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: 2057

Latest Articles

Five important stories we’re paying attention to

Last week we started a new feature in Notes from the Field-- a Friday roll-up of bizarre, often overlooked stories that my team and I think are worth following with great interest.

Based on the positive feedback we received from last week’s article, we thought we’d continue the trend. So here are a few important stories that we’re paying close attention to:

The City of Chicago Paid $113 million in police misconduct cases last[...]

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The 10th Circle of Hell

On the evening of March 25 in the year 1300, Italian poet Dante Alighieri stepped through the gates of Hell, passing beneath an overhead inscription that read “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”

Dante summoned all of his courage and proceeded, plunging deeper into the despair of hell.

This is the ‘Inferno’ tale of Dante’s Divina Commedia, an epic poem completed just before his death in 1321.

Dante’s version of hell[...] Click here to continue reading

The US government canceled 362,000 passports last year. Was yours one of them?

Starting in 2021, Americans will require permission to visit Europe… technically the 26 borderless countries within Europe’s Schengen area.


The process will start out simple enough, taking about ten minutes to complete and costing around $8.


The EU estimates it will grant about 95% of the Americans who apply three years of access to the region.


But what if you are part of that unlucky 5%?


Over 12 million Americans travel to Europe each year.[...]

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What the exodus from these states teaches us

Every week in Notes, we highlight the most important things happening around the world that can impact your wealth and your freedom.


But there are so many more things happening than we’re able to cover in these pages. So, we’re trying something new today.


Once a week, we’re planning to share a collection of stories we think are important, scary, amusing or maybe all of the above.


You can find the first edition below. We’ve[...]

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103: Podcast with Marin Katusa: The best gold investments to make today

Today’s podcast is with Marin Katusa.

Marin is a world-class resource investor and lead analyst for Katusa Research – his publishing company, where he shares the details of many of the private investments he makes.

Marin’s been investing in resource stocks for twenty years. And he’s gained a reputation as a guy who can get things done (and get the best terms) when raising capital to invest in companies – over the years,[...] Click here to continue reading

One thing Congress gets right: funding their own pensions

Turns out Congressmen make a lot of money…


A study found that while the average American’s net worth increased 3.7% per year between 2004-2012, members of Congress averaged 15.4% annual gains.


That high level of pay means half the members of Congress are millionaires today… and continue to collect their $174,000 annual salary.


Of course it’s you, the taxpayer, paying that cushy salary.


But did you know the taxpayer also foots the bill for insane[...]

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Europe is so weak it can’t even handle 0% interest rates

Europe’s leading economic policy makers have officially thrown in the towel.


Last week, the European Central Bank admitted economic conditions are so dire that it already has to reverse its monetary policy.


I’ll get back to that in a minute…


Following the Great Financial Crisis in 2008, central banks printed trillions of dollars and pushed interest rates to their lowest levels in human history. Low interest rates (and lots of new money sloshing around the[...]

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Predictions for gold from a legendary natural resource investor

Here’s when you know that you’ve made it into popular culture...


It’s when you get credit for a great quote, but no one really knows who said it first.


If there’s any doubt, people’s go-to list is usually either Albert Einstein, Mark Twain or the former New York Yankees catcher, Yogi Berra.


For example, there’s the quote, “predictions are hard, especially about the future,” which is often attributed to Berra. And “compound interest is the[...]

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102: He retired at 35 – here are some of his investment strategies

Today’s episode of the Sovereign Man Podcast features non other than Sovereign Man’s Chief Investment Strategist, Tim Staermose, talking about not one but two highly successful, targeted investment strategies with proven track records.


If you are a regular SMC or 4th Pillar reader, then you’re familiar with Tim’s wit, his financial probity, and his impressive stock picking skills. Today, he’ll tell you how he goes about looking at the markets at a time when nearly[...]

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Could one weekend in Lithuania really replace college?

Here’s an economics lesson you won’t get in college.


What happened to college tuition costs after the federal government started handing out student loan aid in 1965?


For a typical loan, you need collateral… i.e. the bank takes your house if you don’t pay the mortgage. But with government-backed student loans, no collateral is required to borrow vast sums of money.


With little potential downside, the number of people willing to take on student debt[...]

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Socialism in the UK means no pools, no swearing and citizens pulling their own teeth

The events that I am about to describe to you are 100% true.

They have already happened to various people across the United Kingdom, which in some respects is leading the charge to 21st century “Big Brother” authoritarianism.

It’s all real, and it’s all disturbing. To humanize it a little bit we have pulled several true events together into a single story about a man we’ll call “George.”

George thinks he might[...] Click here to continue reading

Even Warren Buffett gets it: They’re coming for your money

By the year 1380, the Hundred Years' War between England and France had already been raging for decades.


And the war wasn’t going very well for England.


France had managed to recapture most of the territories they had lost early in the war; meanwhile French naval fleets were ravaging the coastline of southern England and destroying English commercial vessels.


