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: 2017

Latest Articles

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

Government now wants to seize your car for going 5 MPH over the limit

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

We’ve discussed this on and off for several years now. Civil asset forfeiture is a legal process that allows the government to seize assets and cash from citizens without any due process or judicial oversight.

You don’t even have to be charged with a crime. You are assumed guilty unless you can somehow prove your innocence.
[...] Click here to continue reading

Own a business? Consider this approach to slash your tax bill

By the middle of the 11th century in the town of Coventry, England, the local townspeople had spent years under the oppressive regime of their ruler, Leofric of Mercia.

Leofric taxed his people heavily... which was commonplace in the Middle Ages.

Feudal barons were extremely creative in taxing trade and commerce, demanding egregious tolls from merchants who passed through their lands and waterways.

Clive Day’s book History of Commerce describes the absurd[...] Click here to continue reading

Is crypto finished?

Think back to this time last year, around 2017’s Thanksgiving holiday in the US. . .

As you probably remember, BITCOIN was the dominant theme of the day, whether around the dinner table or in the news headlines.

Crypto prices had soared throughout 2017, climbing from $1,000 at the beginning of the year to around $7,500 by last November’s Thanksgiving holiday.

Then, over the course of that single weekend, Bitcoin jumped to[...] Click here to continue reading

099: Get the Pitchforks, the rich kids have nice jackets

Between the year 1054 and 1224, there were 83 civil wars in Russia. That’s about one civil war every two years.

Through the middle ages, feudal lords were periodically murdered in peasant revolts. When people sense too much unfairness in the system, the pitchforks come out.

Wealth and inequality have been with us for all of recorded human history, and probably before that.

Things get rocky when that gap grows large enough,[...] Click here to continue reading

An update from my time in Puerto Rico (and some signs of the top here)

I’ve been on the ground in Puerto Rico over a month now.

And let me tell you, Puerto Rico has it all… The good, the bad, the ugly, and the amazing.

Technically, Puerto Rico is part of the US. If you drive around, you’ll see all the normal stuff from the mainland, from Cheesecake Factory to Costco. Amazon also delivers to the island. It takes a bit longer, but you’ll get what you[...] Click here to continue reading

It’s possible the decline has already begun. . .

October can be an unforgiving month.

The terrible stock market crash that signaled the beginning of the Great Depression was in October of 1929.

The stock market crash known as Black Monday was in October of 1987.

In 1997, the Asian financial crisis sparked another stock market crash in… you guessed it—October.

And back in 2007 at the height of the giant bubble that almost brought down the entire financial system,[...] Click here to continue reading

Local government foils evil terrorist entrepreneurs once and for all

Tens of thousands of years ago, humankind was practically an endangered species.

Our early proto-ancestors had little means to protect against the harsh elements or defend against terrifying predators.

And finding enough food was a constant challenge.

Tribes of humans would roam from place to place, foraging for whatever they could eat until they had exhausted nature’s resources… and then be forced to move on to a new location.

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

This precious metal has almost NEVER been so cheap

Even after yesterday’s 600-point plunge in the Dow, bargains are hard to find.


The air is just starting to be let out of the 10-year “everything bull market” caused by a decade of ultra-low interest rates and the Fed printing trillions of dollars.


I don’t know if the volatility we’re seeing today is just a blip or the start of a much larger correction. But I do know we’re closer to the end of this[...]

Click here to continue reading

Trouble brewing in Hong Kong

Hong Kong has for decades been one of the most stable places in the world.

When the British took Hong Kong over in the late 1800s, it was nothing more than an irrelevant backwater made up of fishing villages and illiterate fishermen.

But after a few decades, it became one of the most prosperous places in the world.

And that wasn’t an accident. Hong Kong allowed unbridled capitalism to dominate and it[...] Click here to continue reading

Want a free $100K a year? Quit your job and move here…

According to the latest jobs report, averages wages for US workers increased 3.1% - the strongest growth since 2009.

 Median individual income in the US is now around $31,000, which means the typical American put an extra $1,000 in their pocket last year.

That’s solid extra cash.

But if you really want to see your wages grow, quit your job and become homeless.

 Just be sure you move to San Francisco.
[...] Click here to continue reading

Here are all the ways inflation is happening today

Something strange happened in the markets last month that signals trouble ahead…


When stocks fell from their September highs, you would have expected investors to run for cover in the world’s safe-haven asset – US Treasurys.


But that’s not what happened.


While stocks were plunging, Treasurys also fell. Yields on 30-year Treasurys increased to 3.4% from 3.22% (and yields have already more than doubled from their 2016 lows).


It’s a sign that the market is[...]

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Once again Warren Buffett has given us a major warning that everything is expensive

Buffett’s holding company, Berkshire Hathaway, just announced a blockbuster quarter, earning nearly $7 billion.

And Buffett’s still sitting on over $100 billion of cash. That means he’s got enough money to buy almost any company he wants, anywhere in the world.

But the only move Buffett made in the last quarter was buying $928 million of Berkshire Hathaway stock.

Some people might say this is a sign that Buffett thinks Berkshire’s stock[...] Click here to continue reading

Politicians now threatening and encouraging violence in the Land of the Free

“Between now and November 6, you better put a catcher’s mask on your face because I’m going to stomp all over your face with golf spikes.”

Unfortunately this isn’t trash talk from some middle school bully… it’s a public threat made by a Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate to his incumbent opponent.

With the midterm elections tomorrow, I wanted to take some time today to remind you who your vote actually supports.

Politics has[...] Click here to continue reading

Even Warren Buffett is fed up with these guys. . .

It wasn’t that long ago that IBM was easily the most dominant tech company in the world… the king of its industry.

Back in the 1980s nearly every large company, government, and institution used IBM’s products and services. It was the ultimate.

Yet over the last 30 or so years, IBM went on to miss literally every single major tech trend in the industry’s history. 

Initially they totally owned the PC[...] Click here to continue reading

Detroit police murder a family’s dogs in their own home

This one is pretty disturbing.

In January 2016, Detroit police were tipped off that someone was selling small quantities of marijuana out of their home.

Given that the City of Detroit’s murder rate exceeds that of Mexico, you’d think that the Police Department would have had bigger fish to fry.

Apparently they didn’t. So the cops obtained a search warrant and went over to the house.

They knocked, waited a moment,[...] Click here to continue reading

How the government uses its giant facial recognition database

In July 1996, flight TWA 800 exploded in mid-air, 12 minutes after taking off from JFK International Airport in New York. All 230 passengers on board were killed.

It would be four years before an investigation concluded the likely cause of the explosion was a short circuit in the plane’s fuel tank.

But at the time, President Clinton felt the overwhelming need to do something.

People suspected terrorism. So Clinton issued new[...] Click here to continue reading

What a bunch of idiots

Tell me this isn’t crazy--

A few days ago the creator of the most famous consumer ‘credit score’ in the United States announced a major overhaul in how it rates borrowers.

Consumers live and die by this ‘FICO score’. A high FICO score means that it’s easy to obtain loans at lower interest rates.

And a bad FICO score (in theory) means that you have a history of not paying your debts…[...] Click here to continue reading

You have far more control over your money that the system would have you believe

Apollo Robbins is better at what he does than anyone else in the world that I know is at what they do…

He calls himself a gentleman thief… Apollo is a renowned pick pocket, magician and mentalist who has entertained crowds for years. But I think he’s so much more than that…

He’s a zen master on human behavior. And he’s the world’s foremost expert on the very scarce resource of attention.

[...] Click here to continue reading

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