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: 1626

Latest Articles

This is a great way to make a lot of money overseas

I just had a great lunch with a couple of entrepreneurs that our Sovereign Man: Private Investor group funded a few months ago with a $1.5 million investment.

These guys are incredibly bright entrepreneurs, and they co-founded a wonderful business.

Essentially they’re becoming an Alibaba or, supplying business product needs from office furniture to welding equipment to printer cartridges to local Brazilian companies.

The business has been growing rapidly even though[...] Click here to continue reading

About that “pillar” of American democracy…

The series of debates in the contest to see who will become Captain of the Titanic is finally over.

And as the smoke clears from the evening’s entertainment, the main headlines are focusing on just one thing: Donald Trump’s pledged refusal to say he will accept the election results.

The media is spinning itself into an absolute frenzy over this, perhaps even worse than the Pussygate tape.

It started even before the[...] Click here to continue reading

Here’s a unique way to make money from the British pound’s historic plunge

Here’s a great example of how, no matter what’s happening in the world, there’s always an abundance of compelling, lucrative opportunities.

Lately the British pound has plunged to historic lows.

The pound recently touched a 31-year low against the US dollar, and an all-time low against the euro.

And earlier this month the pound shed nearly 3% of its value in the course of a single day.

That’s simply not supposed[...] Click here to continue reading

They think you’re crazy if you expect default. It’s crazy if you DON’T.

On May 12, 1780, John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail,
“I must study politics and war that my sons have the liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. . . in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry and porcelain.”
(… to which I would add, “so that their children can hide from the world in their safe spaces.”)

There may be no other quote that[...] Click here to continue reading

Thailand: “same same, but different”

The King of Thailand died yesterday, and the military junta running the country has declared an entire year of mourning.

I saw a quick headline from The Economist which screamed, “The death of the Thai king throws the country into turmoil.”


This must be a different country from the one I know.

I’ve been traveling to Thailand 3-4 times per year over the past decade, and we have staff who[...] Click here to continue reading

While media obsesses over Pussygate, US debt soars to $19.7 trillion

First of all, I want to say thanks for all the well-wishes. I’ve been flat on my back for the past several days with a particularly nasty case of the flu that I likely contracted en route to Los Angeles last week. Picking up the occasional bug is one of the hazards of spending a lot of time on planes… plus I have some special luck with airlines for always being seated next to a[...] Click here to continue reading

Global debt hits all-time high of $152 trillion; billionaire warns of “big squeeze”

“This is a global problem,” said billionaire hedge fund manager Ray Dalio yesterday to a packed audience of central bankers.

“Japan is closest to its limits, Europe is a step behind it, the US is a step or two behind Europe, and China is a few steps behind the United States.”

I can only imagine the mood in the room was a bit tense after that comment.

Mr. Dalio, founder of the[...] Click here to continue reading

Here’s some compelling data about the next recession

In the modern history of the US economy over the past seven decades, the longest period of time the country has gone without a recession was 10 years.

Since the end of World War II there have been 11 recessions in the United States of America, so the average time in between recessions is 6 years and 5 months.

The average length of recession was 336 days; the longest recession in modern history[...] Click here to continue reading

It’s official: US government ends fiscal year with $1.4 trillion debt increase

It’s official.

The United States government closed out the 2016 fiscal year that ended a few days ago on Friday September 30th with a debt level of $19,573,444,713,936.79.

That’s an increase of $1,422,827,047,452.46 over last year’s fiscal year close.

Incredible. By the way, that debt growth amounts to roughly 7.5% of the entire US economy.

By comparison, the Marshall Plan, which completely rebuilt Western Europe after World World II, cost $12[...] Click here to continue reading

Three reasons why the banking system is rigged against you

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“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

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–

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

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

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

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

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.

Click here to continue reading

Why I’m sending Janet Yellen a 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

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

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”

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.”


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

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

[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, founded just two years before in 1998 at the height of the dot-com bubble. went public on the NASDAQ just weeks[...] Click here to continue reading

Secret Federal Reserve minutes leaked

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?

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

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”

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