Posts by Simon Black

Simon Black is an international investor, entrepreneur, and founder of Sovereign Man. His free daily e-letter Notes from the Field is about using the experiences from his life and travels to help you achieve more freedom, make more money, keep more of it, and protect it all from bankrupt governments.

  • First post: 16/06/2009
  • Posts written: 1617

Latest Articles

Three reasons why the banking system is rigged against you

illiquid-banks
If there were ever any doubt about how completely RIGGED the banking system is against depositors, allow me to introduce the following:

Exhibit A: Governments are working to make banks LESS safe

Yesterday an unelected bureaucrat that no one has ever heard of made a stunning announcement that has sweeping implications for anyone with a bank account.

Dombrovskis is Europe’s top financial services official, so he controls bank regulations in the European[...] Click here to continue reading

What to do when everything’s a bubble

bubble-dollar
Yesterday we talked about one small market in the US… but in fact there are dozens of cities across the world where property prices entering (or already in) a bubble.

San Francisco. Amsterdam. Stockholm.

Vancouver is infamous for its astonishing real estate bubble, which the government has tried to slow by slapping a nasty transfer tax on certain property transactions.

In London, prices are 15% higher than the previous real estate market[...] Click here to continue reading

Housing Bubble? Here’s why I dumped my last US property

US-housing
When I saw the chart, the first thing I thought was, “hockey stick”.

It’s flat on the left side, then suddenly soars up and to the right, indicating an abrupt and rapid rise in prices.

Which chart am I talking about? Real estate prices, specifically in an uptown enclave of Dallas, Texas-- the only place in the United States where I still owned property… until a few days ago.

I grew up[...] Click here to continue reading

There’s only one candidate that can make a difference this election

white-house
I used to watch wrestling when I was a kid… I come from the age of Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior, and Randy “Macho Man” Savage.

Huddling close to the television each weekend, my friends and I would cheer for our favorite stars and their signature moves.

My dad ruined it all one day when I was about 6 years old; he pulled me aside and said casually, “You know it’s all fake, right?”
[...] Click here to continue reading

The US government’s bizarre “economic citizenship” program

US-passport
I’m in New York City this week meeting with the Prime Minister of a Caribbean nation about his country’s citizenship-by-investment program.

Citizenship-by-investment is exactly what it sounds like: foreigners invest a certain sum of money in a country in exchange for citizenship and a passport.

Depending on the country, the investment amount can vary from just over $100,000 (Dominica) to over $2.5 million (Cyprus).

Now, it might seem crazy to drop that[...] Click here to continue reading

The US government is about to lose its #1 lender

US-Debt-Crisis
Yesterday I told you how the US federal debt level is expanding at its fastest rate since the financial crisis.

This isn’t supposed to be happening.

The financial crisis is years behind us. The economy is supposedly on solid footing. The government keeps gushing about how much tax revenue they’re collecting.

Usually when government debt expands so rapidly it’s because they’re waging war, fighting a major recession, or financing some serious infrastructure[...] Click here to continue reading

US federal debt expanding at fastest rate since the crisis

shutterstock_165763190
A few days ago, the federal debt of the United States rather quietly and unceremoniously passed the $19.5 trillion mark.

And while that figure may seem absolutely confounding, what’s even more alarming is how rapidly the US government is racking up this debt.

In fact, for the 2016 fiscal year that ends in just ten more days, the US government’s debt growth of $1.36 trillion is on track to be the third biggest[...] Click here to continue reading

Three ways the banks are scamming you

too-big-to-fail
Yesterday we talked about how the banking system is MUCH riskier than most people are led to believe.

And there is a growing chorus of high ranking regulators and officials saying the same thing, ranging from the Vice Chairman of the FDIC to former US Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers.

I compared the banking system to airport security. As we discussed yesterday, airport security isn’t real security. It’s merely the illusion of security.

[...] Click here to continue reading

Former Treasury Secretary says banks may be riskier now than in the 2008 crisis

larry-summers
“Sir. SIR! This your bag,” the TSA agent barked at me last week, more as a statement than a question.

