How do you pick the right present as a gift or gift as a present?
People are different, so what may be the “perfect” gift for one person may be completely inappropriate and even offensive to another.
We’ve grouped the various retirement gift ideas into different categories to help you figure out the most suitable present for your loved one or colleague.
Sentimental Retirement Gift Ideas
Most retirees cherish sentimental retirement gifts, especially gift items that remind the receiver of the workplace memories or the beautiful relationship they share with the giver.
Here are a few ideas to get you on the right path.
Repurpose an Old Uniform
Find the retiree’s old uniform and repurpose it into a tote bag or large, custom stuffed doll. With a little bit of effort, you can find already-made everyday items online in a variety of uniforms. You can opt to design the gift item yourself if you are handy.
Saying goodbye to the workforce doesn’t mean severing all ties with their career. That’s why bronzing an item from their place of work can be a great sentimental retirement gift for new retirees.
For it to be more meaningful, pick an item that symbolizes their work and have it bronzed. It can be a working tool, a business card, or even their favorite boot!
Collection of Notes
This might take a little bit of effort, but you can pull it off with a bit of proper planning. Collect notes from colleagues, clients, and customers and arrange them in the form of a scrapbook.
This should bring back precious memories each time the recipient goes through them.
Funny Retirement Gift Ideas
A retirement gag gift can be a great present if you know the retiree’s sense of humor.
You don’t want your gift to be too demeaning or insulting, which is another way of saying you should be careful when choosing these types of gifts.
It is best to play it safe if you are unsure. Here are some suggestions that are generally safe and fun:
Retired Business Card
As an employee, your loved one has probably handed out business cards countless times. As a retiree, it is only appropriate (and funny) to give people a “Retired” card.
You can find these cards at online stores with a variety of funny card details, such as “Retired. Ask someone else,” “No deadlines,” “No obligations,” etc.
Bonus point: You save your loved one the time and effort of trying to explain to everyone that they are retired!
The meaning of time changes for you once you are retired, which makes a day clock a humorous but ideal gift for retirees.
Instead of an hour hand indicating the time of day, a day clock only tells you what day it is. That’s another way of saying to your loved one, “Relax and let the working stiffs worry about time!”
Gifting your newly retired dad, mum, or relative a magnifying glass is another way of saying “you’re too old, you’ll need help seeing!” but in a humorous way, of course.
Your loved one may not be a public figure or famous person, but gifting them a bobblehead designed to look like them will make them feel like icons.
Also, the disproportionately large head bobbing up and down the tiny body is sure to make them laugh each time they see the caricature.
Designer Walking Cane
A walking cane can make fun of a retiree’s status as an old person who needs help balancing their weight. Yet, it is not insulting, at least, to many older adults. This is especially true if the walking cane is a designer option.
Consider engraving the cane with the newly retired person’s initials to make it more personal. While walking canes are mostly used by men, a designer model will work great for older women, too.
For female retirees, a crown with the inscription “officially retired” (or something similar) can make them feel like royalty at their retirement party!
Regardless of what type of celebration you’ve planned, a retirement tiara can fit in nicely and cause lots of laughers.
Funny Coffee Mug
Okay, a coffee mug isn’t something really special as far as retirement gifts go. But you can customize it with a funny message that says, “I’m still working, but this time, I work for my wife!”
Obviously, this is for a retired man, and it will make him smile each time he drinks coffee from the mug.
A funny coffee mug with a “Goodbye tension and hello pension” message is a fantastic option that works for both men and women.
Commemorative Retirement Gift Ideas
Thinking of the most suitable gift ideas for a retiring colleague?
These timeless gift items are a fantastic choice. Plus, they can work for loved ones, too!
One of the all-time retirement gifts is a plaque. This can come in various materials, including wood, metal, or porcelain, and will typically hang on the wall.
Consider engraving their service dates to the company on the plaque to make the gift more commemorative.
Similar to a plaque, you can gift your retiring colleague a framed listing of their major workplace accomplishments throughout their career.
This will require a little bit of digging into their past, so make sure to get the correct information from reliable sources.
Done correctly, this gift should evoke a nostalgic feeling almost every time the retiring colleague sees this thoughtful present.
A signature gift is one of the most meaningful commemorative retirement gifts anyone could receive.
There are a couple of different ways you could do this, but the most straightforward approach would be to have a photo with plenty of whitespace around it for colleagues to sign their names. Frame the photo with the signatures and present it to your retiring college as a parting gift.
There is only one tiny detail that could potentially make it tricky to pull this off. It may be difficult to get others to sign their names if they don’t like this person too much or if the person wasn’t very friendly during their career.
If you prefer to present a commemorative retirement gift that doesn’t necessarily have to hang on a wall, consider creating a photobook.
The photos should follow a sort of storyline that chronicles the several significant career moments of your retiring colleague.
Again, you need to do a bit of research to fish out photos that capture meaningful career moments if this idea appeals to you.
Jar of Farewell Messages
Gift your newly retired colleague a jar filled with farewell messages from their former co-workers.
You can buy a jar with ready-made notes or make one yourself using blank cards if you wish. Doing it yourself means you will have to collect notes from other colleagues. If possible, fill the jar with 30 different farewell messages – one for each day of the month.
Fitness Retirement Gift Ideas
Retirement means no bosses to keep your former colleague or loved one on their toes.
It doesn’t take long before endlessly lounging on the sofa turns into a health problem. Help retirees keep fit in retirement with the following gift ideas:
Whether it is physical therapy, massage therapy, personal training, infrared sauna, or a combination of all (or some) of these options, a gift certificate to a health club or gym membership can be a great way to encourage staying fit.
Not everyone enjoys working out in a group. If that’s your loved one, consider gifting them any fitness equipment that will discourage a sedentary lifestyle.
While you can spend a few grand on a fitness bike or a couple of hundred dollars on a rowing machine, something as simple and affordable as a yoga mat, a wrist weight, or a hand-held strength-training device can also yield impressive results.
Presenting the “perfect” retirement gift is not just about how expensive or personalized an item is. People want to be acknowledged and appreciated – that’s what matters most.
Regardless of what your gift is, it will have more impact on the recipient if you can present it in person. Sincerely telling the retiree how their dedication, hard work, and accomplishments have inspired you means a lot to them.
Don’t forget to include your heartfelt message (preferably handwritten) in your gift. It will keep you fresh in the retiree’s mind long after the party is over.
John E Chambers is an experienced financial advice expert. Born in Chicago, he has a master's in Industrial Finance, but he has spent decades offering investment advice to businesses and individuals alike. He is the founder of RetireeWorkforce.com and wants the website to be valuable for retirement advice. In addition, he writes articles that help users jump-start their retirement plans and choose the best investment options. If not pondering over stock market statistics or reading some magazines, you can find John spending time with his family. As an early retiree, John also offers unique insights into what post-retirement life is like.