For military retirees see “Military Retired – How to Address” in the list of links on your right.

How to Write My Name as a Retiree?

What is the proper use of my former title on business cards now that I am retired?  Is it acceptable to use my previous work title with a ‘retired’ following the title?
—————-– S.C.

Dear S.C.

Neither business nor social cards include former offices you’ve held.

—-#1) Business Cards: The purpose of a business card is to transfer contact information. As is implied in the name, it’s exchanged so people can be in contact for some work-related activity. These cards have the official form of your name, company name, job title and contact information. They include post-nominal abbreviations like Ph.D., M.D., M.B.A. or R.N. A business card is not your resume/CV.

—-#2) Social Cards: What you are asking about is a social card (calling card) which is a rare thing now-a-days. Social cards have the social form of your name and  contact information. It does not include company names or job titles. Since it’s the social form of one’s name – it does not include professional post-nominal abbreviations: Ph.D., M.D., M.B.A., R.N., etc.
—-But the social form of your name does include a personal rank if you have one: Dr., Ambassador, Judge, or General.  With it you will at least hint on your past endeavors.

Note on military ranks: ‘Branch of service’ or ‘retired status’ are included in the official form of one’s name but are not part of the social form of one’s name.

– Robert Hickey

–_-Related Forms of Address:
—-—-Boy, Girl, Child
—-—-Couples: Military
——–Couples: Private Citizens

——–Couples: U.S. Officials
Couple, Same Sex
—-—-First Names
—-—-Man or Woman, Social
——–Woman, Married
—-—-Mrs. vs. Ms.
—-—-Spouse of an Official

—-See these Posts on Types of Officials:
Candidate for Office
—-—-The Honorable, Use of
—-—-The Late, Use of
—-—-Pro Tempore

Not Finding Your Question Answered?

—-#1)  At right on desktops, at the bottom of every page on tablets and phones, is a list of all the offices, officials & topics covered on the site.

—-#2)  After checking the list and reading the posts, if you don’t see your question answered send me an e-mail. I am pretty fast at sending a reply: usually the next day or so (unless I am traveling.)  Note: I don’t have mailing or Email addresses for any of the officials and I don’t keep track of offices that exist only in history books.

—-#3)  If I think your question is of interest to others, I will post the question & answer – always changing the names and specifics.

— Robert Hickey

The Protocol School of Washington (PSOW) was founded in 1988 and offers open-enrollment, classroom-based programs where students learn to become a licensed Intercultural Etiquette and Protocol Trainer, or can earn a certificate in operational protocol by completing Protocol Officer Training. Private, on-site training is also available to provide tailored training solutions. In 2020, PSOW launched online, instructor-led training to meet the needs of students worldwide.

PSOW has offices in: Washington, DC; Columbia, SC; and Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The school is nationally accredited by the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET) and provides international protocol, cross-cultural awareness, business etiquette, and image training preparing professionals to build lasting business relationships.


Protocol and Diplomacy International – Protocol Officers Association promotes the protocol profession and raises awareness of its central role in business and diplomacy through education and networking. PDI-POA’s mission is to share the highest level of collective expertise, training, information and advice regarding accepted rules of protocol. PDI-POA is committed to facilitating communication, understanding and cooperation among individuals, governments and cultures around the globe.