“It is.”

“Are you carrying any liquids?”

I knew immediately; I had forgotten about the bottle of water that I had shoved in my briefcase before checking out of my hotel.

They opened my bag and confiscated the water bottle immediately with an extra harrumph to make sure I knew that[...] Click here to continue reading

Here’s a great example of how they’ll default on Social Security

default-social-security
On March 5, 1997, I signed up for the American Airlines “AAdvantage” loyalty program.

I was 18 years old and didn’t know anything about travel. Back then it was exciting to even set foot on a plane.

But over the years travel has become a huge part of my life.

I’ve been all over the world to more than 120 countries and have travelled millions of miles, including on American Airlines.

[...] Click here to continue reading

Wells Fargo scandal is just the beginning… here’s what else they’re hiding–

wells-fargo-scandal
Down here at the farm, one of the most important things we do each year for our fruit trees is the winter pruning.

This happens annually during Chile’s winter period from late June through early September when the trees have put themselves into hibernation.

(The trees are starting to wake up and produce flowers as you can see in this video, and we finished the last of the pruning over the weekend.)

[...] Click here to continue reading

Police seize over 5,000 ounces of silver from man’s home

silver-coins
Last week in the Australian state of Queensland, federal police confiscated a whopping 5,465 ounces of silver (worth roughly $106,000) from a man’s home.

This was part of a larger series of police raids instigated by the Australian Tax Office against individuals suspected of tax evasion.

Two obvious lessons come to mind which bear repeating:

1) As we discussed yesterday, only an idiot commits tax fraud or tax evasion. This goes without[...] Click here to continue reading

Legal tax reduction tactics that everyone should be taking advantage of

Puerto-Rico-Tax
If you’ve been a reader of this letter for any length of time, you know I hate taxes.

I unequivocally believe that I have a moral obligation to reduce my taxes to the lowest level possible.

It’s not about Maseratis and private yachts (I drive a Volvo and get seasick easily).

I’ve slashed my taxes because I know that tax dollars pay for some of the most vile, immoral things imaginable.

[...] Click here to continue reading

A brand new visitor’s first impressions of the United States

America
One of the members of Team Sovereign Man just arrived for the first time in his life to the United States.

This is pretty unusual, especially for the incredibly well-traveled members of our team.

Peter, an Australian in his mid-40s who has been living in Asia for most of his adult life, is taking a few days rest in Arizona in transit from his home in Bangkok to our headquarters in Chile.

[...] Click here to continue reading

[Video] Quick update from beautiful Sovereign Valley

sovereign_valley
Today I decided to shoot a video and answer one of most frequently asked questions we receive here: What's it like down at very beautiful Sovereign Valley?

To me, the farm represents our entire ethos at Sovereign Man: eliminating the downside and capturing the upside. I hope you enjoy this very short video and can apply the lessons to your own life.

http://sovereignman.wistia.com/medias/v2p9p8cmzs?embedType=async&videoFoam=true&videoWidth=500

Click here to continue reading

Why I’m sending Janet Yellen a fruit basket

janet-yellen-fruit-basket
Tulips aren’t native to Holland.

The first Tulips were brought over from Istanbul (then known as Constantinople) by a horticulturalist named Carolus Clusius in 1593.

But the scent, shape, and rarity of the flower soon caught on and quickly became a status symbol among wealthy Dutch residents.

As with any popular commodity, the price started to rise, giving way to all-out ‘Tulip Mania’ in Holland during the 1620s and 1630s, during which[...] Click here to continue reading

My partner found $57 million in a random corner of Asia

57-million
Two months ago at the annual Benjamin Graham Conference in New York City, billionaire hedge fund manager Leon Cooperman told the audience that their industry was on the ropes.

“[O]ur industry is in turmoil. It’s very ironic because you’ve got Clinton and Sanders crapping all over us and they don’t realize Wall Street is in the midst of a very serious downturn. . .”

