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: 1918

Latest Articles

Why you’re likely exposed to one of the dumbest investments in history

Last June, in one of the most egregious displays of economic insanity, Argentina was able to raise $2.75 billion by selling bonds with a ONE HUNDRED YEAR maturity.

Even more miraculously, the bond turned out to be wildly popular with investors.

So basically investors willingly forked over billions of dollars to a country that has a history of defaulting on its debt, confiscating private assets, and engaging in rampant corruption… for an entire[...] Click here to continue reading

America’s long-term challenge #3: destruction of the currency

On April 2, 1792, George Washington signed into law what’s commonly referred to as the Mint and Coinage Act.

It was one of the first major pieces of legislation in the young country’s history… and it was an important one, because it formally created the United States dollar.

Under the Act, the US dollar was defined as a particular amount of copper, silver, or gold. It wasn’t just a piece of paper.

[...] Click here to continue reading

HUGE opportunity in Puerto Rico… and the developed country whose looming debt crisis is far worse

We just finished a really -sensational- conference here in San Juan over the weekend showcasing Puerto Rico… with all of its challenges and opportunities.

We've talked about this before-- Puerto Rico is an attractive place to live and do business thanks to some forward thinking tax incentives which stem from its unique status as a US territory.

All US territories, including Puerto Rico, American Samoa, US Virgin Islands, etc. are technically part of[...] Click here to continue reading

093: The future of crypto in Puerto Rico and avoiding fanaticism

I’m writing from San Juan, Puerto Rico today.

The Sovereign Man team is here to host 150+ Total Access members over the weekend.

And on today’s podcast, we discuss the amazing tax benefits in PR... and why crypto wealth is flocking to the island.

These people think crypto is going to the moon. And by being residents in PR, they’ll pay 0% capital gains tax on any appreciation after they move here.
[...] Click here to continue reading

America’s long-term challenge #2: the looming retirement crisis

Last week, the financial services giant Northwestern Mutual released new data showing that 1 in 3 Americans has less than $5,000 in retirement savings.

It’s an unfortunately familiar story. And Northwestern Mutual’s data is entirely aligned with other research we’ve seen in the past, including our own.

The Federal Reserve’s most recent Survey of Consumer Finances, for example, shows that the median bank balance among US consumers is just $2,900.

And Bank[...] Click here to continue reading

It gets worse: Tesla now has to compete with $50,000 electric BMWs going for $54/month

As if things weren’t bad enough for beleaguered Tesla…

The company lost $1.1 billion in cash in the last quarter, executives are leaving the company in droves, it’s facing production issues with its Model 3 and, as I recently discussed, Elon Musk insulted analysts on the latest earnings call by dismissing their questions – regarding the company’s survival – as “boring” and “boneheaded,” (just after shareholders approved his obscenely large pay package).

Now,[...] Click here to continue reading

Breaking down America’s worst long-term challenges: #1- Debt.

On October 22, 1981, the national debt in the United States crossed the $1 trillion threshold for the first time in history.

It took nearly two centuries to reach that unfortunate milestone.

And over that time the country had been through a revolution, civil war, two world wars, the Great Depression, the nuclear arms race… plus dozens of other wars, financial panics, and economic crises.

Today, the national debt stands at more[...] Click here to continue reading

One family’s TWO YEAR nightmare of having their child taken by the state

This one is really infuriating.

It started back in 2016… on April 6th to be specific. A Philadelphia-area mother walked into a clinic because her 7-month old baby was being excessively fussy.

The doctor performed a cursory examination, concluded the baby had an ear infection, and prescribed an antibiotic.

Later that day, the mother noticed what seemed like a bone popping in the baby’s side and thought this might be the source[...] Click here to continue reading

Meet America’s next pension casualty: the inventor of chocolate sprinkles

In 1923, a young Jewish immigrant from a small town in modern-day Ukraine founded a candy company in Brooklyn, New York that he called “Just Born”.

