Nearly 60 years ago, a writer calling himself Bob Belmont published a modest little book with an immodest title: How to Retire Without Money! You aren’t likely to find it in your library, but you might come across a copy at a used book sale, as I did recently. I think I paid a quarter for it — and it was worth every penny.
Today, with nearly half of U.S. households reporting zero retirement savings, according to the nonpartisan Economic Policy Institute, Belmont’s book seems decidedly ahead of his time; I’ll share five of his ideas shortly, with some appropriate updates for 2017.
From Sci-Fi Writer to Retirement Adviser
Under the name of Mack Reynolds (more formally Dallas McCord Reynolds), “Belmont” was among the most prolific science fiction writers of his day. He would also gain immortality — or at least a lasting footnote — in the world of Star Trek, as the author of the first novel based on the TV series, the 1968 juvenile book Mission to Horatius.
One of Reynolds’ sci-fi specialties was conjuring up alternative economic systems and utopias in far-off galaxies. He did it by drawing, in part, on his Socialist upbringing and an early career as a Socialist Labor Party organizer. His father, Verne, had been the party’s presidential candidate in 1928 and 1932.
With that kind of background, writing about an idyllic retirement where cash was of little consideration might not have been a total stretch.