Retirement cards are available from card shops and online sources, but their generic messages may not express what you want to say to a retiree. Whether you are a relative, friend, or co-worker, you will want to express your congratulations along with personal thoughts on the occasion. For some people, the prospect of retirement is one of mixed feelings, and a few supportive words can be extremely meaningful to the recipient.
Start With Congratulations
Make the first part of your note on a retirement card express congratulations. Depending on your personal perspective, add a comment about how the person seems too young to be retiring, how excited you are for the retiree, or how you are pleased the person will be joining you in retirement.
Thoughts From Coworkers
After congratulating the retiree, as a co-worker you can delve into past work experiences the two of you have shared. Talk about the positive influences the retiree has had on you at work---either as a mentor, someone to bounce ideas off of, or a sounding board. Think of a funny or meaningful experience the two of you shared, beginning with, "I'll always remember the time we. . . ." Some retirees might enjoy a list you create of "10 things you'll never have to do again," such as "Wednesday afternoon staff meetings." Another list idea is to write "Now who's going to . . . ?" and then come up with questions about who will see to some of things the retiree was known for at work. End the note with a concrete suggestion about when the two of you will next get together, such as, "Let's plan on a dinner out on me next week; tell me what day is good for you."
Thoughts From Family and Friends
Depending on your relationship with the retiree, along with your congratulations, comment on what those years of hard work have meant to you. A husband or wife might say a few words of pride in the spouse's accomplishment. Children of the retiree might want to do that as well, and they can recognise the parent's financial support for lessons, college education, and other activities. Moving into the future, a note on a retiree's card from a family member might indicate what the retirement will mean in terms of free time. A husband or wife might mention some of the things they have thought about doing in retirement, whether it is volunteering, gardening, or travelling. Children might write notes about how much they look forward to the parent having more time to spend with them and the grandchildren. A friend might write something about shared interests: "Now that you'll have all that time to practice, I guess my golfing superiority is in serious jeopardy." Older friends might welcome their friend to retirement and offer advice based on their experiences.
- Personal Notes: How to Write from the Heart for Any Occasion; Sandra E. Lamb; 2003