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: 1994

Latest Articles

Jewish? Here’s how to pay ZERO tax for 10 years

Meital took one simple, legal step to save about $30,000 in taxes every year.


She used to be an international photographer based in NYC, making about $100,000. But despite that income, she was still living paycheck-to-paycheck.


As a self-employed person, she often forked over some $30,000-$50,000 in taxes to Uncle Sam every year. (Self-employed, sole proprietors in the US pay some of the highest tax rates out there.) Add in NYC living costs and there[...]

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Is Netflix being run by the United States Congress?

Shares of Netflix soared today on news the company lost a record $859 million in cash in the third quarter.

Why are investors applauding this egregious destruction of capital?

Well, it’s because investors only look at one number when Netflix reports earnings – subscriber growth.

And on that metric, the company outperformed, adding 6.96 million subscribers, bringing the global total to more than 137 million.

At 137 million subscribers, Netflix has[...] Click here to continue reading

These international borders have become “no rights zones”

On June 15, 1215, King John sat in a field in Runnymede, England, surrounded by angry nobles.

His Barons—the big landowners throughout England—had rebelled and seized London, forcing King John to sign an agreement guaranteeing certain rights to the people of England… and restrictions of his power.

This agreement was called the Magna Carta. And it would become one of the most important documents in history.

Centuries later in 1678, Charles II[...] Click here to continue reading

How to safely ignore everything that happened yesterday

Stock markets around the world were crushed yesterday…

The Dow Jones fell 800 points, its biggest dump since February. The Nasdaq fell 4% (its worst day in seven years).

Japan fell 3.9%. Chinese stocks fell 5.2% to their lowest since 2014.

And people are freaking out (the market’s fear gauge, the volatility index (VIX) surged 43.9% yesterday).

I’ve been writing for months that the current bull market could easily go on[...] Click here to continue reading

How’s this for crazy: Tesla is still worth more than HONDA

Earlier this year I quoted Chicago-based hedge fund manager John Thompson of Vilas Capital Management-- who has been incredibly vocal (and blunt) about Tesla.

Back in March, Thompson said that he thinks Tesla is going to crash . . .

“. . .partially due to their incompetence in making and delivering the Model 3, partially due to falling demand for the Model S and X, partially due to the extreme valuation, partially due[...] Click here to continue reading

With corruption like this, it’s no wonder so many pension funds are insolvent

Last week, the head of a New York state pension fund found herself a new job.

Vicki Fuller, the former head of New York’s $209 billion fund, now earns $275,000 per year working part time for a natural gas group called The Williams Companies-- good work if you can get it.

It’s noteworthy that when Ms. Fuller ran her state pension fund, she invested $110 million of taxpayer money to buy bonds issued[...] Click here to continue reading

This is the safest 20%+ you will ever make

Yesterday I told you about a still little-known gem in the US tax code known as opportunity zones.

The example I gave you yesterday is-- let’s say you have Apple stock, and you sell today for a total gain of $250,000.

Ordinarily you’d have to pay tax on that gain.

But if you invest that money in a fund that invests in specially designated ‘opportunity zones,’ which are generally underdeveloped areas, you[...] Click here to continue reading

How to pay literally ZERO tax… and do a bit of good

True story-- over the past 15 years I’ve spent a LOT of time studying my family history, and I’ve managed to trace my roots all the way back eight centuries to 1250 in medieval England.

Along the way (and I recorded a podcast about this a few years ago), it turns out that I have a common ancestor with none other than Barrack Obama--  on the non-Kenyan side of his family, in case you[...] Click here to continue reading

One of the greatest follies from the last crisis is back

Hudson Yards is a gigantic real estate project on New York City’s western edge that will be the most expensive development in US history when it’s completed in 2025.

At $25 billion, the project costs more than the size of the entire economy of Iceland… which is saying a lot given that Hudson Yards is only 28 acres… literally one millionth the size of Iceland.

