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: 2320

Latest Articles

Hello, irony…

October 1, 2010
Vilnius, Lithuania

Yesterday was an eventful day. I had stayed up most of the prior evening in Kiev with a rather interesting group (including the Ukrainian national Monopoly champion and some folks from the foreign ministry), and in the morning my wonderful friends Sasha and Dasha took me to Boryspol airport for my departure.

Now, the airport experience in Ukraine is nothing short of a complete disaster-- hour-long queues, lost[...] Click here to continue reading

Planting flags in Ukraine

September 29, 2010
Kiev, Ukraine

In our regular conversations, we talk a lot about planting multiple flags to diversify sovereign risk. I'm convinced that governments are the greatest enemy to prosperity, and the way to protect ourselves is to diversify our assets and interests across multiple geographies so that no single government has control.

Ordinarily, we talk about jurisdictions like Panama or Hong Kong-- great places to bank or structure a company. But[...] Click here to continue reading

What I told the audience in Kiev

September 28, 2010
Kiev, Ukraine

I gave a speech last night in Kiev to a large audience of bright, young minds who are about to start their professional lives and wanted to find out more about global opportunities.

The topic of my remarks was how to survive and thrive in the Age of Turmoil, why there are tremendous opportunities around the world, and how to capitalize on them.

In order to set[...] Click here to continue reading

A city in transition… sort of.

September 27, 2010
Kiev, Ukraine

The last time I was here in Ukraine, I left after just one day, in disgust.

This doesn't happen too often for me-- I'm hardened and patient enough with any country's problems to stick it out for a while. But my last encounter a few years ago went something like this:

* Chaos at the airport. Upon arrival, it took well over 3-hours to clear immigration and[...] Click here to continue reading

German Assets at Greek Discounts

September 23, 2010
Munich, Germany

Despite being governed and regulated by federal policies, local economies within a single nation or monetary union typical vary wildly. In the United States, for example, Texas is having an easier time than, say, Florida. Oklahoma City isn't suffering as much as Detroit. Etc.

The same holds true within the European Union... big time. In fact, the whole of the continent is being split into the 'haves' and[...] Click here to continue reading

Tearing down The Wall

September 22, 2010
Frankfurt, Germany

From the moment he walked out on stage, the crowd was in a frenzy. Roger Waters may be 67 years old, but as one of the chief creative forces behind the band Pink Floyd, his seminal work "The Wall" resonates even more today than it did 30+ years ago.

I was there at Chicago's United Center on Monday night with floor seats to his concert. Actually, it was[...] Click here to continue reading

It’s time to act

September 20, 2010
Chicago, IL, USA

If you've ever been on a safari or studied animals in the wild, you've probably noticed that they have razor sharp instincts. For animals, sometimes their lives depend on their sense of awareness and instinct.

Whether it's a deer in the forest or herd of wildebeest in the Serengeti, animals have a highly attuned sense of danger. They don't know why, they don't know from what, but[...] Click here to continue reading

How I planted multiple flags

September 17, 2010
Dallas, Texas, USA

My time here in the United States is winding down, and I'll be heading back overseas shortly. This trip has been great, affording me ample time to spend with my family, and especially my father who is now feeling much better.

Unfortunately, due to these personal commitments, I've been unable to hold any subscriber gatherings during my trip to the US... but I will look forward to[...] Click here to continue reading

Pick your battles

September 16, 2010
Dallas, Texas, USA

I was reading an article online a few days ago that one of our members was kind enough to send along. The article described how public transit commuters in Philadelphia are now being randomly subjected to forced pat downs and baggage searches with explosives-sniffing dogs.

Another subscriber followed that up with an article about the US Department of Homeland Security implementing a new technology that can scan[...] Click here to continue reading

Hedge your bets

September 15, 2010
Dallas, Texas USA

Think about all the various things most people depend on as they go about their days... they get up in the morning, flip the switch, and the lights come on. One turn of the faucet and the water starts running. They open the refrigerator to a cornucopia of food and beverage.

They get in their cars and make an uneventful drive to work down the highway, perhaps[...] Click here to continue reading

Building trusted networks

September 14, 2010
Dallas, Texas, USA

It's true that no one is an island. The concept of a community is one of the basic building blocks of the human experience, and we have been building communities since we first walked the earth.

Traditionally, human beings formed families, and families became tribes. These were large collectives based on common factors like geography, DNA, and eventually languages and core values.

Over time, tribes grew[...] Click here to continue reading

Declare your economic independence

September 13, 2010
Dallas, Texas, USA

What would you do if your sole source of income dried up tomorrow?

Would you be prepared? Do you have a plan?

In the Age of Turmoil, many income sources that were considered 'stable' in the old system will be at risk; this includes retirement pensions, investment income, salaries and wages, and small business profits.

