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: 1552

Latest Articles

Advice for young people: Make it count.

Very few people know this about me.

But, despite me being 37 years old, I actually have a little sister who recently turned 18 and just graduated from high school.

Technically she’s my half-sister-- after my parents got divorced, my father remarried and had another child when I was 19.

We have a great relationship, and I visited her last week when I was in the US to discuss the inevitable dilemma[...] Click here to continue reading

You don’t expect a disaster like this until it happens.

No one likes to pay for insurance.

If you don’t smoke, if you go to the gym regularly, and if you generally eat well, it just might not seem worth it.

Especially when the average cost of insuring against just catastrophic health incidents can take up about 4% of your income.

But most of us do it anyway.

After all, paying small amounts over time feels a lot better than having[...] Click here to continue reading

Wow. Congress wants to prohibit the Fed from bailing out bankrupt states.

Just days ago, in the midst of the Puerto Rico debt morass, 24 members of Congress introduced the “No Bailouts for State, Territory, and Local Governments Act.”

The title pretty much sums it up.

Congress knows there’s a massive wave of defaults looming at the city and state level.

Detroit and Puerto Rico are just the tip of the iceberg.

Aside from a few top performers like Alaska, South Dakota, and[...] Click here to continue reading

This surprise asset outperformed stocks and bonds for 27 years

Out here in Eastern Washington’s Yakima Valley are beautiful, seemingly endless fields of abundance and wealth.

But not ‘wealth’ in the conventional sense. I’m not talking about paper money that’s conjured out of thin air by central bankers.

I’m talking about real wealth. Real assets.

Growing up in a lower middle class household where my parents had to work three jobs each just to pay the rent, I never understood what any[...] Click here to continue reading

Money is power: how to take back yours from the government

Almost one year ago to the day, I introduced you to Joe-- a US Army combat veteran who lost his leg while deployed to Afghanistan in 2010.

Joe’s story was unfortunately all too familiar... except for one major twist.

Joe’s particular wound was so severe that the Army had to amputate nearly all of his right leg, practically up to his hip.

Now, it’s a rather sad statement that the United States[...] Click here to continue reading

How safe are top US banks?

Recently I was having drinks with a friend of mine who is an ultra-successful US real estate developer and investor.

He told me that his team had just closed a large real estate transaction worth hundreds of millions of dollars, and they got a sweetheart deal from the bank.

The bank is loaning them almost all of the money at an interest rate of around 2%.

But it gets better.

If[...] Click here to continue reading

What I learned this weekend from some of the smartest people I know

I come to New York City every year because it’s where the annual meeting of the Atlas 400 group is held.

If you’ve not heard of Atlas, it’s a social club… primarily for like-minded, high achieving, self-made individuals.

I always go out of my way to attend the annual meeting because the other members are some of the most interesting people I know.

The late Jim Rohn used to say that you[...] Click here to continue reading

It cost me $2,000 to write this article

Yesterday I had one of those nightmare travel experiences that just makes you want to scream.

Lan Airlines has a nonstop flight from Santiago to New York City, and I booked it months ago.

Normally my travel schedule is very last minute; I don’t really know where I’ll be two weeks from now, let alone six months from now.

The only two events for the entire year that I actually put on[...] Click here to continue reading

My absurd story of financial misery in Brazil

[Editor’s note: Sovereign Man team member Peter Keusgen, lead editor of our private investment service, is filling in while Simon is en route to New York City today.]

I’m sitting in a café in an upscale part of Sao Paulo, Brazil, a short walk from the Renaissance Hotel, watching the news come in about the impeachment of Brazil's president Dilma Rousseff.

And I believe the reason I’m in this café is the same[...] Click here to continue reading

Robert Kiyosaki invited me to speak to 2,500 people last night. Here’s what I told them-

Right before I walked on stage last night in front of an audience of roughly 2,500 people, I said to myself, ‘This isn’t how I thought my day would turn out…’

Hours before, I met up with Robert Kiyosaki at his hotel in Santiago to have a drink and catch up; he’s in town giving a series of seminars and invited me to come over and hang out for a bit.

After a[...] Click here to continue reading

This 65-year old lost most of his life’s savings for failing to file a form

By all accounts Bernhard Gubser was living the American Dream.

Born in Switzerland he moved to the Land of the Free in the early 1980s to work at an international shipping company based in Laredo, Texas.

Eventually Mr. Gubser worked his way up to be President of the company and began traveling around the world to expand the business.

He became a naturalized citizen of the United States in the 1990s, something[...] Click here to continue reading

Warren Buffett: “It’s a huge advantage NOT to have a lot of money…”

Warren Buffet has famously said many times that the vast majority of investors shouldn’t bother picking stocks.

Instead, he’s advised everyone from Lebron James to his own children to simply buy an S&P index fund and hold it ‘for the next 50 years.’

