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: 2047

Latest Articles

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

This problem is 10,000 times bigger than the border wall

We are in the midst of the longest government shutdown in history.

Don’t get me wrong, I like having the government shut down. As I’ve said before, I believe it is my moral duty to pay as little taxes as possible.

The government does some really stupid things with your tax dollars. I’d rather not pay for a $2 billion Obamacare website that doesn’t work, or to defend Congressmen against sexual assault allegations.
[...] Click here to continue reading

Potential US presidential contender thinks YOUR money is in the “wrong hands”

Grab your wallets. Bill de Blasio, the Mayor of New York City, may be lining up a presidential run. And in his State of the City speech last Thursday, he gave us a peak of what the future could have in store…
“Here's the truth. Brothers and sisters, there's plenty of money in the world. There's plenty of money in this city. It's just in the wrong hands.”
Brothers and sisters? In the wrong hands?[...] Click here to continue reading

Yet another MAJOR reason to buy gold

For almost a year now, I’ve been advising you that gold production is plunging…

By itself, declining gold production isn’t a huge deal.

It takes hundreds of millions of years for minerals to form deep in the earth’s crust… but humans only need a few decades to extract it.

That’s why mining companies need to constantly explore for new deposits.

And that’s where the problem comes in… mining companies haven’t been[...] Click here to continue reading

Man bills the US government for his Corvette. This is how they responded…

Last week I decided to use my tax savings to pay the rent for US government workers affected by the shut down. Emails keep coming in from furloughed federal employees having a tough time. And money keeps going out.

As I’ve been highlighting over the past week, the government shutdown affects many more people than the 800,000 furloughed government workers. Some contractors and subcontractors might not even know their salary ultimately stems from government[...] Click here to continue reading

The rise of Socialism: Standing on the shoulders of morons

I’ve spent the last several days in this quaint Colombian city near the Venezuelan border (though I’m presently at the airport, en route to Chile for a board meeting).

As I’ve discussed several times in the past, Colombia is great. It’s naturally gorgeous, incredibly cheap, and full of interesting opportunities.

The country has recently emerged from decades of civil war. And the rebuilding efforts will have a profound impact on the economy… most[...] Click here to continue reading

Debt, dope and casinos: Chicago is circling the drain

While the federal government is slowly careening toward permanent, fiscal disaster, many state governments (which don’t have the power of the printing press) are already staring into the abyss…

Take Illinois, for example. It’s the most broke state in the US with nearly $250 billion in debt. And it only brings in enough in taxes each year to cover 92% of its expenses… so the problem is getting worse.

Good thing Rahm “you[...] Click here to continue reading

The government shutdown is far worse than we even imagined

Last Thursday, I published a Notes article saying I would use five-to-six figures of the money I saved last year in taxes to pay rent for furloughed government employees.

And so far, the response has been amazing.

We’ve already sent money out the door to help these people during the government shutdown.

And we’ve also received some interesting feedback that gives us a bit more insight into what’s happening to the 800,000+[...] Click here to continue reading

The SIX dumbest and most absurd stories of 2018

Every week we send out an alert to our premium subscribers highlighting important news that often goes overlooked…

We scour through recent court cases, laws moving through congress, whispers in the government and various, international news sites to find the latest things happening that could infringe upon your freedom… or that just make us laugh and cringe due to the never-ending stupidity of governments around the world.

If we had to pick one,[...] Click here to continue reading

I’m personally paying rent for furloughed gov’t employees. Here’s how to apply…

If you’ve been reading Notes from the Field for any period of time, you know I don’t like paying taxes. That’s why I’m living in Puerto Rico today paying almost nothing.

And no, it’s not because I’m doing anything illegal.

Puerto Rico is one of the most incredible LEGAL tax havens in the world; under special incentive laws that were passed by the government several years ago, it’s possible to pay just 4%[...] Click here to continue reading

Your tax dollars at work: Govt officially forgiving student debt

When all the tribes of Israel still lived in their holy land, they practiced something called the Jubilee.

