News and updates Retirement planning

What to include in your retirement letter (plus a template!)

If you’re preparing for retirement, your retirement planning checklist probably includes write my retirement letter.

You may have already had a conversation with your supervisor about your plans to retire. Submitting your retirement letter is how you formalize your retirement date and might be the step that helps your decision feel real. And so, perhaps you’re wondering how to write the letter and what to include.

Below, we’ve shared some tips, including from HR professionals from the education sector, on how to write a retirement letter. And we’ve put together a template retirement letter to help you get started.

Download the ultimate retirement planning resource bundle for Canadian education workers

We’ve packaged up our best retirement planning resources to
help you get retirement ready with confidence.

  • Retirement planning checklist
  • Template retirement letter
  • Your life by design ebook
  • Procrastinator’s guide to retirement
  • Esprit – our membership and insurance guide
  • Insurance comparison checklist
Estimated Retirement Year*
Email* (Please use your personal email address to make sure our emails get to you! We’ll never share your email with anyone else.)

How to write a letter of retirement

Check for any procedures or policies at your workplace

Many school boards and other organizations have procedures or policies for employees about retirement. Find out if your organization has a retirement procedure or policy. It might include specifics about what needs to be included in your letter and other important items to add to your retirement checklist.

Find out how much notice you need to give

If there is a procedure at your workplace, it may state how much notice is required. Another place to check is your employment contract or collective agreement.

“Employees should give two weeks, at least, but it can be more depending on their status in the company and legal statutory requirements outlined in the employment contract,” says Portia Daisy, HR professional within the post-secondary sector.

Depending on your role, you may want to give more notice. “If you have a senior position or difficult position to replace, a notice of three to six months is not unusual. This way, the company has enough time to recruit or train a new employee,” says Racquel Peters, an HR professional working in the educator sector.

Prepare your letter format

Plan to write your letter following a formal letter format, unless directed otherwise. Include the date, the recipient’s name, and the organization’s name and address at the top. It can be sent by email as an attachment.

Write the letter to your direct supervisor

Typically, you would write the letter to your direct supervisor. You can CC the manager above and the human resource department. Since you have a relationship with your supervisor, you can start the letter with ‘Dear’ and their first name.

Be clear about your plan to retire

The opening of your letter should clearly state that you’re planning to retire and your retirement date. Here are some options to consider:

  • I’m writing to inform you of my plan to retire from [organization name] effective [date].
  • Please accept this letter as notice of my retirement from [organization name] effective [date].

Include notes of gratitude or personal reflection, if appropriate

Many people like to include words of thanks or personal reflection. This can be a nice touch. It’s a personal preference and based on your experience. If you do decide to include thanks and thoughts in the letter, pay attention to the length. Try to keep the letter to one page.

Add information about dispensation of retirement gratuity, if applicable

If you’re eligible for a retirement gratuity, be sure your retirement letter specifies how you wish to receive the payout. To shelter the payment from tax, it must be deposited directly to an RRSP – not paid to you. Some employers allow the gratuity to be paid over two years – check with your HR department.

Other items you might include

While not necessary, depending on your role and relationship with your supervisor, you might also include:

  • Offer to help support the transition of work to your replacement
  • Interest in opportunities for contract or voluntary work with the organization
  • Plans to use remaining vacation time

Each of these items will need to be discussed with your direct supervisor and are dependent policies, whether restructuring might occur and other factors.

Peters says your experience can be valuable in training your replacement and more, so you can offer your support. “If you’d like to continue your association with the company on a limited basis, bring it up with your manager or HR. Many organizations use experienced consultants as needed.”

What to expect after you submit your retirement letter

  • You can expect to hear from your manager and the HR department to acknowledge that your letter is received.
  • You will likely meet with HR about the retirement program and benefits process. You may be asked to do an exit interview.
  • At some point, your retirement will be announced to your team and potentially within the organization.
  • You may also meet with your manager to provide insight on training your replacement.
  • And lastly, there’s likely to be a farewell event in your honour!

Template retirement letter


Manager first and last name
XYZ organization
5 Vacation St.
Futuretown, XY W3G 0B8

Dear [Manager first name],

Please accept this letter as notice of my retirement from [organization name] effective [date]. I submit this letter with mixed emotion. While I look forward to enjoying retirement, I have valued my time at [organization name].

In particular, I will never forget [an event or success that happened plus reflection/meaning]. I’m grateful for your support and encouragement during our time working together [if applicable, mention a specific way they’ve helped you.] I am also thankful for the many relationships I’ve built over the years.

I understand there’s a process to follow regarding retirement. I want to offer my support to prepare for my replacement. I’m also interested in supporting the organization on a contract basis if there’s an opportunity or need.

Please let me know if you would like to meet to discuss my plans.



[First and last name]


Human Resources