To make matters worse, England had recently been devastated by the Bubonic Plague, which killed nearly[...]

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Why the Barrick deal could mean the mega melt up is here for gold

In 1986, Peter Munk bought a gold mine in northeastern Nevada for $62 million.


The mine was only producing 40,000 ounces of gold a year back then (around $16 million annually) … and the sellers believed the land held 600,000 ounces easily minable gold.


But those estimates were woefully short.


By 1992, the mine yielded 1.1 million ounces of gold. Today, the mine, known as Goldstrike, is the richest mine in North America –[...]

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We just made $100 million in this country… but there are still plenty of deals

This weekend, British billionaire Richard Branson hosted a concert on the Colombian side of the Colombian-Venezuelan border.

Branson was trying to raise $100 million to help the living conditions of the millions of Venezuelans affected by the dictatorship of its president, Nicolas Maduro.

Gross economic mismanagement has led the country to the brink of collapse. The situation is so bad in Venezuela that three million people left in the past three years alone.
[...] Click here to continue reading

Guess how much Britain’s richest man saves on taxes by moving to Monaco?

Bill Gates and I don’t agree on taxes.

He says that he should pay more. And I consider it my moral duty to pay as little tax as possible. I don’t want to fund the government’s destruction, corruption and waste.

But in an interview with Fareed Zakaria, Bill Gates did echo my Universal Law of Prosperity: produce more than you consume.

Bill noted that the government “only collect[s] about 20% of GDP[...] Click here to continue reading

Billionaire investor’s take on America’s socialist fever

Howard Marks is one of the smartest, wealthiest investors in the world.

As founder of Oaktree Capital, Marks manages around $120 billion. And his track record ranks him among the greatest investors in history.

So it’s probably no surprise that Marks is deeply concerned about “the rising tide of anti-capitalism,” and dedicated one of his famous memos to this new political trend.

In the eyes of anti-capitalists, wealthy people, big businesses, and[...] Click here to continue reading

Here’s at least one country that hasn’t completely lost its mind

In 1965, the tiny, fledgling country of Singapore seemed like it was on the verge disaster.

It had only just split off from Malaysia due to severe racial tensions between them, and just two years had passed since independence from the United Kingdom.

Singapore started its nationhood with no natural resources, no army, and almost no infrastructure.

Unemployment was high. Invasion from Indonesia was a constant threat. GDP per capita was just[...] Click here to continue reading

America’s Socialist Revolution has officially begun

On October 31, 1517, an obscure German theology professor put the finishing touches on a paper he had written about the current state of the Catholic Church, and sent it off to Archbishop Albert of Brandenberg for review.


The professor’s letter was polite and professional, with a formal tone that one might find in a modern academic work. It could hardly be described as revolutionary.


Yet within a few years, the professor would find himself[...]

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How 1984 turned into an instruction manual

"Sometimes [two and two are four], Winston. Sometimes they are five. Sometimes they are three. Sometimes they are all of them at once. You must try harder. It is not easy to become sane.”


One of the key themes from George Orwell’s dystopic novel 1984 is that the Party can do and say whatever it wants.


And more importantly, you must believe it, with all your heart. No matter how absurd.


That’s doublethink. It is[...]

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Some clear thinking about Amazon’s ‘shocking’ tax incentives

Amazon made big headlines yesterday when it announced it was walking away from its plan to build a new headquarters in New York City.


The company was under intense pressure from the media and politicians who were angered that New York City’s local government was giving away too many tax incentives, purportedly worth around $1.5 billion.


(Including the state government, the total tax break was around $2.8 billion.)


People had some ridiculous idea that NYC[...]

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Here’s why the wealthiest city in America is screwed

Last month, Chicago hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin spent $238 million on a condo in New York City.


It was the most expensive home ever sold in the US (but only one piece of Griffin’s massive, luxury real estate portfolio).


Good for Ken… he’s incredibly wealthy and can spend his money however he wants. But most of society hates this kind of behavior.


Even if a guy has earned $10 billion through hard work[...]

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Even Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez qualifies for a second passport

She wants to nationalize healthcare. Raise your taxes to 70%. Legislate her way to ending poverty and saving the environment. And if she had her way, probably cleanse the English language of offensive words like gender pronouns.


Yes, this former bartender turned national sensation (due to the sole fact that 4,000 more people in the Bronx voted for her over the incumbent) knows no bad idea that’s off limits.


But here’s one good idea that[...]

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Reason #437 to own gold: The Fed wants Negative Interest Rates

And just like that, it seems we’re headed back to quantitative easing…


After cutting interest rates to nearly zero following the 2008 crisis, the Federal Reserve starting raising rates near the end of 2015 (from 0.25% to 2.5% today).


Following the most recent hike in December 2018, Chairman Powell seemed hell bent on further tightening, saying “some further gradual increases” were in the cards.


Then the stock market promptly fell nearly 20%.


Investors were[...]