He’s right. Investors are bailing on hedge funds in[...] Click here to continue reading

How I went broke from my own arrogance

dollar-trash
In 1999, as an arrogant 20-year old kid who thought he knew everything, I went flat broke.

Actually, I was worse than broke. On top of losing all of my money, I was also in debt more than $22,000… so I had a negative net worth.

That was an astronomical sum for me at the time, and I thought I’d never recover.

I wrote about this a few months ago, explaining how[...] Click here to continue reading

How to stay optimistic even as terrorists “threaten our existence”

terrorism-existence
Earlier this week the German government leaked a frightening 69-page memo entitled “Concept for Civil Defense.”

Citing multiple terrorist attacks, cybercrime, and a host of other threats, the report states that Germans should prepare for an event that could “threaten our existence.”

Yikes.

The report proposes a number of mandatory countermeasures, including that Germans should stockpile food and water.

There’s also peculiar language about “civil support for the armed forces” suggesting[...] Click here to continue reading

Four more mega-banks join the anti-dollar alliance

Dollar-Ben-Franklin
That was fast.

Yesterday I told you how a consortium of 15 Japanese banks had just signed up to implement new financial technology to clear and settle international financial transactions.

This is a huge step.

Right now, most international financial transactions must pass through the US banking system’s network of correspondent accounts.

This gives the US government an incredible amount of power... power they haven’t been shy about using over the[...] Click here to continue reading

Barack Obama may have finally destroyed America’s #1 advantage

No inflation here...
In July 1944, just weeks after the successful Allied invasion of Normandy, hundreds of delegates from around the world gathered in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire to determine the future of the global financial system.

The vision was simple: America would be the center of the universe, and every other nation would revolve around the US.

This arrangement ultimately led to the US dollar being the world’s dominant reserve currency which still remains today.
[...] Click here to continue reading

The ultimate breakdown likely to be surprising, sudden, intense, and large

8-dot-coms-that-spent-millions-on-super-bowl-ads-and-no-longer-exist
[Editor’s note: This letter was co-written with Tim Price, London-based wealth manager and co-manager of the VT Price Value Portfolio.]

On January 30, 2000, the 88+ million viewers of Superbowl XXXIV were treated to a commercial featuring a now infamous sock puppet.

The advertisement was from a company called Pets.com, founded just two years before in 1998 at the height of the dot-com bubble.

Pets.com went public on the NASDAQ just weeks[...] Click here to continue reading

Secret Federal Reserve minutes leaked

janet-yellen-secret
Yesterday the Federal Reserve released the minutes from its July meeting a few weeks ago in which they decided to NOT raise interest rates.

These minutes are the official archive of the meeting, providing details about the presentations, debates, and discussions that took place.

They contain very formal sounding language, referring to their near-zero interest rates as “accommodation” in the same way that my high school health teacher preferred to use the more[...] Click here to continue reading

Is a second passport only for the ultra-wealthy?

money-passport
When you think about ‘insurance’, chances are you probably think about term life, home insurance, or liability insurance.

But one of the best insurance policies you could ever get your hands on is a second passport.

Like most types of insurance, it’s one you hope you never have to use.

No one wakes up in the morning and thinks “I hope my house burns down today so I can cash in on[...] Click here to continue reading

Your bank has worse technology than Delta Airlines

delta-airlines-tech
It started in 1946.

American Airlines, then the largest airline in the United States (and second largest airline in the world after the Soviet Union’s Aeroflot) created a bold, new technology to book flight reservations.

They called it the “electromechanical reservisor”, and it was the first machine of its kind.

Before the reservisor, American Airlines employees booked all reservations by hand using index cards and lazy susan filing systems.

Needless to[...] Click here to continue reading

FDIC slams biggest US banks, says capital reserves “inadequate”

capital-reserves-inadequate
On Friday morning, a gentleman named Thomas Hoenig wrote some rather unflattering comments about the US banking system in a little known publication called the Wall Street Journal.

In his remarks, Hoenig stated that “while the largest U.S. banks have increased capital since the [2008] crisis, their capital is still lower than the industry average and inadequate for bank resiliency.”

