What To Do Before You Retire: Step 1, Notify HR
The time has come and you’re ready to retire after a long career with the same company – congratulations! But wait, there’s one more thing you have to do: You have to tell HR.
It might not come as a big surprise – your supervisor knows your age and that retirement is looming. However, it’s important to leave on a good note and remain professional when you inform your company that the time is now.
Saying goodbye to a lengthy career will conjure up feelings as varied as an individual’s career. While some employees leave holding a grudge, others find it very sentimental. Regardless of your feelings, the best approach is to retire professionally with a grateful tone.
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In an ideal scenario, have a brief conversation about your upcoming retirement plan with your supervisor before you tell your friends and co-workers. Let him or her know that you’re thinking about retirement. This noncommittal heads-up approach leaves the door open. It also gives you time to consider retirement options – don’t miss out on some extra cash by retiring in the wrong month! Many decisions that are made at this time could potentially impact your way of living for the next 20 or 30 years. One wrong move could change where you live, how you live and what legacy you are able to leave behind.
Be wise and have general water-cooler conversations about vacation pay, sick leave, profit sharing, pensions, stock options and bonuses. Then dive into the HR manual to explore the details to confirm what you have heard. The most crucial detail is the required minimum notice. Make sure your personal-notice time is more than the required minimum. If you work on a team and have projects, you will want to give a two- to six-month notice. This will give your company time to find a replacement. This will also give your Human Resources Department time to calculate any unpaid sick pay and vacation pay and discuss your retirement plan with you. You’ll want to run the numbers so you know where you need to be to reach the retirement goals you planned for. You’ll want to tackle blind spots before it’s too late. And you obviously want to avoid any costly mistakes that will set you back.
You’ll also want to make sure you notify them of any change in mailing address, so they can forward any crucial communications in the future. Knowing what to do before you retire will make the retirement process smoother and more valuable.
Sometimes, larger companies have their own formal retirement letter. If not, you can find many sample letters to help you get started. Make sure you sign and date this letter before you hand-deliver it and/or email it to your supervisor. It should be positive, including the joys and takeaways from working with the company.
Once it is official, you can announce to all your friends and colleagues that you aren’t retiring; you are PIVOTing into the next chapter of life!
When I wrote my second book “18 to 80: A Simple and Practical Guide to Financial Freedom and Retirement for ALL AGES” (available for purchase in late 2018/early 2019), I wanted to create a guide for people of all ages so they would know what to do before you retire and how to ensure financial stability. One of those tasks is professionally notifying Human Resources that you plan to retire. We are offering this information in a complimentary bonus chapter linked below. Here you will find a sample notification letter and other tips on how to handle notifying your company of your upcoming retirement. Life is better when you are prepared.
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