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101: How to protect your money when the people in charge understand NOTHING

Today we bring you a fresh episode of the Sovereign Man Podcast, where Simon Black unpacks why the people in charge have no idea what they’re talking about… and how you can protect yourself from their policies.

Freshman politicians want to nationalize entire industries. They want to increase the marginal tax rate to 70% or more. They want to ban corporations from buying back their own stocks unless those companies meet stringent requirements. They[...] Click here to continue reading

World’s largest pension fund loses $136 billion

Things keep getting worse for pensions…


If you’ve read Notes recently, you know the pension fund crisis is one of our major themes. Simply put, these giant pools of capital responsible for paying out retirement benefits to workers are BROKE.


According to the World Economic Forum, pension funds around the world are short around $70 TRILLION. State, federal and local pensions in the US are $7 trillion short… and a recent report by Boston College[...]

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Could you handle losing half of your life savings in a few weeks?

The market’s last hope is faltering…

By July of last year, just three stocks (Amazon, Netflix and Microsoft) were responsible for 71% of the S&P 500’s returns.

Through the third quarter, tech stocks were responsible for 95% of the S&P’s gains.

Amazon alone was responsible for about one-third of the index’s move.

And we long warned about the follies of blindly investing your capital into these incredibly popular and often overvalued[...] Click here to continue reading

Our friend is starting “a business every year” in this frontier market… demand is booming

Levi Strauss never actually wore a pair of his famous blue jeans.

Although his iconic name has been plastered on the back pockets of millions of people, Strauss himself was a businessman. And in the 1870s, jeans were strictly for laborers.

Those jeans, of course, made him famous… and very, very wealthy.

Sure, Levi’s product was good. But the real secret to his success was his willingness to chase opportunity.

At[...] Click here to continue reading

The next recession will sweep the Socialists into power

What I’m about to say may sound totally crazy at first. But keep reading, because I think you’ll agree that it’s dead-on accurate.

There’s a recession coming.

No, that’s not some Chicken Little “The Sky is Falling” statement. Far from it. It’s just a fact: economies and financial markets always go through boom and bust cycles.

There are good years and lean years, up years and down years.

(This is perhaps[...] Click here to continue reading

Exhumed remains of Karl Marx to run for US President

Earlier this morning, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker became the latest socialist to throw his hat in the ring for the US Presidency…

He announced his candidacy with a new website and two-minute video full of the usual collective hoopla.

Bear in mind that Booker raised taxes by 20% while serving as mayor of the City of Newark, and as Senator he has been vocally in favor of everything from nationalized healthcare to[...] Click here to continue reading

These billionaires are issuing terrifying warnings about global debt levels

We write a lot about global debt levels at Sovereign Man.

In fact, the very first Notes from the Field I ever wrote, in June 2009, was about how broke the US was… and the severe consequences that eventually face a nation that recklessly spends money it doesn’t have.

And debt has been a major theme in this publication ever since.

As you know, since the Great Financial Crisis in 2008, debt[...] Click here to continue reading

Even Sweden abandoned its wealth tax

There are over 21 months to go until the 2020 US presidential election.

And every day more and more socialist candidates throw their hat in the ring. They all want to be the one to take down Donald Trump.

But how do you set yourself apart in such a crowded, and outspoken, field?

Bernie Sanders set the bar in 2016 when he championed Medicare for all and free college. But that’s mundane[...] Click here to continue reading

Mexico is starting to look like Venezuela

Mexico is in the midst of a crisis again.


And no, it doesn’t have anything to do with the border wall that caused the US government to be hopelessly deadlocked for more than a month.


Or the economy. Or murders and violence. Or drug trafficking. Or bird flu.


Nope. Mexico is battling an enormous problem with its oil pipelines.


In a way that almost sounds ridiculous.


But oil thieves have been drilling holes in[...]

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The mother of all government data breaches is happening right NOW

It’s been more than a month since the federal government shut down.

We all know the familiar story of the 800,000+ workers, and the millions of contractors, who are not receiving paychecks.

(Plus there are millions of other workers and small businesses in the private sector whose incomes depend at least partially on the government-- and they’re all suffering as well.)

But now the shutdown is starting to affect cybersecurity.

Because[...] Click here to continue reading

100: Why you should absolutely consider Puerto Rico NOW

Welcome to another edition of the Sovereign Man podcast.

As we enter 2019, you’ll start to see more podcasts from us. And you also might notice a few changes. We’ve upped the production value of our chats with Simon. And we’ll continue to improve both the production and the content of our podcasts.

And we’d love to hear your feedback on our efforts.

In today’s podcast, Simon gives us an update from[...] Click here to continue reading

Get Ready– they’re coming for your money

Every so often throughout history, the peasants grab their pitchforks and come for the elite. It happens when the wealth gap grows too extreme… when people feel like they are getting left behind, with no opportunity to advance.

Central banks around the world have printed trillions of dollars over last decade, and pushed interest rates to zero, and sometimes below. And all of that stimulus went directly into the pockets of the wealthy.

[...] Click here to continue reading
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