According to the plan, in seven years (so[...] Click here to continue reading

The world’s greatest investors are sounding the alarm… it’s time to be cautious

Howard Marks is one of the greatest investors in history.

Marks is the founder of the credit investment firm Oaktree Capital Management. And he’s been sharing his insights with the public in his Chairman memos since 1990 (which you can read for free on his website).

Even Warren Buffett stops what he’s doing when Marks releases a new memo… Buffett says it’s “the first thing I open and read.”

Marks’ latest memo,[...] Click here to continue reading

The Return of the Inquisition: Do you confess?

In 279 BC, the vast army of King Pyrrhus of Epirus was met by Roman forces at the Battle of Asculum in southern Italy, in what would be one of the costliest military engagements of ancient history.

Pyrrhus fancied himself the second coming of Alexander the Great and believed that he was a descendant of Achilles.

Many of his peers and contemporaries believed Pyrrhus to be the greatest military commander of all time.
[...] Click here to continue reading

Look at how well gold has retained its value from 1,000 years ago

On October 12, 929, roughly 1100 years ago, Abd-ar Rahman III of the Umayyad Dynasty was proclaimed ruler of Cordoba-- the Islamic kingdom that comprised most of Spain at the time.

Rahman was just 21 when he ascended to power, and he remained there for nearly 50 years as one of the wealthiest and most powerful monarchs in Europe.

Historians Denis Cardonne and Edward Gibbon calculate his annual tax  revenue at approximately 12[...] Click here to continue reading

For people with talent and vision, this place has a LOT to offer

It was February 15, 1898. The American Civil War was a distant memory, and the United States had become the largest economy in the world.

Still, something was missing in the Land of the Free: colonies.

More than 100 years before, other leading powers like Spain and Britain had established colonies all over the world back when the US was just an infant.

By the time the US became wealthy and powerful,[...] Click here to continue reading

IRS agent indulges in bizarre fetish in taxpayer’s home

On June 8, 2006, more than a decade ago, armed agents from the Internal Revenue Service arrived at the home of Michael and Shelly Ioane of Atwater, California.

Michael Ioane was suspected of tax fraud, and the IRS agents were there to conduct a search of the premises and look for evidence.

About thirty minutes into the search, Shelly Ioane (the wife, who was not suspected of any crime whatsoever) told the agents[...] Click here to continue reading

How to dodge student debt and get a second passport

This month, college freshmen across the US are settling into their new lives.

For the next four (or five… or maybe even six) years, they’ll be immersed in safe spaces and bombarded with repugnant, hyper-socialist groupthink.

Then, at the end, they’ll walk away with a degree of questionable use… but they’ll also walk away with TONS OF DEBT.

Consumers are on pace to end 2018 with over $4 trillion of debt. And[...] Click here to continue reading

Where you can rent a luxury 2,800 ft. beachfront villa for less than $90/night

Last week I wrote about farmland in South Africa…


And how it’s taken a pounding thanks to a radical politician who is threatening to seize farmland from white farmers without compensation.


While I don’t think it’s time to buy South African farmland yet – that situation can get MUCH worse before bottoming – it’s always smart to keep an eye on a country in crisis.


And today, there’s an ongoing tragedy in Nicaragua – a[...]

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This time is different because there’s free tequila…

We poke a lot of fun at the MANY absurdities we see in this current bubble.

As we’ve discussed countless times over the past few years, there are consequences from the fact that central bankers have conjured trillions of dollars out of thin air and pushed down interest rates to zero.

Stock, bonds and real estate are at or near record highs. Bankrupt countries are issuing trillions of dollars of debt with negative[...] Click here to continue reading

Netherlands prosecutes its own citizen for calling Turkish dictator a “Goat F*cker”

It was mid-September in 1683, almost 335 years ago to the day. Turkish forces of the Ottoman Empire surrounded Vienna, one of the most strategic cities in Europe at the time.

Controlling Vienna meant controlling the Danube River, which flows from Western Germany to the Black Sea, providing critical access for the Ottomans to invade the rest of Europe.

