now officially old friends! You deserve a wonderful retirement, good physical health, and more time to spend with your grandkids and loved ones. Maybe we can join a seniors rec league when I retire too! Happy retirement and congratulations!”

“We first met as older adults at the age of 53 when our kids married and our families came together. We instantly hit it off and I knew we'd be fast friends. It's always been such a pleasure discussing literature, working on retirement planning together, and going on runs to keep our physical activity up as we enter the age of retirement. Your friendship has been such a benefit to me, and I can only hope mine has been beneficial to you as well. Congratulations on your retirement!”

How do I write a retirement letter?

If someone special is retiring, sometimes what you want to say can’t fit in a group card. Instead, a heartfelt letter is an appropriate way to express your feelings and colleague retirement wishes for the honored retiree. Our favorite way to write a retirement letter is sharing congratulations and thanks, like those listed above, but also taking the time to recite a favorite story about them. 

Share A Favorite Story About Them

Share one of your favorite stories about your retiree—we love seeing folks share their favorite stories about their retiree. It can be a memory of a favorite camping trip you took with them, the time you saw them go above and beyond to make a project successful at work, an important conversation you had with them, anything! The best thing about hearing favorite stories is that they can vary so much—have fun with this type of retirement message and let your retiree know what a memorable impact they’ve had on you.

Here are some examples of favorite stories colleagues have shared on retirement Kudoboards:

I remember the launch day for the company mobile app you stayed in the office until 3 am to make sure everything was running smoothly. When we were monitoring the launch you always stayed positive and helped us work through any issues that came up — it was also amazing when at midnight you surprised the entire team with a pizza delivery! You will be truly missed by the team!”

“Every day you helped to make our workplace a more engaging and fun place to be. I remember when you started hosting your monthly trivia at the company cafeteria, the first time you hosted trivia night you had twenty people who showed up, the next month you hosted, forty people showed up because everyone had heard about how much fun it was! Your ease in social interaction while hosting trivia will always be fondly remembered. Have an amazing retirement!”

“Congratulations on retiring! So glad you’ll be able to spend more time with your family, friends, and enjoying your favorite hobbies. I can still recall the time you lobbied the company for a new coffee machine and once-a-week lunch delivery, and you managed to make it happen! Now thanks to you, every day I’m able to get my day going with a good cup of coffee, and I always have free Friday lunch in the office to look forward to. Thanks for everything you did for the team over the years.  It’s been an honor and privilege to work with you.”

Here are some examples of the kinds of stories friends and loved ones have shared on Kudoboards for their retirees:  

“Congrats on your retirement! You are one of the best friends I have, and the yearly Yosemite backpacking trip you plan is one of the things I look forward to most every year. I still remember the year when we all hiked to the top of half dome to watch the sunrise, I’ll always cherish that memory. I hope we can keep having so many more adventures like that now that you’ll have more time on your hands to plan. Happy retirement!”

“You’re a wonderful friend and the best travel mate! For decades, you’ve been getting people together for trips around the U.S. and the world. One of my favorite memories was the trip to Stockholm you organized for the dead of winter. Our last night you booked us a dinner at a traditional Viking restaurant and we had an amazing time — the host announced our arrival to everyone at the restaurant and all the people in the restaurant got on top of their tables and cheered their glasses at us. I don’t know how you manage to find these unique places, but I’m glad I’ve been lucky to have been able to be there when you have. Congratulations on your retirement and on your many adventures to come!"


When you’re writing a message to your retiree, your message can be as short or as long as you want it to be, just remember to keep it sincere and remind your retiree of the impact they've had on you. Whether you are writing a retirement message to a coworker, friend, or family member, we’d love to help you celebrate your retiree! Check out these retirement party ideas, or start a retirement Kudoboard today! 

Julio Gonzalez

Julio Gonzalez is a Kudoboard team member who enjoys assisting customers and delighting friends and family with personalized gift and Kudoboards. He shares his favorite tips for milestone celebrations on the Kudoboard blog.