He’s probably right; most people probably should just buy an S&P index fund. But not because it’s a superior investment.

It’s because most people simply aren’t educated about business,[...] Click here to continue reading

Donald Trump is flat wrong about being the ‘King of Debt’

I’ve often joked very tongue-in-cheek that Donald Trump is the only person qualified to be President simply because he’s declared bankruptcy four times.

Trump himself talks up his own debt credentials, saying “I’m the King of Debt,” and “I know more about debt than practically anybody.”

He’s flat wrong, of course.

Trump may have racked up billions in debt for his companies, but Barack Obama has racked up more debt for America[...] Click here to continue reading

[Infographic] The number of Americans renouncing just keeps going up

Today the IRS published the latest figures on renunciation, showing that yet another 1,158 Americans have renounced their citizenship in the first quarter of 2016.

While this may not be setting a record for a single quarter, the trend is quite clear.

Click here to continue reading

It finally happened: 500 euro notes will no longer be produced

Well, it finally happened.

After months of innuendo, the European Central Bank (ECB) announced last night once and for all that they will no longer produce the 500 euro note.

The 500 euro note is the highest denomination of physical currency in the euro zone, and they’ve been talking about phasing it out for quite some time.

(The next highest is the 200 euro note, then 100. These will still be produced…[...] Click here to continue reading

Breaking down Warren Buffett’s rosy outlook for America

There’s something about being insanely rich that people will believe every word that comes out of your mouth no matter how bizarre.

And no, I’m not talking about Donald Trump. Warren Buffett is an even better example.

As one of the richest men in the world, Buffett’s opinions carry almost Biblical impact, even when they might be completely ridiculous.

Just a few days ago, for instance, he quipped that drinking Coca Cola[...] Click here to continue reading

ECB blames you for negative interest rates

Just after sunrise on April 19, 1775, a large contingent of British military troops arrived to the town of Lexington, Massachusetts.

They were under orders to search for and confiscate all weapons and munitions from the colonials-- something the British army had done countless times before.

In many ways it was a routine operation. And yet, that morning, roughly 80 local militiamen stood blocking their path.

Paul Revere had ridden through Lexington[...] Click here to continue reading

A personal introduction [VIDEO]

Personal Introduction

It occurred to me this morning that there's at least a 99% chance that you and I have never met.

We've had some absolutely spectacular events all over the world where we've been joined by giants like Ron Paul, Jim Rogers, Robert Kiyosaki, Marc Faber, and many more.

But even better, these events have given me the opportunity to meet thousands of our readers.

Sovereign Man readers are some of[...] Click here to continue reading

It took me a year to close this deal (but it was worth it)

After a mind-numbing, year-long process, one of the longest business deals I’ve ever been involved with in my entire life finally closed a few days ago.

I couldn’t be more excited.

Through Sovereign Man’s parent company, we purchased a wonderful, Australia-based business that’s been around for over 20 years and is a pretty iconic brand in the country.

Plus, it’s had a long history of profitability and zero debt, so it’s a[...] Click here to continue reading

This gorgeous penthouse in the nicest part of town sold for $200,000

My friend Zac’s sprawling penthouse apartment is over 3,500 square feet.

It boasts five bedrooms, a library, game room, office, two large terraces, and exceptional views of the entire city.

Plus it’s located in the nicest part of town, just a short walk from all the best restaurants and nightlife.

The price he paid? Just over $200,000.

You couldn’t even build a place like that for so cheap… so Zac essentially[...] Click here to continue reading

It’s now almost impossible to save for retirement

My grandfather was something of a Renaissance Man.

He was a farmer, schoolteacher, fisherman, collector, real estate investor… and one of those guys who always seemed to know how to do everything.

He could take apart an engine, build a house with his bare hands, tame wild horses, treat life-threatening wounds, play the guitar… and he was extremely well respected in his community.

Plus, like many from his generation who grew up[...] Click here to continue reading

This virtually guarantees that your taxes are going through the roof

Ever since I was a kid, I always knew that cancer runs deep in my family.

My father died more than a decade ago of a horrible brain tumor. His father had cancer. Both of my mother’s parents died of cancer.

I knew all of this before I even understood what cancer was.

Not willing to leave the issue to genetic luck, though, my mother started educating my sister and I to[...] Click here to continue reading

Meet the selfish tycoon who dodged billions in taxes

Chances are you’ve never heard of Chuck Feeney. And he’s worked very hard to keep it that way.

Feeney, who will turn 85 on Saturday, had an incredibly successful business career, amassing a multibillion dollar empire based primarily on duty-free retail shopping.

I know what you’re thinking: he already sounds like a bad person… earning a vast fortune by enabling shoppers around the world to avoid paying sales tax and VAT.

This[...] Click here to continue reading

Why I’m proud that my tax bill is ZERO

I’ll start with a confession.