So if Vienna fell, Europe would soon follow.

The Holy Roman Emperor, Leopold[...] Click here to continue reading

Ten years after the crisis… they’re doing the same thing and expecting different results

“Holy Crap-- turn on your TV! This is crazy!”

It was Sunday, September 14, 2008. Exactly 10 years ago to the day.

My friend Jeff called me and told me to turn on the television—where I saw dozens of people on the streets of Manhattan filing out of a skyscraper carrying boxes full of their office junk.

They were all employees of Lehman Brothers, one of the largest investment banks in the[...] Click here to continue reading

The Hitler of South Africa is crushing farmland prices… time to buy?

One of our major themes this year has been avoiding big mistakes…

Mostly, we’ve been talking about avoiding assets that are irrationally expensive (like most stocks and real estate today). And we’ve been discussing ways to raise cash and diversify outside of traditional investments to protect your capital.

But now that you have all that cash handy, when do you pull the trigger? When is an asset cheap enough to buy? You can[...] Click here to continue reading

Elon Musk smoking weed has much more dire consequences than you realize

An insane event on March 2, 2017 likely signaled the top of the current market…

On that day, shares of Snap (SNAP), owner of the popular Snapchat app, went public at a valuation of more than $30 billion.

But it wasn’t the sky-high stock price that made this IPO special. Nor was it the fact that the company’s co-founders, 26-year old Evan Spiegel and 28-year old Bobby Murphy, became multi-billionaires overnight.

What[...] Click here to continue reading

The pension crisis is bigger than the world’s 20 largest economies

If your retirement plans consist entirely of that pension you’ve been promised, it’s time to start looking elsewhere.

As you probably know, pensions are giant pools of capital responsible for paying out retirement benefits to workers.

And right now many pension funds around the world simply don’t have enough assets to cover the retirement obligations they owe to millions of workers.

In the US alone, federal, state, and local governments, pensions are[...] Click here to continue reading

Jim Grant’s 10 most important lessons in finance – Part 2

[Editor’s note: Yesterday we published the first installment of a special essay from Jim Grant on the 10 most important lessons learned in his 35 years in finance.]

Today, we continue with the final lessons…

6. Markets are not perfectly efficient. Because the people who operate them aren’t perfectly reasonable. The debate over efficient markets has raged since the birth of public markets. Grant’s comes down on the side of inefficiencies—of lucrative inefficiencies.
[...] Click here to continue reading

The 10 most important lessons in finance from a legend in the field

[Editor’s note: Yesterday, we published a podcast we recorded with the legendary financial commentator, Jim Grant.

Jim is the editor of Grant’s Interest Rate Observer – one of the most-respected and followed financial publications in the world. In his 35 years writing Grant’s, Jim has seen a financial cycle or two.

And he’s amassed a network of many of the most important people on Wall Street (who often share their insights in his[...] Click here to continue reading

098: Sovereign Man’s podcast with financial legend Jim Grant

Last week I recorded the most memorable podcast I’ve hosted in some time.

Jim Grant, editor of the famed Grant’s Interest Rate Observer, joined us for a discussion. Grant’s, in my opinion, is one of the finest financial publications out there.

And it’s a treat to have a guy like Jim on the podcast.

He’s written Grant’s for 35 years. And in that time, he’s made some incredible calls (including first writing[...] Click here to continue reading

Forget who takes the mid-terms: Here’s how to personally repeal Obamacare

If the US government doesn’t act quickly, Americans may be stuck with years more of deteriorating healthcare and skyrocketing medical bills.

Back in 2010, Congress and President Obama completely overhauled the US healthcare system with the “Affordable” Care Act (aka Obamacare). Their intention was to provide all US citizens with access to healthcare.

But, the result of government interference in markets was – surprise – rising costs and lower quality service.