For example, retirees living on company pensions[...] Click here to continue reading

Information about our premium service

September 10, 2010
Dallas, Texas, USA

I've really enjoyed reading so many of your insightful comments over the last few days as we've engaged in a serious discussion about the Age of Turmoil. Like you, I hate to dwell on the negative, but I think it's critical to frame the solutions we've only started to cover.

The game is changing. Success or failure in the future will no longer depend on accidents[...] Click here to continue reading

Capital Preservation

September 9, 2010
Dallas, Texas, USA

How would you feel if a gang of criminals broke into your home, stole your most valuable possessions, and then went on national TV to claim it was for your own good?

My guess is that you would be pretty angry. Yet this is essentially what our central bankers and political leadership are doing right now.

Recently, at a picturesque resort in beautiful Wyoming, Fed chairman[...] Click here to continue reading

Will you have your life turned upside down because of limiting choices?

Yesterday we began a series of articles covering what I think is the most important issue we face.  If you missed it, I encourage you to read the post before proceeding.

We have entered what I call the Age of Turmoil, a time that is marked by rapid change and fluctuating crises.  The old system of debt and consumption that gave us great salaries, generous benefits, stock market and housing appreciation, and a high[...] Click here to continue reading

How to survive and thrive in the coming turmoil

I was in Paris recently, in a park near the Louvre museum enjoying a lazy summer day. I wasn't the only one with such a great idea, there were probably a few hundred others enjoying the sunshine-- children playing football, kissing lovers entwined on the grass, businessmen on a lunch break...

You can imagine my surprise when I looked up and saw a squad of French infantry troops on patrol through the park, brandishing[...] Click here to continue reading

Questions, and a free gift

September 3, 2010
Dallas, Texas, USA

I've been really humbled by all the well-wishing emails and comments this week about my father's health. He's doing much better, but it's good for us to spend some time together.

As I'm sure you'll agree, there's really nothing more important than health; all the money, freedom, and friends in the world mean nothing if we're not around or able to enjoy the experiences.

Too many[...] Click here to continue reading

Words to live by

September 2, 2010
Dallas, Texas, USA

The late, great comedian George Carlin once said, "I have certain rules I live by. My first rule: I don't believe anything the government tells me."

Carlin wasn't a fringe lunatic or conspiracy theorist by any stretch; he was simply an intelligent man who had the courage and curiosity to ask uncomfortable, and usually hilarious questions about public policy.

I was thinking about Carlin a lot[...] Click here to continue reading

Reasons to be optimistic

September 1, 2010
Dallas, Texas, USA

I've been on the ground in the United States for less than 48-hours, and it's already become clear to me that this country is in need of some therapy.

The American public seems to be getting a steady diet of negativity from the media-- headlines are incredibly gloomy, and advertisers are incorporating the recession into their TV and radio commercials. Even President Obama turned his Iraq[...] Click here to continue reading

Family challenges of expatriation

August 30, 2010
Frankfurt Airport, Germany

Though I'm penning this letter to you from the airport in Frankfurt, Germany, I will likely be somewhere over Nova Scotia by the time you receive it. My father is quite ill-- I'm traveling to the United States to see him, as well as attend to some other personal business.

He's a strong guy and I'm sure everything will be fine, but I think it will do[...] Click here to continue reading

Questions: Dominican Republic citizenship, offshore web hosting, GOOOH

August 27, 2010
Vilnius, Lithuania

I'm really excited about something.

While I have no Polish ancestry, I thought it might be useful to you if I found and published a reliable immigration resource while I was in Poland a few weeks ago.

After spending a lot of time interviewing various attorneys and testing their qualifications, I found one who 1) had solid English skills, 2) would be willing to do all the[...] Click here to continue reading

Vientiane, Laos: undiscovered and full of opportunity

August 24, 2010
Paris, France

Yesterday I wrote to you about Sophia Antipolis, a beautiful place in the South of France that's just about perfect for expats with families who don't want to make any compromises... what I call the "Internationalists" from the 7 expat categories.

Today I want to tell you about another French-influenced place that's great for "pioneers" and "expedtioners" who are opportunity-focused but not concerned about being in a developing[...] Click here to continue reading

Expatriating with families: a hidden gem in France

August 23, 2010
Somewhere in France

I've spent the weekend exploring a wonderful place in the south of France that definitely has something for everyone.

I recognize that there are a lot of people interested in expatriation... but they're picky. Maybe they don't feel safe in some countries, don't want to deal with poverty or infrastructure challenges in others, etc. In short, they want something that looks and feels just like home.

[...] Click here to continue reading

Questions: The best places for an overseas business

August 20, 2010
Paris, France

I met a French couple last week when I was vacationing in the Tatra mountains of southern Poland, and I had a rather rude awakening: my French has gotten terribly rusty. I stammer in mid-sentence and fill the awkward gaps with Spanish and Portuguese words as an odd replacement.

