This is going to sound crazy to some people, but this outside the box thinking was presented to me when a friend of mine brought up the value of Black Walnut trees. He was reading some online articles about Black Walnut trees being worth up to $20,000 a tree to be used in gun handles, veneer, house cabinets, and countertops. That is usually for 90-year-old trees that are perfectly straight with branches starting about 14-16 feet up the tree. But on average you can get about $300 for a wild tree or about $2,000 for the genetically superior trees made in labs around America for their perfectly straight trunks and high branches. I also researched that the regular trees cost about $8 each and the genetically superior ones are $13 each for seedlings. You can plant about 100 trees an acre, and you thin them down to about 50 trees for harvest starting in 20-30 years. At age 37 that puts me at age 57-67 when the trees are ready to be harvested. I just hope that the Black Walnut trend is still around and the value is still there. It will be most likely, as it has been a very popular type of wood for the last 100 years in America.
This idea really only works if you already own land or your family has land that you can plant the trees on. My friend has a 1.5-acre lot and is planning to plant 20 trees in his neighborhood backyard. If you buy land later in life, past your prime, you could do this for future generations as an inheritance idea. But, if you already have land keep reading and maybe this is right for a part of your retirement plan.
So, let’s look at this like a retirement account that matures when its time to retire at age 67. I’m leaning toward the genetically superior trees and planting one acre of my 20 acres with 100 of these trees and thinning them down to about 50 quality trees. So, let’s assume some shipping costs and taxes of $200, and I invest $1,500 into the trees and let them grow naturally without me watering them (which is 3-4 feet a year on average). In 30 years they could be worth $100,000 if I get $2,000 a tree for 50 trees. If I get $300 a tree then it’s worth $15,000 for 50 trees. Either way, I come out ahead financially and my property would look better if I filled a pasture with beautiful hardwood trees instead of just some grass and weeds growing wildly.
I could plant up to 500 trees, or 5 acres of trees, or just spread them out more so the original 100 could all make it and not have to be thinned out so much. This could be another form of retirement money just growing at about 14-15% a year sitting in my yard. I could get it in my retirement years if I get it going now at age 37. If you are older and have land this could be a great way to help the grandkids or great grandkids with college costs if you plan it out now and let it sit until they are ready for college. I also, read how some people plant blueberries or blackberries between the trees while they are young and make money the entire time with their land. I probably won’t do that, since I like to find ways to do less maintenance on my property. There were people also selling the walnuts as the grew and made even more money along the way before the harvest 30 years down the line. There are many ways to make money along the way with the trees growing steady the entire time and selling smaller thinned out trees along the way. But the big payday comes about 20-30 years down the line for you. If I’m healthy in 30 years and feel that I can wait until my 70’s to harvest then the value will go up even more for the trees. So this is an investment of $1500 that grows steady at 14% a year for 30 years and makes me $100,000! If someone told you about an index or mutual fund that did this would you invest?
So, that’s it for today. I just found a retirement hack by creating a Tree IRA and thought I’d share it with you as you put together your retirement portfolio. If you don’t have land then hopefully I inspired you to look outside the box for your retirement planning. I’m sure there are many ways to invest small amounts of money that can hit big if you keep looking. If you know of any other weird ways to invest money and get some solid results share in the comments below. Give us some more weird ideas to plan with.