Over[...] Click here to continue reading

Market hits new highs on back of Fed announcement, forgetting the Fed is clueless

Hallelujah, the US stock market is once again at an all-time high thanks to a little help from our friends at the Federal Reserve.

Every summer, central bank officials from around the world gather in Jackson Hole, Wyoming (which, if you haven’t been, is REALLY spectacular. Jackson Hole, that is, not the Fed conference.)

The event was held last week. And the main event was a speech from the new(ish) Fed Chairman Jerome[...] Click here to continue reading

Fool me once, shame on Elon. Fool me twice. . .

There’s no doubt you know the story…

On August 7, in the middle of the trading day, Tesla founder Elon Musk surprised investors with a tweet saying he was considering taking Tesla private at $420 per share (a $72 billion valuation) with “funding secured.” He quickly followed up with “Investor support is confirmed.”

Shares of Tesla soared 13% to $387 on the cryptic social media update from Tesla’s exalted chief.

The news[...] Click here to continue reading

Some thoughts on the ‘longest bull market ever’

Well, it happened. Yesterday the US stock market broke the all-time record for the longest bull market ever.

This means that the US stock market has been generally rising for nearly a decade straight… or even more specifically, that the market has gone 3,453 days without a 20% correction.

That’s a pretty big milestone. And there’s no end in sight. So it’s possible this market continues marching higher for the foreseeable future.

[...] Click here to continue reading

Digital Nomads: The best city you’ve never been to

[Editor’s note: While Simon is traveling today, other members of the Sovereign Man team penned today’s missive.]

Every year before and after the annual Liberty and Entrepreneurship Camp held in Lithuania, the Sovereign Man team takes some time to travel in Europe.

Vilnius – The capital of Lithuania - by itself is a fantastic place to spend time in. It boasts one of the largest medieval ‘old town’ city centers in Europe.

[...] Click here to continue reading

An excellent way to protect your US Dollar holdings

Last week we saw how quickly a currency crisis can destroy someone’s savings.

In just one week, the value of the Turkish Lira plummeted over 30% after the US imposed sanctions against Turkey.

So anyone holding all of their savings in Turkish Lira got hammered.

This was an unfortunate reminder of the importance of a Plan B – an insurance plan to make sure your wealth and your family are safe no[...] Click here to continue reading

097: Europe… what could possibly go wrong?

It’s been a hell of a week here in the Italian countryside. I’ve been treating my team and some friends to a sort of mini-vacation at a 400-year old wine and olive estate that we’ve taken over.

The views, the food, the wine, the company… it’s all incredible. Each night about two dozen of us dine outside under a canopy of grape vines, and the conversations are so stimulating that the dinners often last[...] Click here to continue reading

The world’s greatest investor is running out of things to buy

It was late October, 1989.

East Germany was disintegrating, and the Berlin Wall was days away from coming down.

The Soviet Union was just starting to fall apart.

George H. W. Bush (the elder) was President of the United States.

And the #1 movie in the world was John Travolta’s Look Who’s Talking.

It was during that month that the US stock market, as measured by the S&P 500 index,[...] Click here to continue reading

These people lost one-third of their savings in a single week (not in crypto)

Let me say up front-- I know I’ve been a bit quiet lately.

It happens every year around this time when I hold the annual Liberty and Entrepreneurship Camp that I’ve been sponsoring for the past nine years.

The event is incredible: I bring in top entrepreneurs and business executives, plus students from all over the world-- places like Ivory Coast, Brazil, Singapore, Russia and the United States.

It’s five days of[...] Click here to continue reading

Introducing the Sovereign Man Global Passport Ranking

For the remainder of this week and through the weekend, I’m in Trakai, Lithuania – just outside the capital of Vilnius – for our 9th annual Blacksmith Liberty & Entrepreneurship Camp.

Each summer, I host 60+ students from around the world in this picturesque setting.

But these aren’t your normal “students.” These are entrepreneurs.

Some have already started businesses and are seeking the next step in their professional development. Others are still[...] Click here to continue reading