Think about what means. A bank’s “capital” is essentially its rainy day reserve[...] Click here to continue reading

Here’s how the government is stealing more than ever before–

police-theft
The year was 1986.

Top Gun was the #1 movie in America.

Halley’s Comet was visible with the naked eye.

Microsoft went public, instantly making Bill Gates one of the wealthiest people in the world.

And the US government took in $93.7 million through a little known authority called “Civil Asset Forfeiture”.

As you’re likely aware, Civil Asset Forfeiture is a legal process that allows the government to seize assets[...] Click here to continue reading

One simple reason why gold can still jump 50%

Gold-bars-vault
Heike Hoffman is a 54-year old fruit merchant in a small town in western Germany.

She has no formal training in finance. She’s not running a multi-billion dollar portfolio.

And yet, as the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday, “[w]hen Ms. Hoffman heard the ECB was knocking rates below zero in June 2014, she considered it ‘madness’ and promptly cut her spending, set aside more money, and bought gold.”

She’s right. It[...] Click here to continue reading

This trend tells you everything you need to know about America’s future

Dependence
Long ago in the Land of the Free, if you wanted to start a saloon, you rented a space and started serving booze.

You didn’t have to go through years of petitioning a bunch of bureaucrats for permits and licenses.

If you weren’t qualified or good enough at your job, your reputation would suffer and you’d go out of business.

This is the way it used to be for just about every[...] Click here to continue reading

The worst place in the world to bank

too-big-to-fail
It started with an illegal wiretapping scandal.

Jean-Claude Junker, after spending nearly 18 years in office as Prime Minister of Luxembourg, was forced to resign in 2013 after evidence surfaced of his complicity in a domestic spying operation.

So what does a disgraced politician who resigns in shame do?

Why, receive a promotion, of course.

Less than a year later, Junker was appointed to the most powerful political office in Europe--[...] Click here to continue reading

There’s no reason I should be alive right now

future
One of the most profound moments of my entire adult life came to me when I was learning about my family history, which I’ve managed to trace back over eight centuries.

I discovered so many incredible stories from the past, and the indelible conclusion that I’ve reached is that it’s an absolute miracle that any one of us exists.

The last few millennia have seen war, plague, and some of the worst conditions[...] Click here to continue reading

Did you receive this email from the Social Security Administration?

social-security
If you are a taxpayer in the Land of the Free, you may have recently received a love letter from the Social Security Administration that went something like this:

“Dear [Medieval serf paying into an insolvent pension fund]:”

(OK I added that part myself)

“Starting in August 2016, Social Security is adding a new step to protect your privacy. . .”

Whoa. Full stop. I love it already.

My dear[...] Click here to continue reading

Here comes the mandatory Bitcoin database

bitcoin-database
It was only a matter of time.

In the wake of multiple terror attacks, the European Commission is moving towards creating a mandatory, centralized database of Bitcoin ownership.

Of course, their official reason is that Bitcoin is being used to finance terrorism.

So for everyone’s safety and security they need even more authority to spy on people’s finances.

But the reality is that these governments have hated Bitcoin since the beginning.
[...] Click here to continue reading

It’s about to become much easier to open a bank account in Hong Kong

Hong Kong
It all started with 9/11.

After the twin towers fell in 2001, the US government sprang into action to wage the global war on terrorism.

Within days following the attack, Congress pushed through the USA PATRIOT Act, providing unprecedented authority to the US federal government.

The legislation also gave several government agencies sweeping powers over the US banking system. And they made an important discovery.

You see, the entire world relies[...] Click here to continue reading

17,359 Americans have renounced their citizenship under Barack Obama

record-renunciation-passport
Another 508 people renounced their US citizenship last quarter according to documents published this morning by the Internal Revenue Service.

This brings the total number of US ‘renunciants’ under the Obama administration to 17,359.

It’s a pretty sad state of affairs when a government’s tax policy is so oppressive that it drives people to permanently divorce themselves from their country.

Now, it’s easy to dismiss these people as traitors and cowards, and[...] Click here to continue reading