His name was Samuel Bernstein. And if you enjoy chocolate sprinkles or the hard, chocolate coating around ice cream bars, you can thank Bernstein-- he invented them.

Nearly 100 years later, the company is still a family-owned business, producing some well-known brands like Peeps and Hot Tamales.
[...] Click here to continue reading

“Bitcoin will go to $40,000 this year. . .”

Every year around this time I attend a small, private event to break bread with some of the most invigorating people I know.

There’s only about 100 people in the room-- but they’re all at the top of their game… business and intellectual leaders from a variety of industries.

And we gather each year to build relationships with one another and hear about some cutting edge ideas that are usually 2-3 years from[...] Click here to continue reading

Capitalism has new rules. And they’re seriously messed up.

It was just a month and a half ago that Tesla approved an eye-popping long-term pay package, worth as much as $50 BILLION to founder and CEO Elon Musk.

And on Wednesday afternoon, Tesla held its first corporate earnings call since then.

You’d think that Elon would have been gracious and professional, anxious to demonstrate that the shareholders' trust in him has been well-placed.

Instead the call was filled with contempt and[...] Click here to continue reading

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

[Introduction from Simon: We’ve got one more investing Notes today.

This essay, originally published in August of 2016, I think best exemplifies the strategy Sovereign Man’s Chief Investment Strategist, Tim Staermose, uses in his 4th Pillar investment service.

It shows you the huge potential in buying quality assets for less than their net cash backing. It’s hard to go wrong when buying the right companies for so low a price.

And despite[...] Click here to continue reading

This billionaire’s “$5 million test” will make you a way better investor

[Introduction from Simon: Notes readers know I’m nervous about the market today.

Prices for stocks, bonds and real estate are near all-time highs. Meanwhile, government, corporate and consumer debt are also at all-time highs.

And in the face of record valuations and record debt, we’re seeing rising interest rates (the yield on the 10-year Treasury hit 3% last week for the first time since 2014) and other signs of inflation like rising oil[...] Click here to continue reading

And . . . yet another Wells Fargo banking scandal

Is it Friday again? Must be time for another banking scandal!

Seriously-- these banking scandals are happening with such regularity and predictability it would be almost comical. . . were it not for the millions of people who have had their lives turned upside down.

The latest transgression involves, once again, our old friends at Wells Fargo.

Bear in mind that the ink isn’t even dry yet on the $1 billion check[...] Click here to continue reading

The coming boom in gold prices. . .

In June 1884, a local farmer named Jan Gerritt Bantjes discovered gold on his property in a quiet corner of the South African Republic.

Though no one had any idea at the time, Bantjes’ farm was located on a vast geological formation known as the Witwatersrand Basin… which just happens to contain the world’s largest known gold reserves.

Within a few months, other local farmers started discovering gold… kicking off a full-fledged gold[...] Click here to continue reading

The latest ridiculous lawsuit in the Sue-nited States

On June 6, 1991, Richard Overton finally hit his breaking point.

Apparently, Mr. Overton had been spending quite a lot of time in front of his television, watching a flurry of beer commercials featuring scantily clad women falling all over themselves for average looking men.

Overton realized immediately that drinking Anheuser-Busch’s magical products would be the solution to all of his problems.

So he hurtled to his nearest liquor store for a[...] Click here to continue reading

092: Why on earth are you still letting big banks screw you?

Wells Fargo stole the headlines yet again today for defrauding its clients.

The bank was fined $1 billion today for selling over 500,000 clients auto insurance they didn’t need (which in some cases caused the owners to default on their car loans and get their cars repossessed) and for charging erroneous fees to mortgage borrowers.

If you still bank with Wells Fargo, maybe this will finally serve as a wakeup call to take[...] Click here to continue reading

More hilarious facts about Tesla from a hedge fund manager who’s short the stock

A few weeks ago, we shared a note about Tesla from the hedge fund Vilas Capital Management. The firm, which is short the shares, said “Tesla is going to crash in the next 3-6 months.”

