Virtual Timber 2: the Pinchot Plan

Posted by Dan on Oct 31st, 2007
Oct 31

I got spammed with a solicitation for True Wealth, one of the top five financial newsletters in the world. Yeah, right. The email touts the “Pinchot Plan”,

“…an unusual investment most Americans have never heard of… which was made possible by a former U.S. Presidential Advisor and Governor of Pennsylvania.

This investment is safer and more profitable than stocks, bonds, real estate, mutual funds, gold… and just about every other asset on the planet.”

Gifford Pinchot was the first Chief of the US Forest Service, and advocated scientific forest management. Very Progressive, very Teddy Roosevelt. He has a National Forest named after him. The “Pinchot Plan” is investing in publicly traded timber companies. Minus the huge steaming pile of marketing, that’s all it is. No need to subscribe to the newsletter. Anyone can do this on his own.

I mentioned Plum Creek Timber (PCL) in an earlier post, but here are a couple of other possibilities: Rayonier (RYN) owns 2.5 million acres and has a 4.27% dividend. Potlatch (PCH) owns 1.5 million acres and has a 4.25% dividend. All three companies are REITs. I own some PCL right now, but both RYN and PCH are plausible alternatives.

Virtual timber is a decent investment. Buy it when it’s on sale. Better than stocks? Better than gold? Well, no, not better, just different. It’s a good diversifier.