According to the Book of Leviticus, the Jubilee existed because the Israeli land actually belonged to their god Yahweh…. and the current owners were just borrowing it (sounds like land ownership today – try not paying your property taxes and see who really owns your land).

So every 49 years, the Israelites would celebrate by[...] Click here to continue reading

It’s official: the Federal Reserve is insolvent

In the year 1157, the Republic of Venice was in the midst of war and in desperate need of funds.

It wasn’t the first time in history that a government needed to borrow money to fight a war. But the Venetians came up with an innovative idea:

Every citizen who loaned money to the government was to receive an official paper certificate guaranteeing that the state would make interest payments.

Those certificates[...] Click here to continue reading

The boogeyman is coming for you… no matter where in the world you are

The anti-terrorism unit suited up.

This was an international affair… a deal between the USA and New Zealand, two members of the Five Eyes intelligence alliance.

Helicopters, tactical suits, high caliber firearms—the whole shebang. They busted in the doors and successfully raided the multi-million-dollar compound.

What was this… capturing the next in line after Bin Laden? Busting an international human trafficking ring?

Actually, elite New Zealand law enforcement was acting at[...] Click here to continue reading

Steve Jobs and the secret to investing in public markets

One of the most brilliant businessmen of our time decided to do nothing.

In 1997, after being kicked out of his own company, Steve Jobs took back the reins of Apple.

At the time, Apple had less than 4% of the personal computer market. And the market didn’t think Apple could do anything more than corner its little niche (while Windows/Intel maintained the lion’s share).

Business professor Richard Rumelt spoke to Jobs[...] Click here to continue reading

What do the Paris riots and Japan’s lack of sex have in common?

The thick black smoke… the smell of burning rubber… overturned smoldering cars.

Looters smashed out shop windows and took whatever they could carry away. Ancient landmarks were desecrated.

Soldiers patrolled the wreckage as tanks are parked on the street corners.

Have aliens attacked? Was a third world dictator deposed? Did the government demand the sacrifice of the first born of each household?

Nope. France increased taxes on gas by a few[...] Click here to continue reading

This beautiful country is in crisis again, offering CHEAP living + a FAST passport

Last year, when Argentina offered a 100-year bond, I argued it was plain insanity.

Argentina sold $2.75 billion of the debt… but the issue was nearly four times oversubscribed.

How could investors place so much faith in a country that spent most of its post-independence history defaulting on its debts. Plagued by a series of populist governments since the mid-20th century, Argentina defaulted twice in the last twenty years, and eight times since[...] Click here to continue reading

I thought this deal was ABSURD, but pensions are piling in…

We have been talking about the pension crisis for years now. It’s without a doubt one of the biggest, financial disasters.

These pools of capital, responsible for paying out retirement benefits, are terribly underfunded. So anyone depending on a pension in their retirement years should seriously consider a Plan B – and sooner rather than later.

We aren’t alone in sounding the alarm on pensions.

The World Economic Forum reported that in[...] Click here to continue reading

This banking scandal is awful… even for Wells Fargo

I guess none of this should surprise me anymore.

Our old friends at Wells Fargo are involved in yet another banking scandal. And this one is really bad… people wrongfully lost their homes and ended up on the street.

But before I get into the details of this particularly atrocious mishap, let’s have a quick recap of Wells’ “greatest hits.”

Back in April, Wells was hit with a $1 billion fine for[...] Click here to continue reading

Why buy gold now? Because I don’t know

From 2000 through 2012, the price of gold increased every year, rising from around $280 an ounce to nearly $1,700. It was an unprecedented run.

Then, in 2013, gold took a nose dive, losing over 27% of its value.

It was widely reported that the Swiss National Bank, the former bastion of monetary conservatism, lost $10 billion that year just on its gold holdings.

As you probably know, central banks hold a[...] Click here to continue reading

Lenin would be so proud

Several years ago back in 2004-2006, if you had a pulse, you could borrow money from a bank to buy a house.

In fact, bank lending standards were so loose back then that there were some infamous cases of people who DIDN’T have a pulse who were still able to borrow money.

That’s right. Some banks were so irresponsible that they actually loaned money to dead people.

Of course, it turned out[...] Click here to continue reading