I received an update from Vilas this morning explaining why they’re even more bearish on Tesla today. The firm pared its short positions after the recent selloff. And Telsa now comprises about 98% of their short book.

Clearly[...] Click here to continue reading

How the poster boy for bad financial management lost shareholders $25 billion

In January 1980, the price of gold hit a record high of $850 per ounce. Then it began a nearly two-decade slide.

By the summer of 1999, gold hit $250 per ounce-- a level not seen since the 1970s.

So naturally it was at this point that the British government made the infamously stupid decision to sell the bulk of their gold reserves.

They began dumping their gold on July 6, 1999.[...] Click here to continue reading

There is no ‘patriotic duty’ to pay more tax

In 1873 during the administration of Ulysses S. Grant, the government abolished its income tax.

Aside from a single episode in 1894, there would be no income tax in the United States of America for nearly 40 years.

It was during this period that the United States emerged as the largest, most powerful economy in the world.

And the country achieved this with no income tax. No inflation. And very little public[...] Click here to continue reading

Interested in getting a Second Passport? Here’s how you can BUY one…

Citizenship By Investment - How to BUY a Second Passport...
Sovereign Man readers know a second citizenship is an important part of any Plan B.

In fact, I consider having a second passport the “ultimate insurance policy”.

It ensures that no matter what is happening in your home country, you will always have a place to live, work, invest, travel or even retire.

And, in extreme cases, it can allow you and your family to seek refuge somewhere safe.

There are[...] Click here to continue reading

091: One of the most important issues of our time

On Monday, I shared a recording from aboard the Investor Summit at Sea, hosted by my friends, the Real Estate Guys.

This is one of the only conferences I attend each year as a speaker. And that’s because I get so much value from the other speakers and attendees – guys like Chris Martenson, Adam Taggart, Robert Kiyosaki, Peter Schiff and G. Edward Griffin.

Yesterday, I was on a panel with Peter Schiff,[...] Click here to continue reading

US government says its budget deficit will PERMANENTLY exceed $1 trillion

Yesterday the US government’s own Congressional Budget Office (CBO) published a pretty sobering report about the state of Uncle Sam’s finances-- and what the future holds.

According to the CBO, the federal government’s spending habits are in such dire straits that its total budget deficit will exceed $1 trillion by 2020. That’s just two years away.

The budget deficit, of course, is the amount of money that the government overspends each year.

[...] Click here to continue reading

090: Can’t miss podcast – Recorded live from the 2018 Investor Summit at Sea

I’m writing you today from a cruise ship, on my way to Puerto Rico.

Every year, I get together with some of the smartest guys in finance and investing for my friends, the Real Estate Guys, Investor Summit at Sea.

I almost never speak at conferences outside of Sovereign Man events. But I always make an exception for this one.

It’s rare that you get to spend a week chatting with and[...] Click here to continue reading

The world’s most powerful banker sees chance of “market panic”

The most powerful banker in the world, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, just released his annual letter to shareholders.

Behind Warren Buffett’s annual missive, Dimon’s letter is probably the most read and deliberated executive report out there.

For one, Dimon is one of the most connected and respected men in finance.

And given his bank’s massive size (it earned $24.4 billion on $103.6 billion in revenue last year) and reach (it’s a[...] Click here to continue reading

And the fastest growing bank asset in 2017 was… SUBPRIME!

They say that goldfish have the shortest memory in the Animal Kingdom… something like 3-seconds.

But it turns out this isn’t actually true.

Researchers at the Israeli Technion Institute of Technology conducted an experiment in 2009 proving that even the tiniest fish could be trained to recall certain sounds after as long as FIVE MONTHS.