French was my first foreign language-- my European mother taught it to my sister and I since we were[...] Click here to continue reading

Making money overseas

August 19, 2010
Krakow, Poland

I took a short tour to the Auschwitz museum a few days ago. It was my second time there, and I still lack the words to adequately describe the experience.

If you've ever been to the Grand Canyon and seen that vast expansiveness first hand, you probably thought the same thing I did the first time I went there and stared ostensibly at the edge of the earth--
[...] Click here to continue reading

Facts and Myths about Renunciation of US Citizenship

Vilnius, Lithuania
August 18, 2010

I was reading the Financial Times on board a recent flight from Vienna to Vilnius. Right smack dab on the front page was an article about the growing movement of Americans who are renouncing their US citizenship.

As the article goes,

"At the US Embassy in London, there is a waiting list that none of the officials likes to discuss. On the list are Americans hoping to[...] Click here to continue reading

Who can you rely on?

August 17, 2010
Krakow, Poland

I opened up the papers a few days ago, and the top story really surprised me. The Russian government announced that it was banning grain and flour exports through the rest of the year. Belarus and Kazakhstan may do the same.

Russia is dealing with record drought and heat; crop production is down, and this has caused a recent surge in domestic prices. In an attempt to curtail[...] Click here to continue reading

The hardest thing I’ve done in years…

August 16, 2010
Zakopane, Poland

I am a mountain person. There's something about peaks that just makes my heart sing; I'll take fresh mountain air over beaches any day of the week. The really interesting thing about the mountains, though, is how unpredictable and unforgiving they can be. I was given a friendly reminder of that over the weekend.

Several friends and I spent the last few days hiking and climbing in the[...] Click here to continue reading

Questions: Norwegian banking, Panama scams, Exit Tax

August 13, 2010
Zakopane National Park, Poland

After finishing off a very successful liberty camp yesterday, some friends and I arrived in southern Poland last night where we plan on spending the weekend rock climbing in the High Tatra mountains.

Perhaps it's not particularly auspicious to kick off this trip on Friday the 13th... but fortunately I'm not a superstitious man.

Before heading up into the mountains, though, I've been spending some[...] Click here to continue reading

Why I went dark for a few days…

August 12, 2010
Trakai, Lithuania

The last couple of days have been among the most rewarding of my entire life. Since Sunday morning, I had the honor of hosting 50 Eastern European university students at a small, boutique resort that I rented just outside of Trakai, Lithuania.

Most of these students grew up in nations that were struggling to emerge from Communism in the 1990s; they've experienced quite a bit of economic adversity[...] Click here to continue reading

If you like the good old days

August 9, 2010
Trakai, Lithuania

Do you remember when the FBI used to be an ethical, highly respected police agency with only the purest of intentions? Neither do I.

As far back as I recall, the FBI was the butt of jokes, jeered and sneered for its incompetence, bureaucracy, and extortionist approaches to law enforcement. Lately, though, the organization has been building a well-deserved reputation for being a bunch of out-of-touch sociopaths.

[...] Click here to continue reading

Questions: Lithuania, Offshore hosting, “PT”, work visas

August 6, 2010
Vilnius, Lithuania

Believe it or not, Vilnius is one of my favorite cities in the world. It's a fairly large city with a metro population of just under 1 million, but in many ways it feels like a small town.

English and Russian are both widely spoken, and there are some ancestry passport opportunities that I will try to get to next week if I have the time.

On[...] Click here to continue reading

Planting multiple electronic flags

August 5, 2010
Vilnius, Lithuania

Our website was down yesterday. You probably noticed... I think it was down for over 12-hours. Now, I'm normally a pretty laid-back guy, and there's not a whole lot that bothers me. But when technology that's supposed to make our lives easier suddenly doesn't work, I become unglued.

After 12-hours, the tech support folks at our hosting company finally determined the root cause of the issue: a faulty[...] Click here to continue reading

Why the rating agencies are worthless

August 4, 2010
Vilnius, Lithuania

Remember the credit rating agencies-- specifically Fitch, Moody's, and S&P? Among other things, they take on the responsibility of rating the creditworthiness of sovereign nations.

This is a pretty important task that has become critical to the global financial system. Bear in mind, though, these are the guys who slapped perfect ratings on pools of risky mortgages-- the ones where they gave no money down loans to people[...] Click here to continue reading

The fundamentals of farmland

August 3, 2010
Vienna, Austria

There's something I really like about the rural areas of Central Europe.  Whether you're in Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, or Ukraine, just about everyone you meet outside of the major cities is an amateur farmer.  As this area was the breadbasket of the old Soviet Union, it's truly an 'agriculture culture.'

Their gardens are generally small, usually about an acre at most.  But in this small space, locals will[...] Click here to continue reading