Based on the returns I’ve just prepared for 2015, my tax bill for the year amounts to exactly $0.00.

In fact, for the second year in a row, I legitimately owe zero tax. And I’m damn proud of that.

(And no, it’s not from any illegal tricks. I’ll explain how I did it later.)

Not a shred of my efforts goes to help finance bombs, wars,[...] Click here to continue reading

After three days without water in Chile

Over the weekend, just as I was arriving back to Chile after a few weeks away, the sky above Santiago opened up and started to dump heavy rain on the city.

I was already in the car on the way down to one of our farms once the rains began.

But apparently the downpour was so heavy it caused an epic, almost biblical flood of some of the major rivers in the area.
[...] Click here to continue reading

This artist still makes $300,000 per year from something he created in 1971

It was early spring in 1971 when an obscure American folk singer wrote a song that would change his life forever.

Sitting at a café in Saratoga Springs, New York, Don McLean scribbled the lyrics to a long ballad about an experience he had as a 13-year-old boy.

It began with a radio bulletin that said that Buddy Holly had died in a plane crash. The boy was crushed. But the man used[...] Click here to continue reading

Actually, Panama has a higher corporate tax than Denmark…

Last night I got robbed.

Not in the literal sense of the word. There weren’t armed men in masks holding me up on the sidewalk in Panama City.

(I’ve been coming here for 13 years and have never once felt unsafe...)

It was at the cashier’s cage at the Veneto Casino.

After a few hours with a friend at the roulette table where I was happy to have walked away at[...] Click here to continue reading

Why is this country so poor?

“What is it about this place that makes it so poor?”

It was a simple question posed to me by a friend as we walked the streets of Managua, Nicaragua earlier this week.

Nicaragua is a lovely place. But it’s poor. Very poor. It’s the least developed economy in Central America... and that’s saying something.

But it’s worth considering: what makes an economy like Nicaragua so poor? And what makes others so[...] Click here to continue reading

The incredible, intergenerational benefits of having a second passport

It’s been way too long since I’ve visited Managua, and since I was already nearby in Colombia, I thought it would make sense to come check out Nicaragua once again.

One of the people on my staff has a father from Nicaragua, and we were able to obtain a Nicaraguan passport for her as a result.

This is one of the things I encourage everyone to consider: having a second passport makes so[...] Click here to continue reading

This place is the Austin, Texas of South America

What an amazing weekend.

We just finished up a wonderful event here in Medellin for members of our Total Access group.

(Total Access is the highest level of Sovereign Man membership, and we routinely hold trips like this to introduce members to business and investment opportunities all over the world, and to the interesting, influential people within our network.)

As an example, we started on Thursday night with a reception for our[...] Click here to continue reading

2,600 year old wisdom from one of the first libertarians

My team and I are holding a very special event for members of our Sovereign Man: Total Access group for the next few days here in Medellin, Colombia.

Medellin is a spectacular city. It’s vibrant and growing, and it has a fantastic energy. I’ll tell you much more about this, and what we’re up to, next week.

But before I sign off for a couple of days to focus on our event, I[...] Click here to continue reading

Incredible. US government just screwed itself out of $3 billion in tax revenue

What’s the dumbest thing you can possibly imagine your government doing?

It’s a serious question-- think about it for a moment.

Now, whatever you come up with, I’m about to present an option that will probably blow it out of the water.

This morning, pharmaceutical mega-companies Pfizer and Allergan announced that they were bowing to US government pressure and terminating their $160 billion merger that was announced a few months ago.

[...] Click here to continue reading

Porn star explains why you are a scumbag who “gets in the way of justice”

The Internet practically exploded this morning after a detailed report was published proving that dozens of corrupt politicians around the world have been stealing public funds and hiding the loot overseas.

In other news, the Pope is Catholic.

Not to make light of this, but this hardly comes as a surprise. There’s some Grade A filth in positions of power who routinely funnel public funds into their own pockets.

Whether they secret[...] Click here to continue reading

Avoid putting your money in these banks

A friend of mine who’s an equities analyst at a large brokerage firm recently sent out pretty ironic note to all of his private clients.

He focuses on the financial sector, so his job is basically to analyze bank stocks and figure out which ones his investors should buy.

To determine this, he does a deep dive on banks’ financial statements, assessing everything from their capital levels to their non-performing loan ratios.

[...] Click here to continue reading

Coming soon: the 100-year loan to a bankrupt government

After every major financial crisis there’s always a retrospective analysis where we can look back and identify “the top”.

Looking back at the tech bubble of the 1990s, for example, all of my friends in technology point to the acquisition of Netscape by AOL for $4.2 billion as the obvious top of the tech bubble.

We’ve discussed many times before how 2016 is looking a whole lot like 2008, right before Lehman went[...] Click here to continue reading