According to another study from the University of Chicago, Dolphins ostensibly have the best memories in the[...] Click here to continue reading

Why Elon Musk’s bankruptcy joke on Twitter isn’t funny

Nearly 4,000 years ago in the mid 18th century BC, the King of Babylon passed away, leaving the throne to his 18-year old son Hammurabi.

Hammurabi was smart enough to know that his kingship would be incredibly short if he didn’t do something quickly to assert his power.

So as his first order of business, Hammurabi made a bold proclamation that won him incredible support from his people: he forgave ALL citizens’ debt[...] Click here to continue reading

A new ICO from a bunch of porn stars

It’s about time. Someone has finally discovered what the adult entertainment industry has been missing for so many years: blockchain.

It’s true: a bunch of porn stars have recently gotten together to launch Bunny Software Ltd, a new cryptofinance startup that aims to ‘disrupt’ how people pay for pornography.

Instead of charging your credit card for that Pornhub Premium account, now you can charge your credit card for Bitcoin… then trade Bitcoin for[...] Click here to continue reading

US government issuing $300 billion in new debt– just this WEEK

I’m doing my best to take a few days off this week, and have the pleasure of spending time with some friends here in a fairly remote corner of Vietnam’s magnificent coastline.

This is one of the most pristine places I’ve ever been-- a high-end resort nestled at the top of a mountain in the middle of nowhere overlooking Vietnam’s postcard-perfect Vinh Hy Bay.

I’ve traveled extensively through Vietnam over the years, from[...] Click here to continue reading

“Tesla, without any doubt, is on the verge of bankruptcy.”

Just a few days ago, shareholders of Tesla approved an almost comical pay package for their cult leader CEO Elon Musk that could potentially put $50 BILLION in his pocket over the next decade.

Let’s put this figure in perspective: at $5 billion per year, Musk would make more than every single CEO in the S&P 500. COMBINED.

In other words, if you add up the salaries of all the CEOs of the[...] Click here to continue reading

089: FFS… please send China a fruit basket

I was in the gym earlier today trying to ward off the effects of trans-Pacific travel and 12 hours of time zone changes when the news flashed across the TV that the US government was issuing another round of tariffs against China.

This may be the dumbest move they could possibly make.

It’s so stupid, in fact, that I couldn’t contain myself in print. For this, I had to go to audio… and[...] Click here to continue reading

Congress quietly formed a committee to bail out 200 pension funds

The US pension system has gotten so bad, Congress is actually planning for its failure.

As the government was working on the recent, new budget deal and subsequent boost in government spending, Congress quietly snuck in a provision that forms a committee which would use federal funds to bail out as many as 200 “multiemployer” pension plans – where employers and labor unions jointly provide retirement benefits to employees.

As is often the[...] Click here to continue reading

Japan is so broke that its prisons are full of 80+ year old ‘felons’

‘Mrs. F.’ was 84 years old the first time she ever went to prison.

Her crime? Petty shoplifting. She stole rice, strawberries, and cold medicine.

She served her time. Got released. Then shoplifted again so that she’d go back to prison.

She’s now 89 years old serving out another 2 ½ year sentence, not too far away from where I am right now, at a women’s prison about 60 miles outside of[...] Click here to continue reading

At $21 TRILLION, the national debt is growing 36% faster than the US economy

Well, it happened again.

On Friday afternoon, the national debt of the United States hit another major milestone, soaring past $21 trillion for the first time ever.

Clearly that is an enormous number… it’s actually larger than the size of the entire US economy, which is pretty incredible.

But what’s always been the more important story about America’s pile of debt is how rapidly it’s growing.

For example, in the span[...] Click here to continue reading

If you have a family, this is a no-brainer option

Yesterday I spent the day up in the mountains above Medellin with some colleagues, touring a cannabis plantation that I invested in a few years ago.

Cannabis production is now legal in Colombia. And the company is one of a handful that has a license.

I'm not a user myself, but I've long understood both the financial benefits of cannabis production, as well as the potential health benefits of the product.

We're[...] Click here to continue reading